How To Learn To Trust Yourself Again (When It Comes To Food)

One of the most consistent things I hear from people when I talk about giving up dieting or no longer counting and tracking their food is that they just don't feel like they can trust themselves. That if they let themselves they would just finish the whole bag of chips, eat all the cookies or have the whole pizza. 

Do you find yourself eating even if you aren't hungry because it's 3 hours since your last meal? Or do you find yourself starving 2 hours after breakfast and ignore it because it isn't time yet? Do you find yourself craving something but completely ignore it because its off diet? This is you ignoring your body and this is why you feel out of touch with it. 

We've created this all or nothing mentality that no longer allows us to trust ourselves, listen to our bodies and enjoy things in moderation. We either give it all up or we indulge till we can't take it! 

And it's partially our fault that we feel this lack of control and its partially not at all our fault! You see if you are/were a frequent dieter like myself then we've essentially taught ourselves that they only way we really know how to eat is if we're following a fairly strict plan to keep us on track and accountable. That we need a guide to tell us when and what to eat and our bodies can't do that without it. 

But this just isn't true! Your body is crazy intelligent and wants to communicate to you what it needs. But year after year and diet after diet we have slowly turned down the volume on our bodies voice to guide us. We've made it stop working because we never use it and therefore when we go just a day or two without a plan we feel like all hell has broken loose. 

But do not fear. Your body can be retaught. Your body can slowly learn to speak louder and you can learn how to hear it. 

Cues your body wants food:

  • Your stomach will start to rumble and feel empty
  • You will start thinking about food even without trying
  • Your mouth will start to salivate
  • Your nose will pick up on scents more strongly
  • Still hungry pretty soon after you've finished your meal

This is NOT you being naughty!! This is literally your body trying to tell you that it needs food. When you choose to ignore this your body will no longer trust you to feed it when it needs it. It will slow down your metabolism, hold on to the fat and carbs in food for a later time if it feels starved again. Your body will do what it needs because it is trying to keep you alive. 

This is not a bad thing! This is wonderful! This means we can put down the diet books and meal programs and start listening to our bodies! The best way to start doing that is to practice what is called Intuitive Eating! I wrote a whole post about it here

Other ways you can start listening and trusting yourself is:

  • Slow down when you eat! We often eat so fast that our mind has a hard time catching up with our stomach and through our stomach may be full our mind won't realize it until it's way past full! The slower you eat, the better your food will digest and the easier it will be for you to realize you are full! 
  • Eat when you are slightly hungry but not ravenous! We've all been there where we wait too long and we would literally eat our arm if we had too. This is where people feel like they have lost control, and in a sense, your body has heightened your need so much so that it's the only thing it can focus on. Your ability to make decisions based on what you really want or need is out the window because your body doesn't care about that as much as it does just getting your nutrients. Again, an amazing thing but better to eat when you can do it in a more calm manner. 
  • Chew slowly and pay attention to how things taste. Have an inner dialogue as you eat. This might feel silly but the more you can process what you are eating you are able to better determine if you are enjoying it, feeling satisfied, want something different. These are important things to start thinking about and it will help your mind and body connect as you eat to better cue you on it's needs! 

Feeling attuned to your body means that yes you might eat a few more brownies than your diet plans said were okay but you also might not! We tend to crave a lot of the things we aren't allowed to have and when we instead listen to our bodies, allow for indulgences and pay attention to hunger and satiety clues then we actually find a place where our body and our minds are at peace. 

Do you feel like you could do this? What holds you back from ditching the diets and eating more intuatively?