Eat When You’re Hungry
What’s In & What’s Out
- Plan 3 meals a day, giving plenty of time in between to naturally become hungry.
- Unless you’re training for an event or an avid exerciser, snacks are optional. Let your hunger guide snack habits.
- Don’t allow yourself to become TOO hungry – we make decisions differently when we are famished, and for some, it’s a trigger for a binge.
- Reject the notion of “willpower” – if you’re truly hungry, tap into “skillpower” to nourish your body with wholesome foods.
- When you feel like eating, ask yourself: What is that feeling? Is it hunger or something else? If it’s something else, take action that will address the situation.
- At mealtime, focusing entirely on your meal and your dining companions as opposed to your work, TV, or mobile device allows you to fully enjoy your food, and helps you to read your body’s signals of satiety.
- Each meal or snack is a ritual to be savored, not rushed through.
- Getting enough sleeps helps normalize hunger and appetite.
- Exercise is a healthy way to keep hunger in check.
Why This Is A Good Idea
Hunger is the strongest physical sense we have around food and eating. How you respond to hunger is important. The next time you feel hungry, think of it as a kind voice telling you that your body needs energy and nutrients. The feeling of hunger is simply that – a feeling, neither good nor bad. When you feel hungry, it is your opportunity to be mindful about the feeling, about the choices you can make, and the consequences of each one. When hungry, take your time in reacting. Wait a few minutes. Think about the best choices to give your body what it needs.
While food should be a source of pleasure and enjoyable, hunger should be the primary driver for our food intake. Eating intuitively – when hungry – rejects external cues and messages about diet, allowing us to tap into our unique needs for the right foods in the right amounts for us. Eating this way means we can more effectively manage portion sizes, control cravings, eliminate mindless snacking, and eat healthfully.
You are ultimately in control of how much you eat of certain kinds of food. Deciding to have full portions of healthful foods and small portions of desserts or processed foods is a conscious decision that you make both before, and during, a meal.
- Let hunger guide portions. You are not obligated to eat the exact portions served at a restaurant or to finish everything on your plate.
- Learn to distinguish between hunger and cravings – cravings lead us to eat for emotional, rather than physical reasons.
- When you first start feeling hungry, sip water or unsweetened tea. Learn to be comfortable with a little hunger for a little while.
- To prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar, make sure every meal and snack contains a good mix of fiber and/or protein.
- Eat mindfully! Sit at a table (not a sofa or desk); use plates, flatware, and napkins; chew slowly and thoroughly; and take small bites.
- Put your fork, spoon, or chopsticks down and pause or sip water between bites to give your body time to become less hungry.
- Enjoy your food. Savor the flavor, texture, aroma, and mouthfeel.
- Once you decide on a food and commit, allow yourself to enjoy it without judgment or guilt.
- Stop before you feel full. If you truly are still hungry after several minutes, allow yourself to eat more. If not, it’s okay to leave food on your plate.
Smart Things To Read And Watch
- Mindful Eating for Weight Loss
- Want to eat well? Forget about willpower
- Intuitive Eating 101: A Beginner’s Guide
- Trust your hunger and make peace with food
- How to Get Healthy Without Dieting
- Can you trust your hunger?
- How to Harness your Hunger
- 6 Steps to Overcome Cravings
- The Hunger-Sleep Connection, Revealed
Note: Diet ID is not focused on the number on the scale. Weight loss can be a byproduct of developing healthier eating habits, but if you have questions about your weight, please contact your physician.