I had someone reach out to me on Instagram asking about how to increase awareness around their hunger signals. So, I went ahead and created a post on that. You can view that HERE if you missed it.
This got me thinking, however, about also learning to recognize your fullness signals after years of ignoring them. I started to reflect on this journey for myself and how it took me quite a while to start to not only recognize my early signs of hunger and fullness but to also then start to honour and listen to them!
It’s important to first realize that this is a process. So, you likely are not going to be at a point where you are always noticing and listening to your early signs of hunger and fullness for a bit and that’s fine! Depending on where you’re currently at, you may first need to start following the tips I shared in that Instagram post to help wake up your hunger signals again! Once you are feeling them again, it is important to start to become more familiar with more early signs of them… Remember, that the earlier signs of hunger that you honour and listen to, the less likely you will end up in that ravenous state!
Once you are at a place where you are noticing and listening to your hunger signals, then you can start to pay closer attention to fullness. It is important to first learn to honour hunger, however, because if you aren’t eating enough, often enough, or you allow yourself to get ravenous before you eat – all of these things will affect your ability to recognize your fullness!
Now, as long as your hunger is being heard and honoured then increasing your fullness awareness really comes down to bringing more mindfulness to your meals and snacks. This may look like:
- Slowing down your eating, really being mindful of each bite of food and how it tastes, the texture, etc
- Taking a slight “pause” mid-meal to check in with yourself and see where you think you may be at on the hunger-fullness scale
- Try eating with your non-dominant hand in order to interrupt the auto-pilot mode that we are typically on
- Try to eat with fewer distractions in order to help you tune more inwards
These things take practice and time. You won’t need to always make sure you are eating without distraction, with your non-dominant hand, ultra slow, or pausing mid-meal but these are really great ways to help you become more aware of your fullness signals.
Remember that Intuitive Eating is not a hunger-fullness diet either. So the goal is not to NEVER eat when you’re not hungry or to NEVER eat past fullness. There are certain times when you will want to eat even though you aren’t hungry such as if you have a meeting coming up and you know that you will be in the middle of it when you get hungry, you may want to eat something beforehand to help hold you over until you’ll be able to eat again. Or if you’re at a birthday party and they’re handing out the cake, you may not feel hungry but really want a piece of cake so of course have the cake!