One of the core principles of Intuitive Eating is learning to honor your hunger.
What does this mean? Here are some things that indicate you are honoring hunger:
- You know what it feels like to be hungry
- You eat when you are hungry
- You eat enough food to feel your hunger subside
- You normally eat when you are hungry regardless of the time of day
- You do not play games (taught by diet culture) with hunger like drinking non-calorie beverages or eating low calorie “airy” foods to stave off the hunger
- You do not deny yourself food beyond a daily allotted amount when you feel hungry
When people begin their Intuitive Eating journeys, honoring hunger is often a revelation. For some, their entire life they believed they could not trust their body to tell them when, what, or how much to eat. The concept of listening to the cues of their body is a foreign one.
I get it! I argued with my hunger on a daily basis for years. I thought hunger was a bad thing. Something to question and distrust.
This is one thing dieting was clearly successful at teaching me to do, to distrust my hunger. It was exhausting. I was disconnected.
Thinking back to my own journey, it felt scary to consider this new way of being, however I let myself feel the fear. And I started. One day at time. Reading the book Intuitive Eating, getting help from trusted professionals, practicing listening to my body and paying attention bit by bit, day by day. Acknowledging and respecting my body’s cues has now become second nature, the way distrusting my body and turning to the latest diet, plan or lifestyle used to be.
The change did not happen overnight and sometimes I still have to begin again and reorient myself to Intuitive Eating; to myself, this moment, to this body.
That is the beauty of something being a practice; it does not ever have to be perfect….
Interested in starting an Intuitive Eating journey? I can’t recommend it enough. I help clients break down the steps to tuning in to hunger and learning to listen to the subtle cues of their bodies. I also help people to begin to discern physical hunger from the symbolic hungers for things that food can never satisfy. If learning to honor your hunger and respect the messages of your body is something you need help with, I am here to support you.
Jennifer DiGennaro MA, LLPC, is a psychotherapist and couples counselor in private practice in Grand Rapids, MI. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Body Trust® Provider and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, as well as the founder of Nourished Energy. She specializes in treating chronic dieting, binge eating disorder, body image concerns, trauma, PTSD, mood disorders and relationship issues. She brings a deep passion for social justice to her trauma-informed, evidence-based and heart-centered clinical work. She is committed to ending the war that is waged against bodies in our culture. Learn more at: www.nourishedenergy.com/meet-jen/