One of the hardest things for me as I learn to eat intuitively is to stop at enough. It’s the simplest concept, really. You eat when you’re hungry and you stop when you’re full. Ideally, you eat before you get really hungry and you stop before you get really full. If you take action before you get to the ‘really’ stage, it’s easier to listen to your body and do what it wants.
I seem to be fond of getting way, way too hungry. For someone who loves food as much as I do, it’s weird to me that I wait until I’m shaky hungry before I figure out what to feed myself. That starving stage makes me feel a bit food-panicky and my brain shifts into survival mode. When I finally get to food, I feel scared to stop eating. It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to listen to my body when it’s had plenty of food if I’ve waited too long to eat.
It helps to stop at enough when I don’t get too hungry before I eat. I don’t have the panicked feeling and I can tune in a bit more to how I’m feeling. I know there’s a precise moment where I’ve gone from ‘this food is fantastic’ to ‘wow, I think I’ve eaten enough for now’. My body will tell me every single time. The problem is that I often willfully ignore my body. I keep going. I eat the other half of the sandwich. I get the second bowl of soup. I practically lick the plate clean. I end up feeling really full and my brain starts to dull a bit. I feel uncomfortable in my pants.
It’s something I’m still working on. I know I’ll never be perfect at stopping at enough, but I hope to be better about it. As I head into this new work week, my goal is to tune in a bit more to my body’s cues. I hope to eat before I get really hungry so that it’s easier for me to stop when I’m full. It’s good for me to work on this. Practicing new skills is the only way to make progress toward the relationship I want to have with food and with my body.
What are you working on with your intuitive eating practice?
image via makelight.com.