There are many ways we outsource control over our bodies – to the media, our friends, our family, our doctors, apps on our phone, devices like Fit Bits, etc. It creates a body-mind disconnect as if our mind isn't actually part of our body. Your mind tells you that you are hungry, but it's not time to eat or you don't have enough points/calories left to eat something "extra." So you let the external control your internal.
Why did you decide to outsource your hunger? At what point did you stop trusting the wisdom your body already contains within? We were born with the intuition to know when to eat, sleep, and play. So when did things change? For a lot of us it begins in childhood with seemingly innocent comments from adults about food. "Clean your plate" or "Finish your vegetables and then you can have dessert." This guidance was intended to help you nourish your body, but what it really did was subtly tell you that you can't trust your body.
If you've ever been on a diet (or tried to eat "healthier," which let's be honest is just a diet in disguise), then you've outsourced control over your eating to whatever external criteria you tried to follow. Let me guess how it played out. The first few days, or maybe even weeks, were really exciting and you followed it precisely. Then real life kicked in and you encountered situations where food was available that didn't fit the diet plan, or you got a craving for something you weren't allowed to eat. At first you tried to resist it, but eventually you gave in. And afterwards came the guilt, shame and sense of failure. As if you had done something wrong. But the reality is that you didn't do anything wrong at all. The diet failed you, not the other way around.
You see, diets are destined to fail. If any diet or way of controlling our eating actually worked, why would we have to keep coming up with new ways to lose weight? Yes, it works initially, creating the illusion that it will work indefinitely to keep the weight off, but it's not sustainable. And that's where people don't get it. If any other product in the marketplace had a failure rate of over 95% it wouldn't make money. Yet the diet industry continues to prey on our vulnerabilities and insecurities and makes billions – yes, billions – of dollars per year. Stop giving them your money and your dignity.
Turn the trust back over to your body. Your body is designed to send signals to your mind to tell you what it needs. Start the process of repairing that relationship by checking in with your body throughout the day. How is it feeling? What do you need right now? Honor those needs when possible. Before you eat ask yourself how hungry you are, and pause while eating to check for satisfaction and fullness. After you've eaten check back in to see how you feel. Over time this process of monitoring your body signals will happen at a more subconscious level, but initially it will have to be intentional for you to reconnect. It's ok to make mistakes and to over or under eat at times. Even the most intuitive eaters do this sometimes. The key is to be compassionate and give your body what it needs from that point forward. You are your best expert, trust me on that, at least until you can trust yourself again.