Welcome to Day 3 of lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES)
When i was very entrenched in my eating disorder, it was clear that i was not eating intuitively – my body & mind were starving, but i continued to ignore any signals of hunger. Other times, i would ignore my body’s signals of fullness. When i entered treatment, & began my journey to normal eating, it was of course extremely difficult, but that difficulty was made worse by the fact that by that stage, i was completely unaware of what it was like to feel hungry, & what it was like to feel full. After ignoring those hunger signals for so long, i could no longer recognise them. The simple message of “eat when you are hungry, & stop when you are full” was impossible for me, because i didn’t know what hungry or full was. And so i relied on a meal plan for quite a while, until those hunger signals returned to my awareness.
You don’t need to have suffered an eating disorder to have a complicated relationship with food & eating, or to be confused about whether you are hungry or not. Messages you may have received as a child, such as “eat everything on your plate”, can conflict with the dieting mentality of our adult world. With so many mixed messages around what we should or shouldn’t eat, how much, how frequently, it is no wonder that we feel confused!
Do any of these statements ring true for you?
- I always “clean my plate”, eating whatever is on it, even if i am not hungry
- I sometimes feel hungry, but don’t allow myself to eat because it not breakfast/lunchtime/dinnertime yet
- I try to restrict my eating, & often feel hungry, but i try & use my “willpower” to ignore those signals
- I sometimes eat beyond my hunger, & keep eating, even though i feel very uncomfortable
- I avoid eating foods i really love, because they are “bad”, “fattening” or “unhealthy”
- I sometimes binge on the foods i love, because i don’t let myself eat them very often
- I find the message “eat when you are hungry, & stop when you are full” to be a real challenge
- I often feel guilty about eating
What is “Intuitive Eating”?
Intuitive eating looks much the same as “normal eating“. It teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with food & eating, by encouraging you to trust in your own body’s wisdom. It teaches you to distinguish between physical & emotional hunger, & to make food choices that honour yourself & your body’s needs.
Intuitive eating helped free me from a fear of food. Most people who meet me now, would have no idea that i have struggled with an eating disorder, that i would cry over dinner, or could take 3 hours to eat an apple (yep – that actually happened once!). I am now able to recognise my hunger & satiety (fullness) signals, & i am able to trust in my body to look after my health & maintain my weight. I have a freedom around food that i never thought possible, but it took a lot of hard work to get here.
Intuitive eating can be really difficult, or even scary, but it IS possible to find peace in food & eating. If you are interested in learning more about intuitive eating, & perhaps starting your own journey towards normal eating, it’s really important to have support, & there is no better place to find that it than from a qualified dietician. If you are in Australia, try the Dietitians Association Of Australia, or if you are in America, The American Dietetics Association.
(Image via: StumbleUpon)
Because i am not a qualified dietitian, i am not going to encourage or challenge anyone to change their way of eating. Instead, my challenge for you today, is to try & reconnect with your hunger & satiety signals.
Day 3 – Intuitive Eating:
Throughout the day, try to notice what your body is telling you about how hungry or full you feel
Using the hunger scale below, see if you can work out where you hunger fits on the scale
- 10 – Stuffed – nauseous, ill, cannot eat any more
- 9 – Very Uncomfortable – tired, bloated, may need to loosen clothes
- 8 – Uncomfortably Full – feel you have eaten too much
- 7 – Full – cannot comfortably eat any more
- 6 – Comfortable – not hungry, not full – satisfied, but could “squeeze in” a little more
- 5 – Slightly Hungry – begin to notice hunger, thinking about eating
- 4 – Hungry – ready to eat
- 3 – Very Hungry – stomach is rumbling
- 2 – Extremely Hungry – irritable, unable to concentrate
- 1 – Starving – weak, light-headed
Today’s challenge is all about exploration & awareness – try not to have any judgements around where you fit on the hunger & fullness scale at any given moment. Instead try to approach this challenge with a sense of curiosity & exploration, & remember this is not about changing how you eat, but about simply noticing your body’s experience. If you find this challenge particularly difficult, please seek out support.
Be sure to pop on over to lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page today, where our theme of Intuitive Eating will be permeating my posts. And please feel free to share with me there, or here on the blog how you have found today’s Intuitive Eating Challenge – i’d love to hear about your experiences!
(Unless specified, Images via: We ♥ it.)