How to recognize hunger signals
In this fast-paced and multi-tasking world, it's easy to ignore or even be unaware of your body's hunger and fullness cues.
It can become easy to grab something to eat out of habit rather than following your body's signals, and unintentionally eat more or less than what your body needs throughout your day.
Here are some things you can do to try and help listen to your body's cues more closely:
- Consider how much you're hungry for before dishing up your plate. Automatically filling up your plate may leave you feeling too full. You can always get more if you didn't dish up quite enough.
- Minimize distractions during meals and snacks such as television, reading, work, social media, etc… It is hard to recognize your body's cues for feeling full if you aren't paying attention. And you miss out on the pleasure of eating!
- Be intentional with your eating. Get yourself a plate or bowl for your food rather than eating out of the package. Portion out what you're hungry for put the package away and sit down and eat. Remember, you can always get more if you're still hungry.
- Cancel your membership to the "clean plate club." If you always eat until the food is gone, you likely are on "automatic pilot" when eating and could be eating more than your body needs. This can be a hard habit to break. Listen to your body's cues for fullness; take a "time out" halfway through your meal to think about how you feel.
- Keep food in the areas that are designated for eating: the kitchen and dining room. Your brain can't turn from thinking about food to thinking about the rest of your day if there is food in every room of the house. Food stored in the refrigerator or cupboards helps keep food for what it's designated for: fueling your body, not coping with emotions.
- Wait 15 minutes before taking second helpings. When you have eaten enough, the message from your stomach takes about 15-20 minutes to reach your brain. It is not an efficient messaging system, for sure. So, try to wait about 15 minutes before taking seconds so your brain and belly can catch up with each other. Again, you always have permission to get more if you're still hungry.