Good Morning! My name is Sarah. I am also a Registered Dietitian and I blog over at Bucket List Tummy! I am so honored to be taking over this space while Robyn is off enjoying her honeymoon! You may remember me from last year talking about nourishment for activity, and I’m back today to discuss hunger and meal skipping, some topics near and dear to my heart.
Many women come to me about arbitrary food rules they have in their head, especially about snacking. If it’s not a certain time, they believe they can’t eat, even if they are hungry.
Remember, hunger signals are a gift. They are a protective mechanism for our bodies. They help remind us to eat and to energize, so we can thrive and enjoy the other wonderful things that life brings us. They are a sign that our bodies are working and need fuel to continue working.
Hunger cues will be stronger at certain times of the time, and may even be stronger for certain people. THAT’S OKAY. Your eating time will be different from my eating time because we are different people. We work different jobs, we have different medical histories, we’ve exercised differently, we’re experiencing different stressors, we have different needs. The list goes on.
No two people will be the same, so it is futile to try to fit the mold of eating at “normal” times. Your normal is different from my normal. Some people need to eat every two hours, others every three hours, or what have you.
When we skip meals or snacks and suppress our hunger signals, our bodies aren’t happy. Our bodies are meant to burn energy. And, as a protective mechanism, our bodies will try to compensate at our next meal.
We will think and obsess about food more until we get it. When we do get it, we may eat more than what is normal for us. This isn’t you failing, this is your body’s way of compensating and trying to protect you. You’ll crave certain foods more because your body knows it needs the nutrients and energy.
You guys, it’s illogical to pre determine what our body needs for fuel without even giving our body a chance to communicate with us. The best way we can show love to ourselves is by eating when we’re hungry and not comparing ourselves to others. Because what I need right now may be completely different than what you need right now.
Undereating can be cumulative, but your body will eventually try to reach a balance. In other words, if you ate less than normal a few days ago, your hunger cues may be stronger in the following days. That’s your body trying to protect you. Rather than feeling guilty or shameful, feel curious.
Maybe there’s a reason – did you eat a proper balanced meal earlier? Maybe you exercised harder yesterday. Maybe you didn’t sleep well, or you went to bed feeling hungry. Or, heck, maybe there’s no rhyme or reason and you’re just hungry! Give your body the carbs, the fat, or the protein it wants and needs. Whether it’s greens, sweet potatoes, nut butters, cookies or ice cream, they all have a purpose and place.
Our brains (the food police) may try to tell us we don’t need food now. But, our bodies control when we need to eat.
I’m a big proponent of eating more when your body tells you to do so. Our bodies are so so smart – smarter than we even realize or give them credit for. The more we ignore our signals to eat, the less our bodies will consistently tell us when they need fuel. And the less in touch we are with our hunger cues, the harder it is to eat based on feelings, rather than “shoulds.”
Stop telling your body what it needs or doesn’t need. Instead, let it tell you. If you’re hungry, eat because your body will love you for it.
acktive life says
This is something that I am truly working on! I have my own “rules”, but sometimes I just need to ignore them and feed the beast…For me I find it interesting how our appetites are always changing and adjusting to those changes. Like how one day, the hunger is stronger, for who knows what reasons! It is taking time, but slowly but surely I am getting there. Beautiful post! xoxo
Patricia @Sweet and Strong says
I am all about listening to hunger cues. I really wish at my job I didn’t have a set lunch time. I’m on lunch right now and honestly not that hungry, but I know in a few hours will be so I just eat to eat.
Lindsay @ Hot Mess, Cool Day says
Thanks! Perfect timing as I was ignoring my snack 🙂
dixya @food, pleasure, and health says
i have been learning more and more about my own hunger cues and how its different everyday…and listening to it makes a huge difference.
Great post! Definitely needed to hear these words today.
Great post! I was wondering… what are your thoughts on eating when your body feels pretty much full, but you still feel the need to eat? Should you give in? What about when trying to lose weight?
Sarah @ BucketListTummy says
Hi Kaylee! If you feel full for more than 4 hours after a meal, then maybe you could try eating a little bit less at your previous meal, knowing that you’ll eat again in a few hours. I would focus on eating without distractions and really trying to focus on the food before you. You can feel free to email me to discuss it more ([email protected])!
Erin Ramsay says
Self honesty can be so hard, our inner voice is hard to hear over all the external messages we are exposed to. In your experience, have you seen people who struggle with the grip of food rules recover to the point where food rules do not occupy so much energy, time and space?
Sarah @ BucketListTummy says
Hi Erin, it certainly is possible! Make sure you are working with a dietitian who has experience with these types of clients and and promotes the intuitive eating mindset and principles.
emily vardy says
After years of dealing with an eating disorder, I find it really hard to trust my body and my hunger cues. But it’s getting easier the more I listen, and eat according to what my body wants. It’s amazing how smart our bodies are!
This is some of the most freeing advice that I’ve received, and I’m thankful that you and Robyn both talk about this constantly, because I’ve learned the value and gift of hunger so much more this year.