I hope you have been practicing steps 1-4 of mindful eating.
We are now on step 5, checking in with your hunger.
Often we eat because there is food in front of us and stop when the food is gone. We fill up our plate, sit down to eat, then join the clean plate club. It didn’t matter whether we were hungry for all the food on our plate or not. We ate it all because it was a habit.
With mindful eating, we want to be in tune with our bodies. We want to eat when we are hungry, and stop when we are no longer hungry. Steps 1-4 will help you stay tuned in to your body so you can pick up on the cues to stop eating.
A great tool to tune into your body’s cues is the hunger scale. Before using the scale, close your eyes and take a few breaths and notice how your body feels. Then give yourself a rank on this 1-10 scale.
You never want to get either end of the scale. You never want to let yourself get too hungry, and you never want to let yourself get too full. Staying between fairly hungry and full is where you want to be.
When you reach level 3, you are fairly hungry, your stomach is starting to growl a bit but you are not so hungry you are shaking, then you want to eat. Follow steps 1-4 of mindful eating by setting yourself a nice space to eat, turning off electronics, give thanks for your food, use your senses to enjoy your food and eat slowly. Be sure to check in with your body every few minutes and rank your hunger. When you reach between 5 and 7, where you are no longer hungry, stop eating.
By listening to your body and only eating when you are hungry, you will notice positive changes in your physical health. You will no longer feel that uncomfortable overly full, tired, heavy and bloated feeling after eating. You will feel lighter and have more energy. You will find it easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. And by incorporating steps 1 through 4 of mindful eating, you will feel satisfied and never feel food deprived. You will not be on the dreaded “diet”, but enjoying foods and still being healthy!
Your challenge for the rest of this week is to check in with your hunger scale before and after you eat. Did you eat when you were not hungry? Did you let yourself get too hungry? Did you eat until you were too full? Notice how your body feels during those times and try to avoid the bad habits your next meal.