When you’re trying to get to your ideal weight, most people go straight into dieting mode, opting to cut out a long laundry list of foods. It’s hard. In fact, it’s miserable, and in reality, it actually doesn’t work.
Your brain and body fight against restrictive eating, willing you to eat, until you finally succumb and fall off the diet, pack on the pounds and you’re back to square one again. Or if you have herculean willpower you fight back against your body willing yourself into a life of dietary prison.
But, can you actually eat what you want and lose weight? The answer is a resounding YES!
By tuning in and starting to listen to your body signals of when it’s hungry or full and what it’s craving, and honoring that without restrictions or diet rules, you can actually eat whatever you like and stay healthy. This is called intuitive eating which is based on your natural homeostatic eating.
That’s just a fancy way of saying necessary and balanced hunger. It is eating in response to your natural body energy needs. When your body needs to refuel, it sends a message to your brain to say, Hey, go eat! Your brain in turn makes you hungry and more interested in food. When your body has enough food, sensors in your gut stimulate an appetite-surpressing hormone, leptin, to kill your appetite so you stop eating.
This is how your body and brain naturally balance your healthy eating. However, when we ignore these natural signals, say by listening to what a diet tells us to eat, how much and when to eat, we cut this natural cord to our homeostatic eating balance…and that’s when things can spiral into a diet-binge cycle.
We are inborn homeostatic eaters
We are genetically designed to eat in a balanced and natural way, by tuning into our body signals for hunger and fullness. Babies and toddlers do this all the time, and so did you. Sadly, as we grow up, many of us are influenced by the diet culture that tell us we cannot be trusted on our own, so we follow the diet rules instead. But those signals are still there, you just need to tune in and listen.
If you want to learn to become an intuitive eater, with in-depth tips, advice, and practical worksheets – check out my FOOD FREEDOM course here.
How do you tune into body cues?
A key trick to listening to your body’s hunger and fullness signals is to be mindful while eating. If you’re distracted by your favorite Netflix show, the cute cat memes on your phone or the endless stream of emails on your laptop while eating, you’re not registering your food intake. This means you won’t be listening out for when your body is getting full, or feel satisfied with your meal, which means you’ll likely overeat.
3 Simple Tips for Mindful Eating
- Sit down in a calm, electronic-free and relaxed environment to eat your meal
- Taste your food, really taste it. Ask yourself, what does the texture, the smell, the flavor taste like? Is it spicy, chewy, creamy, cold, salty etc. The first couple of bites are the most enjoyable and intense so really focus on these.
- Chew slowly, deliberately, moving the food around in your mouth. The longer you linger over your meal the more time you give your brain to register when you are full.
Listening to your body takes focus and patience but it will lead to a world of food freedom. Practicing yoga can also help you become more mindful.
Why not join me for a free mindful eating challenge. Over ten days, you’ll receive a daily email from me, where I’ll share tips on how to master your mindset when it comes to focusing on your eating experience. Claim your spot here