Intuitive Eating

Internal vs External Appetite Regulation

November 3, 2015

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

Our bodies have built in mechanisms to regulate our eating, yet many of us rely primarily on external regulators. 

This is in part because we are taught not to trust our internal mechanisms for hunger and satiety.  Media headlines include things like, "Simple tricks to eat less," or, "Eat this, not that."  The subtle underlying implication is that if you ate what you really wanted you'd eat too much.

We also rely heavily on external forms of appetite regulation because they are so abundant around us.  Here are some examples:

  • Pre-packaged foods lead us to eat the amount in the package regardless of hunger.
  • Calories posted on restaurant menus that lead you to order differently based on this information.
  • Calories on the front of food packages in addition to the regular nutrition facts label.
  • The size of your plate tends to determine the amount of food you portion and subsequently consume.  Studies show the bigger the plate the more we eat.
  • Diet plans or points that dictate the types and amount of food you eat.

By ignoring what our bodies tell us we most often will either under or overeat because it's hard to hit a bulls-eye when blindfolded.

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