9 September 2014 Trust Your Body

Trust your body. One concept that constant dieters often need to teach themselves is to trust their own instincts and bodies. To trust yourself to stop eating when you are full and to trust yourself to eat when you are hungry sound so simple! Yet, I ask myself why are there so many interferences to the simple process of eating. Why do we as humans have such a difficult time differentiating between physical needs and emotional feelings when it comes to eating? Why is it so challenging to have a healthy relationship between food, body and mind?

The last two weeks our family has been living in Spain with a big-hearted Spanish host mother, who provides lavish meals for us three times per day; consequently, even as a 47 year old woman, the issue of eating to please my doting host mother versus trusting my own instincts has surfaced. Our host mother serves us the portion that she deems appropriate and then asks us even before we have finished, “un poco más?” (a little bit more). At first it was funny, and then after a week, I started to feel uncomfortable and nauseous trying to finish the food on my plate. My pants were becoming snugger. If food is a sign of love, our host mother loved us! However, we needed to find a solution to this situation in a culturally appropriate manner.

After an amazing night hike and viewing the stars shining over Africa, I came back and told my host mother about the beautiful “estrías” in the sky that I had seen. She confusingly pointed to the stretch marks on her stomach and laughed. I meant “estrellas” which meant stars. However, this provided a perfect segway to humorously tell my host mother that I didn’t want my “estrías” growing and ask if we could serve our own plates based on our appetite. She smiled and said, “Sí.”

This situation for two weeks really demonstrated to me how painful it is when someone normally relies on his/her own hunger cues and then all of a sudden eats larger portion due to someone else’s insistence. Perhaps, you grew up trying to please someone who was cooking and you were forced to finish your plate…

How can you teach yourself to trust your own hunger cues?

1. Ask yourself how hungry you are on a scale of 1 to 10. Track your hunger and emotional cues for one week. Follow Step 1 of this previous blog on emotional eating: http://www.mynetdiary.com/three-steps-to-stop-emotional-eating.html.

2. Slow down and enjoy the color, textures and mouth feel of different foods. Put a saltine cracker in your mouth and slowly let it dissolve. Compare the salty bland flavor at first versus the sweet flavor as the enzymes in your mouth naturally break down the carbohydrates into small glucose (sugar) molecules.

3. Create a healthy kitchen. Buy and stock 90% of foods in your pantry with non-processed foods from the five food groups: vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy, whole grain, and low fat meat or meat alternatives. Ten percent or less or your daily calories can be from cakes, cookies, cola, chips and chocolate. However, you eat what you buy, so take the time to stock your kitchen with 90% healthy foods. This means that 9 out of 10 foods in your shopping cart should be healthy!

Learning to trust your body will take time; however, by slowly learning to trust your hunger and satiety cues and having mainly healthy foods available to eat, you can say goodbye to diets and say hello to healthy eating for life!

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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Weight Loss/Emotional & Mindful Eating

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