When was the last time you were hungry? I’m not talking about the last time you had an urge to smoke or a drop in blood sugar. When was the last time you were really hungry? When you could feel that your stomach was empty and you could hear him growl and gurgle, letting you know it was time to eat?
For most patients in my functional medicine telehealth clinic, it’s been a long time. After all, our lifestyles are designed to be convenient and easy in a way that never leaves us far from a vending machine or drive-thru. Instead of going from full to hungry and back to full, we fluctuate between some sort of hunger, some kind of satisfaction after eating, and always a craving for sugar, carbs, and caffeine. Many of us also feel shaky or hungry if we go too long without a snack or a meal.
You may have heard the term intuitive eating, which refers to the concept of listening to and honoring your body’s messages about what to eat. I even discuss a form of it in my new book Intuitive fasting.
However, in my experience, when your body is out of balance it can be very difficult to discern what you really need to create vibrant wellness. Is it an intuition or an insatiable urge? Is it a hunch or a hormonal imbalance? Emotional eating is not intuitive eating. Stressed eating is not intuitive eating. All of these can disguise themselves as your “gut feeling,” a proverbial noise in the body, drowning out the calm, purposeful voice of your food intuition.
So how do you know which one you’re listening to? It is important to decipher what makes us hungry in the first place and exactly how we can listen to our intuition again.