Nutrition Honor Your Hunger


Part of the intuitive eating journey is learning to honor your hunger according to your body’s needs.

To truly achieve a sustainable lifestyle, you have to seek health. Not weight-loss.

Beginning a journey into your health, through any other avenue than weight-loss, is scary. Every coaches, mothers, daughters, cousins dog, is selling intentional weight-loss to you. It’s okay if you feel uncertain about this route. It’s hard to listen and feel confident that you will hear your bodies messages of wisdom, when you don’t yet feel safe in your body or feel the need to change it!

Intuitive eating supports this relationship within you.

The one you seek, on the other side of your desire to change your body! Intuitive eating is it’s own system – it encourages humility which supports deep listening and paves the way toward mutual understanding, dignity and respect for all bodies.

The Frame work of intuitive  eating is built on 10 principles. These are the core values of Intuitive Eating that is back by numerous studies and research. What we have found in this research, is that intentional weight lose is a failed paradigm. Creating more awareness around the body shaming and weight stigma that plagues our world today.

So, to help you through this journey of healing, I’m creating a blog series of these principles. Each post I provide you with the understanding of what REAL Intuitive eating is, and practices to help you embody each of the 10 principles.

Principle #2 – Honor your hunger

Part of the intuitive eating journey is learning to honor your hunger according to your body’s needs. It is about keeping your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates.

What often happens when we are unhappy with ourselves, we turn that onto the shape and form of our bodies. The media and images we surround our self with, heavily influences this body image standard (but that’s a whole other blog posts).

We turn to diets, restrictions, and learn ways to try and change our body form. This leaves our bodies not adequately fed. Without properly feeding your body, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once we reach this point, messages within our bodies get so intense that all knowledge and awareness go out the window. What even is moderation anymore? Who cares what makes us feel good? We need to LIVE! Nom nom nom all the food! Conscious eating is irrelevant and now our body is just trying to survive.

Learning to honor the first biological signal sets the stage for rebuilding trust in yourself and in food.

This is a practice of awareness. It’s okay if you don’t gain clarity right away, What’s important in this stage is that you notice different levels of hunger. This can take time you are cultivating self-trust and that can be daunting when you’ve been told most of your life that that you can’t be trusted with food. This can be hard thing to hear especially when it’s been all you’ve ever known for so long and didn’t realize the harm it was doing to you.

Learning to forgive yourself and the things you did to your body while you were un-aware, heals that disconnect with trusting yourself.

Each diet you have even been on, every food plan you had and restriction you embodied eroded your self-trust. They created a scarcity mentality, both biologically and psychologically. This combination activated a survival drive to fixate on food. Every time you felt as though you failed a diet, it was really diet culture that failed you. It wasn’t your lack of will power, you are not flawed, you are not broken.


It’s understandable that you don’t trust yourself or your body right now.

Learning that food is so much more than just fuel for your body helps understand a new way of learning to trust yourself.

Food is not something that needs to be earned through physical activity. It’s more than what a food label says, it’s more than nutrients. Now I am not saying nutrients are not important, I am saying they are not the only important thing about food.

When on this journey to honor your hunger it’s important to recognize that food is to be celebrated. It is a part of many traditions. Food nurtures connections with others and helps celebrate life. Food can both nourish and comfort us. It’s so multifaceted. It’s not something that should be used to punish you.

An important step to becoming aware of how you ignored your hunger is by recalling events you missed because you either were on a diet and didn’t want to be tempted, or told yourself you couldn’t go because you were on a diet. Recall memories when your hunger was so loud, you had a hard time enjoying yourself. When the temptation and the mental pressure was so heavy, it was hard to engage in conversations or the memories you missed out on?

It’s kind of sad to think about isn’t it? Write these experiences down in a journal will help bring urgency to these moments, and the importance of recalling them. Things become more real when we write them down.

Quick little note: while you embrace principle 2, you are learning to build trust with yourself while simultaneously trying to listen to your body’s hunger signs. Signs you may never had noticed before. This will take work, and you may grow frustrated. Give yourself the time and space to heal. You don’t learn this overnight.

Now, to honor your hunger, you want to know what your first signs of hunger are.

Your first signs of hunger, what Intuitive Eating calls “Pleasant hunger signs” and what your second signs are AKA “Urgent hunger signs”.  Your body is constantly sending you messages, this principle is about learning how to listen and interpret them and then honor those signs by eating when you notice them.

These messages can manifest in different ways for different people. It is helpful to understand what your unique early signs of hunger are in your body.

These signs are generally subtle and not always obvious. Some people feel rumbles in their tummy, food fantasies, a yawn, or maybe notice themselves thinking of food and noticing food everywhere. Have you ever seen a food post on social media and couldn’t stop talking about how good it looked? This can be an early sign of hunger. Amp up your awareness here, this way you will catch your hunger and honor it before it escalates to urgent hunger.

As your hunger starts to increase these messages from your body will intensify.

URGENT HUNGER SIGNS! It’s trying to get your attention now!

These signs can be quite unpleasant, upset stomach, nausea. They can even start to affect other people with their intensity. You may have heard or sued the term, “hangry”; before?  A shift in mood or brain fog are more intense signs. Maybe you feel sleepy even with a good sleep the night prior, or start becoming more emotionally triggered.

You want to learn your body! This is how you will learn how to feed it, when to feed it, and what to feed it with!

To recap:

Pay attention to your body’s hunger cues over the next few weeks. Understand which ones are early signs (pleasant) and which ones are late signs (urgent) *Write them down*
How long after do pleasant hunger signs intensify to urgent? At which stage does it feel best to eat? Do you see any patterns within your body’s messages?
Have you been able to notice when you are feeling a shift in mood or irritability?

Notice what happens to your mood if you wait too long to eat!

A big question I often get is, what do you do when life gets busy, and you just can’t get food when you feel hunger signs. I know we often get burdened by life obligations. Life can take many turns and some very unexpected. You may go a long time without eating.

Quick note: It’s okay to be annoyed by hunger. That’s a completely normal feeling!

It can come at an inconvenient time – maybe you are on a roll with work and have a hard time stopping or in the middle of an important game with your kids or friends. It’ll catch you off guard and that can be very annoying.

Some days you will have hungrier days. Being ready and aware that these sorts of feelings can happen around honoring your hunger can help you meet your hunger and honor it in a way that works with your life. Having a variety of snacks at the ready is important. Something that you enjoy and that tastes good. Something that can sustain you at inconvenient times, that is fresh and nutritious.

When you know you have a longer day, make sure to eat a little more than a satisfied fullness. Eating a little more, understanding you are going to be going a longer time without the time to eat. Little tricks to help you honor your hunger are important. Get creative and find ways that don’t jeopardize your body’s innate messages.

It will take some time to build trust within yourself, and listen to your hunger. It takes a built relationship and connection with your body to learn this new language. That doesn’t happen quickly. It takes patience and consistency. So, be kind as you may struggle with this part, and that’s okay. Keep your awareness at high alert.

Diet culture has demonized hunger as if it is something to fear. When really it is a gift. It is a message telling us it’s time to nourish, to keep our bodies humming! Sit with yourself often in this process and check in with how you are feeling .

You will feel a pressure to follow what your friend and family do. What a coach maybe said to you in the past or what the most popular fitness gurus are eating these days. Remember, that the amount and types of food others eat have no bearing on the unique needs of your body!

You are becoming the expert on you! Not them.

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