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After writing about the fifth principle of Intuitive Eating, respect your fullness, I received a lot of comments about the struggles people have with this principle. Some of the concerns included that it’s difficult to stop yourself when there is food in front of you and not over eat. It’s also difficult at times to recognize fullness. Those concerns are perfectly valid and a part of the process. This next principle helps address some of those concerns and find ways to work on respecting your fullness.
Limit Distractions While Eating
A big part of becoming an intuitive eater is becoming in tune or mindful of your body. You need to listen to your body and trust your body in order to follow what it’s telling you to do. But the fact is most of us eat on autopilot. We eat when the clock says it’s time to. We eat what’s in front of us. We eat what’s expected. We eat with a multitude of distractions – like watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram, or while working at our desk. When we do these things, we aren’t in tune with our body. We aren’t paying attention to when it’s hungry and when it’s full and we definitely aren’t paying attention to satisfaction.
Learning to get in tune with your body and your satisfaction is a skill. And like any skill it takes practice. The next time you’re eating something, really pay attention to it. How does it taste? What’s the texture like? Are you enjoying it? Does it satisfy you? How are you feeling on the hungry to full scale?
Slow Down While Eating
One of the things you’ll notice when taking these steps is that you have to slow down. You have to put your fork down between bites, savour the moment, and limit distractions. You come off autopilot and it’s a lot easier to recognize when you are feeling full and respect those boundaries.
Pay Attention to Your Satisfaction
The next step is to pay attention to the foods that actually satisfy you and those that don’t. Many times we think things are satisfying because we have thought of them as “bad foods” for so long. And yet, once we allow ourselves those foods and pay attention, we realize they actually aren’t that satisfying at all. ow often have you taken a piece of cake at a birthday party that’s a mediocre grocery store cake but ate it all anyways? You don’t really give a second thought to these things but if you did, maybe you wouldn’t have eaten it because it wasn’t satisfying. On the other hand, if the cake is homemade and delicious, then it will satisfy you and you will have zero feelings of guilt for eating it because it’s what your body wanted.
How often have you taken a piece of cake at a birthday party that’s a mediocre grocery store cake but ate it all anyways? You at it on autopilot without giving it a second thought. But if you paid attention to your satisfaction and realized that the cake actually wasn’t that good or that you were already full and cake wouldn’t satisfy you any more, maybe you would have stopped before eating the whole piece. Because after all, you are not a garbage can and just because you took the piece, does not mean you have to finish it.
On the other hand, if the cake is delicious and you’re savouring the bites, then you will have zero regrets after eating it because it’s what your body wanted and you feel satisfied.
Let Go of Perfection
In a perfect world, we would live completely by fullness and satisfaction but there are times when food is just food. You’re on the go and you grab a sandwich from a convenience store. You know it’s not going to be the best sandwich ever, you won’t enjoy every single bite, it will just fuel you so you aren’t hungry. Or you ate the mediocre birthday cake and afterwards realize that it wasn’t worth it because you didn’t really enjoy it. That’s okay. Those moments happen. Intuitive Eating is never about perfection. Remember that you’re practicing a skill, you won’t be perfect right from the beginning or ever but if you’re eating more mindfully and discovering your satisfaction more often, you’re doing it right.
Do you take the time to discover your satisfaction when eating? What’s your biggest struggle with this principle?
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