Finding Structure Without Restriction
With spring and summer coming up so soon, you might hear messaging along the lines of, "get your beach body!" or "have a hot girl summer!" with the promises that this diet or detox or workout plan will definitely make you lose x pounds before summer.
This is your reminder that you already have a beach body and can have a hot girl summer without restricting and dieting and getting into that binge-restrict cycle. In fact, honoring your hunger and fullness cues can make you feel even more like a hot girl (or guy or person). So with that, let's chat a little about how you can honor your hunger and fullness cues to feel like your best self.
Finding Structure When You Don't Feel Your Hunger or Fullness Cues
Honoring your hunger can be hard if you've spent forever ignoring those cues. Setting timers to check-in, creating flexible structure in your day, and listening when your body wants MORE are some key points here. Flexible structure might look like setting a time frame for you to eat meals or just saying, I need to eat two snacks today. This gives your brain a point to reach when you're rushing through your day or haven't had hunger cues in a while.
The key word here is FLEXIBLE, though. Have dinner plans at 8 but your dinner window is usually between 5-6? No worries. You checked in at your normal snack time and weren't feeling it? That's fine. Flexible structure is not another set of rigid rules to follow. It's simply a guiding light to help us eat consistently and eat enough throughout the day. It's also important to NOT hold out all day just because you're eating a larger meal later on in the day or going to be in a bathing suit. Your body still needs energy to get you to that point and to enjoy your activities! You're also going to enjoy your food more if you don't go into it feeling ravenous and out of control. Honoring your hunger can take a LOT of time and internal work, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you'll feel with yourself and become more in tune with your body.
Finding Structure with Chronic Illness or Medications
If you're taking medications or have certain health conditions, these can impact your ability to listen to these cues too. This is where finding structure or setting timers can come in handy. Many people say that intuitive eating is "just the hunger and fullness diet", but it's so much more than that. If you aren't feeling hungry for whatever reason, it's important to set that flexible structure to make sure you are nourished and can live your best life.
The hunger and fullness scale is also a great visualization of what you're feeling and to help you begin to recognize your own cues. I have a copy of this in my Beginner's Guide to Food Freedom which also covers all ten principles of intuitive eating and dives deeper into each concept. I hope some of this resonated with you and you can find yourself enjoying the spring and summer seasons with a full belly and happy heart!
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