For some reason this week I’ve just been really hungry.
I’m not quite sure what it is, but it seems my appetite is almost unsatiable. Nothing has changed really, although I am resting more and napping on the beach daily. Whit and I have gotten a couple 4 mile runs in, but nothing out of the norm. Perhaps my body is decompressing from all the stress of the past few months and just wanting some more dang energy and nutrients and rest as my stress levels come back down?
Who knows, but I’m rolling with it. And that includes lots and lots of nut butter. When in doubt, grab a spoon and a jar.
So it’s a super hungry WIAW today. But what I’ve come to realize over the past few years is that when our bodies are hungry, we have to listen despite anything we may hear, read, or “know” to be true.
Even as an RD, my recommendations are always inferior to whatever your body is telling you- your body is the smartest tool you have when it comes to knowing how much your body needs or what foods make you feel your best. With that said, if you’re coming out of an eating disorder or restrictive eating or other hormonal imbalances that’s a whole other ball game. But generally speaking, some days our bodies just might need more food and we don’t have to know why.
We just have to listen.
And can we be honest again? I’ve definitely been a calorie counter. First, back in high school when I wanted to lose a few pounds after working at a pizzeria for way too long and then in college when I wanted to make sure I was eating enough. I started to adapt healthy habits as I got more interested in nutrition and when you’re eating lots of high fiber but lower calorie plant foods you can fill up before your body actually gets all the calories it needs. I knew I needed more food even though I was “full” so I was learning how much food my body actually needed to sustain my running and walking around campus and daily life. And that’s where I think calorie counting can be a helpful tool in the beginning when you’re learning how to nourish your body adequately. Then after time it becomes second nature and you begin to realize when your body hasn’t gotten what it needs, your appetite is much stronger, metabolism is faster, hunger cues are more reliable and the body just burns through energy more efficiently.
But calorie counting is extremely damaging when the motive behind it is restriction. Because if the body is hungry, the worst thing you can do is refuse to feed it. Somedays we’re just hungrier. And by refusing to respond to hunger cues in fear of eating too much, your only further damaging your metabolism since they body will think its in some sort of famine and start storing energy. Calorie counting puts a false limit on how much food our bodies need. Adhering to some arbitrary number as if it’s the end-all-be-all of health and happiness not only misleads us in taking care of ourselves, but it also creates an objective value in which we place our worth and achievement.
Yesterday was a day where I ate more than I normally do. And I hate about a zillion bananas and pb because that what was in the house. I was just hungry. But who’s to say that wasn’t what my body needed? I think when we abide by what we think we “should” eat or a set number or a set schedule that’s when our bodies get thrown off.
When we try to control our bodies with our choices rather than letting our bodies control our choices.
Some days we’ll just be hungrier, maybe a lot hungrier. And that’s okay.
When did society start telling us what we need instead of our bodies telling us what we need? And when did our culture normalize the over analyzation of food choices?
There’s no food freedom in that. There’s no happiness in hunger.
And if you’re hungry, keep eating.