DAY # 2
RATING YOUR HUNGER.
It’s time to kick it up a notch and I know you are ready.
Today you will rate your hunger levels on a scale of 1-10 before you hunt for food and/or eat and will then rate your hunger levels again when you are half-way through your meal as well as stop when you feel 75-80% content.
You know that rating your hunger levels each and every time you are on the hunt for food can help you recognize if you are eating for true hunger or emotional reasons. If you are at a 5 or more, assess why you are wanting to distract yourself with food. If you are 4 or below, you might want to start thinking about what to eat so you don’t get so hungry that you set yourself up for making a not so great decision based on low blood sugar. Rating your hunger levels half-way through your meals will connect you to your body and start to pay attention to the subtle cues it gives you. Once I started to slow down at meals, I started to recognize my personal patterns. When I yawned during the meal and assessed my hunger levels, I was content and if I stopped eating I never felt stuffed. But if I ignored the yawn and kept eating, I always regretted it.
When I shared this discovery with a client of mine going through the challenge she said that her midwife told her to pay attention to when her infant yawned during breastfeeding. That was an indication that her child was “content.” Whether or not that is scientifically accurate, it seems to be the case for me. So start to pay attention to the subtle cues your body may be given you before, during, and after meals. You can start to see patterns and signs to help you work with your unique body instead of against it.
In full disclosure, as a young child I vascillated between chronic overeating and not eating anything at mealtimes. It used to drive my father *crazy* when I would refuse to order or eat anything while dining out. And the truth is, I was likely experiencing a lot of discomfort from my parents divorce coupled with adjusting to his new wife. I was only five years old. In college my unchecked depression led to eating at my emotions instead of dealing with them, which led to weight gain which led to depression which led to more overeating. It was a horrible cycle I couldn’t seem to get a grip on no matter what I did.
It would take over a decade for me to finally get my relationship with food moving in a healthier direction and the mindset shift was crucial, absolutely essential. I stopped dieting. I let go of the yo-yo back and forth of being “good” and then really horrible. Spiraling out of control when I was “off my diet” and doing more damage than I did good while on it. It showed on the scale and in my choices. Dieting sets you up for that type of damaging behavior from the wrong mindset in so many ways.
Instead you have to make the decision to adopt a healthier lifestyle for life. That means delete the dieting mentality today, focus on creating long-term lifestyle nutrition and habits, then allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. You have to stop giving yourself permission to fall down that mental rabbit hole and spiral out of control just because you messed up. Big deal. You can change your patterns if you really want to. Use that situation as an opportunity to step back and see how and why you fell into that trap. Then set personal guidelines to prevent yourself from going down that road you know too well. Just take it one day at a time. One meal at a time. If you get off track, shake it off and refocus for the next meal or snack. Not the next day, week, month, or year. But the VERY. NEXT. MEAL. Stop making excuses. Yes, this is going to take effort and making you a priority. Breathe in the moment. Becoming aware of your breath will tell you more about your emotional well being more than anything else. This is why we dedicate a day to paying attention to it and I can’t stress the importance of focusing on your breath especially before meals to increase your awareness factor of what you are about to do. Eat. Nourish. Enjoy your food.
Ok ME fam, today the focus is connecting with your hunger and satiety cues before, during, and after meals. Shoot for feeling content instead of full or stuffed. Find your personal “sweet spot” where you are no longer hungry and not full. Then hit repeat on that as much as you can until it becomes your new normal. Remember, we are a very fortunate nation. We are not struggling with famines. There is always enough food (actually a surplus). You will be able to eat at the next mealtime. If you struggle at a meal, just work backwards and try to identify the emotion, feeling or trigger that caused the disruption in your mindfulness. No judgment. Shake it off and get back on track for the next meal or snack. And yes, you can do this.