I used to find it so fascinating to watch my kids eat when they were little. They would sit at the table, eat what they wanted, declare they were done, and then go about their day. They usually left some food on their plates, even if they enjoyed the food. But when they were no longer hungry, they just stopped eating.
What?? I couldn’t even imagine not eating everything on my plate and then going in for seconds, even if I didn’t really feel hungry.
We forget that our bodies have an incredible innate intelligence about how much food we need or how a certain food feels when we eat it. As we get older, we start taking in messages from our families and from society. We learn to use food to distract ourselves, we start going on diets, and our brain starts to override our body’s innate intelligence and ignore it’s signals. We stop listening to our body’s hunger and fullness cues. Sometimes we lose touch with what actual hunger and fullness feel like. We become disconnected.
Reconnecting to your body is a game changer when it comes to ending emotional eating. Recognizing when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied is a skill you can relearn.
To start connecting with your body again, start to really pay attention – what does it feel like when you are physically hungry? What physical sensations do you notice? What does it feel like when you are physically satisfied? How does your body feel when it is overly full? Get in the habit of checking in with yourself before, during and after eating and notice how your body feels.
When we become reconnected to our body signals, we can start to distinguish between when we are truly hungry versus when we want to eat for emotional reasons, and we can then begin to address those reasons.
What has been your experience with recognizing your body’s signals?