One thing that I think we often forget is the fact that we all have a built-in meter to help moderate our food intake. It’s not something we can put on our wrist, or that needs wifi to control and update. In our fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the newest fad diets and look to others to tell us exactly what to do in order to get the life we want. I can understand the appeal; how nice it feels to have everything laid out in a nice package and follow the steps provided, but it doesn’t always work out the way we want it to, nor is it sustainable. It is also worth noting the discrepancy between our size/shape/weight and having the life we want, but more on that later.
The diet industry certainly doesn’t want to acknowledge that we have the power to regulate our bodies, since they are the ones monetarily benefitting when we stop listening to our bodies, and start controlling what we eat, by means of calorie counting with the latest app, or adhering to the newest fad diet. But, I promise you, if you slow down enough to listen to the internal meter we all have that lets us know if and when we are hungry, what we are hungry for, and when we are full, we can regulate our food intake automatically, and can, therefore, maintain our weight in a healthy range that is ideal for our own bodies (this is often referred to as a set-point weight, and uses BMI as a guide, NOT as a determinate).
Our bodies are pretty smart; not only do they tell us when we are hungry and full, they also tell us what our bodies need, or in other words, what we might be deficient in. When I was pregnant, I could not get enough milk, and I was able to identify that my body was likely needing the calcium and nutrition that milk provided to help me grow my little one. Someone who has diabetes may feel hungry for something sweet if they are experiencing low blood sugars. Of course, this isn’t always the reason we crave or want things; I may be craving a brownie, and it is simply because I love brownies and they are on a plate in front of me, and I can use this internal meter within my body to eat it mindfully and enjoy it, while stopping when I feel satisfied, and this is normalized eating at it’s finest.
This often requires some guidance and patience, since we have been taught to train ourselves not to listen, so it may take some practice, and that is okay. The point isn’t to beat ourselves up for not having listened to our body all along; my point is to take the power back by taking steps to listen and pay attention, and seek guidance if warranted, to eventually feel more confident in identifying the signs that our bodies put out that let us know what we need, and, in turn, acting on those cues. This will help us to spend less time obsessing about what we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ eat, when to eat it, and how much of it to eat, while allowing us more energy to focus on things that will allow us to have the life we want.
(spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with your body size/shape/weight!)
Written By: Beth Well, MS, LPC