Session #3: Body Awareness


 

Habit Check In

Each week we will check in on the daily habit you have set for yourself. You may notice that this small habit is inspiring in other areas of your life. Have you found yourself sticking to other habits you have been trying to implement? Small habits can make big change!

 

Honoring Hunger and Fullness

Last week we explored the idea of awareness, and we will continue this exploration this week. A part of identifying our energy levels requires that we focus on consistent intake. The intention of food is to give us the fuel and energy we need to live our lives. We also need energy to go out into the world and achieve our goals. Each person has specific foods that give them energy, and those that take away energy. This week you will explore what foods fuel your life, and which ones leave you hanging in the dust.

It’s also important to explore awareness of our body symptoms – specifically hunger and fullness. We want to notice and then honor these feelings. This allows us to feed ourselves what our body needs, when we need it. Despite what we’ve spent our whole lives learning, what you consume is only a small part of the picture. And that makes sense! If it was just so easy to prescribe the right foods, then everyone would be on the same plan. Unfortunately, that’s not how nutrition works.

Much of nourishing ourselves is how we eat. Do you eat when you’re not actually hungry because your coworkers said it’s lunchtime? Do you eat a little too much because that what was on the plate? By noticing these habits, you can begin to honor your hunger and fullness symptoms. Honoring hunger is about recognizing what happens internally before you get hungry. Instead of waiting until you’re so hungry your stomach hurts, you tune in to the internal signal that your body needs nourishment. You can think of this like the gas tank in your car. There’s a bit of a buffer zone to prevent being stranded. When the gas light first appears you may have 20-30 miles to go before you actually run out of gas.

 Honoring hunger is about recognizing what happens internally before you get hungry.

We don’t want to wait to eat until we run out of gas. Why is this? If we let ourselves get too hungry, it’s almost impossible to think clearly or make good decisions. The need to feel physically full becomes so irresistible you’ll eat almost anything. And then after you eat, you may still feel unsatisfied because it wasn’t a real meal. When we eat under stress our body’s appetite mechanism is still searching for the meal. And, unfortunately, it won’t shut down until you’ve had what feels like a meal.

 

Hunger & Fullness Scale

This week you will create your own Hunger Scale & Fullness Scale.

Hunger Scale: This scale is from 1-10, and the number 2 on the scale is when the gas light would come on. It’s the indicator that it’s time to plan your next meal. The number 10 on the scale would be intense hunger. Start to plan for food when you are at a 1-2 on the hunger scale to avoid any bad decisions.

Fullness Scale: This scale is from 1-10, and 7 on the scale is satiated, but not stuffed. The number 10 is so stuffed that you’re uncomfortable. End your meal when you are at a 7 on the fullness scale, which would be about 70% full.

Here are 6 specific ways you can practice identifying your hunger and fullness:

  • Start planning what/when to eat at a level 2 on the hunger scale
  • Eat foods that give you energy
  • Eat for energy, a level 7 on the fullness scale
  • Make a physical gesture that your meal is complete by pushing your plate away, putting a napkin over it, or crossing silverware
  • Declare out loud to yourself or whomever you are eating with that you are full
  • If you’re out, ask your server to box up the rest of the meal

You can find this activity here.

 

Action Step

  • Practice the Hunger & Fullness Scale
  • Complete and track your habit for the next 7 days