Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating Part II


physical hunger vs. emotional hunger

Learning your body’s cues means learning how to trust your body.

In physical hunger, your biology, the complex interaction between your digestive system, endocrine system, and brain is telling you to replenish with nutrients. This is a gradual signal like your stomach growling, low energy and weakness, and irritability, and difficult concentrating.

Emotional hunger is usually directed from an emotional need like boredom, sadness, or loneliness. The heart can feel achy or empty due to unfulfilled emotional or spiritual needs. Rather than acknowledging and working through our challenges, we try to fill the void with food and create cravings for food that bring us back to that comfort state. Because these foods are typically unhealthy and trigger “feel good” sensations, people often feel guilt and shame after eating them. 

Often, people confuse other signals in the body for physical hunger. Have you ever experienced any of these?

“Teeth Hunger”

Sometimes, especially if we’re feeling irritated or stressed, we want to chew our frustrations away. Our bodies are not calling for food, but we put it in our mouths as an attempt to relieve anxiety.

“Mouth Hunger”

We see or smell something that looks so delicious that our mouths start to water. Sometimes just thinking about a food brings on a craving for it. We desire to taste the food, but really aren’t physically hungry.

“Mind Hunger”

We look at the clock and think we have to eat a certain amount of food because “it’s time”, even if we don’t feel like eating.


Sometimes we confuse the sluggishness of dehydration with actual hunger. The body is calling for fluids, not food.


When we sense that our energy levels are low, some of us automatically think that if we eat something, we’ll feel better. However, if we’ve been working extra hard and/or haven’t been getting enough sleep, our bodies are calling for rest, not food.


Tips to get started:

Learn your physical sensations of hunger and fullness. Hunger and fullness is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain. When your body has had enough food to satisfy its needs, signals are sent to the hypothalamus, registering fullness (also called satiety). When we are in tune to our bodies, we recognize when it’s time to stop eating. The stomach feels comfortable, and satisfied — not stuffed. We soon begin to feel calmer, more alert and energized.

It takes approximately 20 minutes for fullness signals to transmit from the stomach back to the brain. So, if you eat too fast and aren’t paying attention, it’s easy to override this system and eat more than what the body is calling for.

Pay attention. Take a moment to sit quietly and take a few deep breaths. to what may feel like emptiness. Ask yourself “what do I need?” “what would feel good?” “What is causing this pain?”“What do I need to say?”It could be hot bath, essential oils, singing, meditation, dance, taking a nap, buying yourself flowers. 

Start loving yourself NOW. Give yourself that spa treatment, go on a vacation, create boundaries at work. This means living in the present and working with your body not against your body. Give yourself compassion.

Enjoy the occasional sweet treat or salty snack. Allowing yourself to “unhealthy” foods every once in a while prevents restrictive dieting, which can lead to binge eating or other eating disorders.

Enjoy your favorite foods. Recreate nourishing versions of your traditional comfort foods. Fries? How about baking sweet potato fries with spices. Want that burger? Use lean sustainably raised grass-fed beef, tomatoes, fermented pickles, and wrap it up in butter lettuce.

Set up for success. Have a meal plan and make grocery shopping fun by learning about new foods and how to eat them. Collect all your recipes and choose 1 or 2 to make for the week. 

If you are still challenged there may be medical explanations such as medications that are interfering with appetite. If you know that painful memories or situations are at the root of emotional eat, it is important to seek guidance to overcome these issues with a therapist.



Intuitive Eating Part I


what is intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating is an approach to 
help you create a healthy
 relationship to your food, mind,
 and body. Intuitive eating allows you to know the difference between physical and emotional feelings. Basically, you learn to trust and master your body’s innate wisdom!


Intuitive Eating is an approach created from radical women in the 1970s. This approach is built on the principle that diets don’t work and lifestyle and self-care are the pillars to long-term health.

how do you learn this?

First off, your body already has all the answers, whether it’s about relationships, what to eat, or which corner to turn your body knows what is best for you. However, with the environment that we live in, our brain becomes inundated with what should be – and what we should eat is ruled by others opinions or marketing schemes. The term diet is now often seen as a lifestyle to lose weight --- restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.

Our ability to make decisions about food has been clouded. On the one hand we deprive ourselves of food because we are afraid of how it might affect our weight. On the other hand, we become susceptible to eating unhealthy foods because of how they make us feel short term.

With intuitive eating, you learn to respond to your inner body cues. To do so, implementing mindfulness, both outside and during mealtimes will be key. This will assure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs and also decrease the likelihood of using food as a mask for deeper emotional need.

Principles to Intuitive Eating…

Ditch the DIET mentality. Diets give you false hopes about quick and long-lasting weight loss. Diets tend to be strictly regimented, leaving a lot of room for making you feel like a failure if you stop the diet or you “mess up”. Constant dieting often creates a yo-yo affect on your metabolism causing it slow down, ultimately leading to more weight gain in the future.

Honor Your Hunger. Avoiding hunger can lead to over eating and all mindful eating may get thrown out the window. Achieve biological balance with adequate lean protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates. Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced will help you to avoid dips that take your rushing towards quick fuel from sugars and refined carbohydrates. This is the first biological step that helps you set the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

Show food some love. Give yourself the permission to eat. Telling yourself that you cannot or should not have a particular food, can lead to deprivation and build uncontrollable cravings, which can ultimately lead to bingeing and self-shaming. Allow yourself to eat foods that enhance your life experiences.

Clean up your thoughts. This means no calorie counting and thinking you’ve been good for dismissing that brownie or following unreasonable rules. These are usually deeply ingrained limiting beliefs that are unconsciously holding you in negative space with food.

Respect fullness. Listen to your body’s cues when they tell you that you’re comfortably full. Pausing in the middle of a meal and setting down your fork between bites allows you to savor you foods, taste the flavors and slow you down. Ask yourself, are you full yet?

Discover satiety. Make your eating experience fun and enjoyable. Smell the aromas of your food. Feel the textures in your mouth. Eat food that tastes delicious to you. Show gratitude towards your food. These simple actions uses your senses to fully satisfy you physically, mentally, and emotionally.  

Tap into your feelings. If you find yourself eating out of emotions, ask yourself what is truly at the root of them? Do you need more pleasure in your life, need safety, need to express yourself but unsure how? What is it that you really need? Identify your root emotion and then look for other ways to confront them like taking a walk, meditating, deep breathing, calling a friend, journaling, or drinking a glass of water.

Respect your body. Instead of criticizing your body, recognize it as capable, beautiful and 100% yours.

Move. Discover how you love to move your body. Shift your thoughts and energy from needing to lose weight to desiring to feel energized, strong, and alive.