Intuitive Eating

Eat when you are hungry

April 2, 2018

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

Ask a room full of people to describe what hunger feels like and you’ll get answers like, “When my stomach growls,” or, “Lightheaded or shakiness,” or, “When I’m cranky or hangry.”  These are signs of extreme hunger and maybe even hypoglycemia. 

There were more subtle signs of hunger that you drove by before you reached that destination of desperation for food.  Your gas tank got to E.  It’s more ideal to eat when you are moderately hungry while you can still think clearly and don’t have a biological drive to eat that is so strong you are driven to overeat.  We all know the feeling of ravenous eating, and it tends to land us in Stuffed City. Practice checking in with your body often enough that you are noticing the subtle signs of hunger and can identify moderate hunger.  Each person’s experience of this feels different, so you’ll have to discover it for yourself.

And no worries if you miss the mark and end up eating even though you weren’t really hungry.  Sometimes we confuse other signals, such as thirst or fatigue, with hunger.  Make note of this when it happens so that you’ll be able to tell the difference in the future. 

You can also trust that your body will let you know if you missed the subtle signals and have become extremely hungry.  The signs of hunger become more physical and more intense as your hunger gets stronger.  It’s your body yelling louder, “FEED ME!”  Which makes sense, because you can die immediately of severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), so your body is going to do everything it can to prevent you from getting to that point.  It’s pretty cool how your body protects you, huh?

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  1. Dea Varner says:

    I just read this article and just wanted to say that tonight I did a thing! Normally I’m a pretty rigid eater when it comes to times that I eat… I basically eat at the same time every day whether I’m hungry or not. Sometimes I’m extremely hungry but because it’s not noon yet or it’s not 5:45 which is my usual dinnertime, I won’t eat until it’s “time”. So tonight at about 5:20 I noticed that I was starting to get hungry so at first I tried to distract myself with other things. I made it to 5:30 and was getting REALLY hungry and was going to try to wait the extra 15 minutes when I just said to myself, “this is crazy! You’re hungry.. just go ahead and eat!!” So I did!!!!! And I ate my dinner and wasn’t crazy full but I certainly wasn’t REALLY hungry anymore… Just gotta break out of my usual mindset!

    • Katy Harvey says:

      That is amazing. Thank you for sharing your win! It is so important to listen to our bodies and I’m glad you are taking steps towards that!