1. You can’t feel your hunger
- If you’ve been dieting, you’ve grown accustomed to external cues (gotta eat lunch at noon) rather than listening to internal hunger cues. On top of that, dieting teaches you to distrust your hunger and fullness signals and focus instead on numbers and portions. Where diet culture says you can’t possibly be hungry, intuitive eating says but I am. Hunger can have various manifestations: headaches and migraines, low energy, fatigue, irritability, and more. You might need time to register what hunger feels like to you. Like building any other relationship, this work takes time.
Questions to ask yourself:
-What does hunger feel like for me?
-Am I eating by the clock or am I honoring my hunger?
-Am I listening and trusting my body when it tells me it needs more fuel?
2. You don’t know when you’re full
Maybe you grew up with a family who pressured you to eat beyond your fullness level and finish your plates. For some of us, we just don’t feel full unless we’re uncomfortably stuffed.
Maybe for years you have relied on apps or points to tell you when to stop eating. Both of these scenarios create distrust within your body which makes it difficult to feel your fullness
3. Your not giving yourself unconditional permission to eat
Intuitive eating may not be working for you if you’re denying yourself food after 8pm or not allowing yourself seconds even when you’re still hungry. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a late-night snack or bowl of popcorn with a movie, in the same way that there’s nothing wrong with returning for seconds if you aren’t satisfied.
Sometimes all you need is two bites of cake, while other times you might want two slices.
4. Your feeling pressured to make “healthy” food choices
It took me a while to realize that I could be healthy without rules and boundaries around food. I could be healthy even if I didn’t eat “healthy” 100% of the time. So while I know the benefits of whole foods and I think nutrient density is important, we need to consider the satisfaction factor and the role of self-care in developing a healthy relationship with food.
5. Your still holding onto diet beliefs
Counting carbs, logging your macros, or watching your sugar for weight loss purposes are all part of diet culture. This doesn’t mean these things are easy to unlearn.
Try to practice self-compassion and show yourself patience during this process.
6. Your simply not ready
Intuitive eating isn’t easy. Even when I first discovered it, I wasn’t ready to hear the messages. Even though on an intellectual level you may realize diets don’t work and you can’t continue going the way you are, you may not be ready to take the next step. That’s okay. Just keep it in your back pocket, ready to return to it if you’d like to.