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Intuitive eating – learning which type of hunger you are feeding

Do any of these behaviours ring true for you? Rewarding yourself after a stressful day at work with a glass of wine, turning to the pantry to fill your time when the kids are in bed, or having that cake at morning tea just because everyone else in the staff room was doing so?

Wine, snacking and cake are by no means “bad”, but acknowledging habits versus hunger and understanding which “hunger” the food was feeding is important for discovering long term food freedom!

What does hunger feel like for you? For some it is a rumble in their tummy, for some it might be feeling light headed or dizzy. These feelings of hunger are PHYSICAL, there is no thought behind them, no cravings or internal battles. Our body is just simply asking for fuel. Physical hunger is only one type of hunger. Others include:

·       Heart Hunger: We can also call this hunger emotional eating, where we use food to fill a gap caused by a variety of emotional triggers such as loneliness, anxiety or worry, sadness and stress.

·       Mouth Hunger: Craving a specific taste or flavour. Think about craving something sweet after dinner, or when your mouth waters when you walk past a bakery, that’s mouth hunger.

·       Mind Hunger: Mental cues to eat such as “its lunch time”

Learning which type of hunger you are feeding, and having the freedom to fuel which ever hunger you desire if you REALLY want to do so is what has been called “intuitive eating”. Practicing listening to your body cues may help you gain trust in your ability to fuel your body again without any feelings of guilt or shame.

Practice asking yourself these simple questions before an eating opportunity:

Am I physically hungry? If so, your body is asking for fuel!

I can have it if I want it, do I really want it? Make the conscious decision and enjoy every bite or sip!  

Like any new behaviour, intuitive eating takes lots of practice and is just one tool you can use to better understand your relationship with food and how you use food to fuel your body, mind, heart or mouth.

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