If you’re anything like most of my clients when they start, you’re probably thinking:
💭How do I know how much to eat?
💭If I allow myself to eat according to my wants, I’ll eat cake and pizza for days!
💭That does not sound healthy at all!
If those thoughts cross your mind…. You’re not alone.
Not trusting your body (especially around your favorite foods) and understanding your hunger and fullness cues have become quite the norm. After years of dieting, trying to look a certain way or weigh a certain number, you lose trust in your body’s natural signals and because of this disconnect they go into incognito mode.
But here’s something you may not know. Your body has the natural ability to self-regulate eating behavior.
Self-regulation is essential for survival. We are all born with the ability to know exactly what we need to eat.
So why do you feel like you can’t self regulate your appetite?
Let’s dive into that. As infants, we cry to signal hunger and understand satiety by stopping the feeding when full. But the ability to self-regulate slowly decreases with age and depending on how many outside influences we experience, might diminish completely. It starts with our parents’ feeding practices that might not be in tune with one’s natural hunger and fullness signals, the urge to clean your plate, eat your vegetables before you get dessert or social norms that we start getting exposed to as we grow older. And nowadays, it is so easy to get trapped into all the feeds, posts, etc., that can drag us down that rabbit hole, even as young children.
Dieting is one of those outside influences. It forces us to eat less than the body is asking for over a very long period of time. Our bodies interpret this as starvation which can lead you to experience some or all of the following:
- lowered metabolic rate
- fatigue and tiredness
- increasing the craving for calorie dense foods
- menstrual irregularities
- hair loss
- hormonal changes
- And so much more!
These are all side effects of dieting! So when we are able to put the pursuit of dieting and weight loss aside and focus on getting in-tune to our bodies by listening to hunger and satiety cues, we might regain the ability to self-regulate.
When we allow the body to feel safe by making sure to always deliver the energy it needs, the defense mechanisms are turned off. The chronic hunger, cravings, and fatigue will decrease as we learn to honor our hunger.
And eventually, once the body knows that there is no starvation coming anytime soon, it will relax, increase the metabolic rate, and support all your daily activities.
Simply, if you want your body to trust you, you need to trust it as well.
This new trust is the foundation for eating the right amount for your body. Re-learning this doesn’t happen overnight, but the process is worth it! On the path to rediscovering your ability to self-regulate, you will probably experience some bumps in the road. Just know that this is normal, and what I like to call a non-linear path to healing! xo