Remember those early days of endless feedings? Our parents were laser-focused on ensuring we got enough milk. Back then, we had an innate sense of what and how much to eat. Think about watching a toddler – they grab what they want, devour it happily, and stop when they’re full. But somewhere along the way, we lose touch with that natural guidance.

Clean your plate? One more bite for the starving children? These well-meaning phrases, while rooted in good intentions, can drown out our body’s hunger cues. We transition from intuitive eating – stopping when full – to a more programmed approach.

So, can we reconnect with that inner child’s wisdom as adults? Absolutely! Our internal hunger cues are influenced by various factors like sleep, activity, and hormones. But with some key principles, we can learn to listen to these biological signals once again.

We can learn to tune into those biological needs with a few guiding principles:

1. Listen to your internal cues.

Unlike external cues—events we attend, grocery stores we shop, commercials on television—internal cues come from within. Hormones, nerve signals and neurochemicals drive our desire to eat and signal us to stop eating. Try to tune into those cues, no matter how busy your day gets.

2. Sit with hunger.

Hunger is a normal biological cue that lets you know your body needs fuel. Nourishing your body is as essential as breathing. Sitting with hunger for a minute clues us into when we need nourishment.

3. Let your cravings communicate.

Cravings are our bodies’ way of telling us about imbalances—lack of sleep, stress, skipping meals. Give yourself permission to follow them with Intuitive Eating. Developed by two registered dietitians, this approach encourages eating without guilt by honoring our bodies’ needs. Next time you feel a craving, try asking yourself if your body is really requesting the food or if the feeling is driven by external cues like electronics, or internal moods like boredom. If the craving persists, follow it in the most Nourishing way possible, and practice self-compassion without shame.

4. Challenge the (food) rules.

Hear of habituation? That’s the science-y term for a decrease in response to repeated stimulus over time. In other words, “trigger” foods that lead to overeating can become less of a trigger when you remove the emotional novelty of that food so it becomes just another choice.

Ready to get back to that inner child?

Published On: October 3, 2019|By |
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