Now that it’s the holiday season and tempting treats are everywhere, it’s very, very important to pay attention and eat according to your hunger. It may sound easy, but so many of us often eat for other reasons then hunger, including emotions, societal pressure (imagine Aunt Mildred saying, “You just have to eat one of my holiday cookies!”) and external cues, but listening to your true hunger is a great strategy for combating that holiday weight gain. Read on for three tips to really tune into your hunger and stop eating once you’re full!
1. Log your hunger and fullness. You already know how beneficial food journaling can be, but don’t just track your eats — track your hunger, too! On a scale from zero to 10 with zero being starving and 10 being uncomfortably and even painfully full, jot down how hungry you are before eating and then how full you are after. Try to eat when you’re at a three or a four, and stop eating when you’re at a six or a seven. Remember it can take your body up to 20 minutes to feel full so eat slowly.
2. Drink water. Did you know that thirst can masquerade as hunger? The next time you think you’re hungry but know that you just ate a little while ago, guzzle a cup or two of H2O and then reassess your hunger. You might be surprised that you were actually thirsty and not hungry!
3. Ask yourself what you’re really hungry for. When at holiday parties and family gatherings, we can often eat because we’re stressed, uncomfortable, anxious or just feel obligated. Instead of eating for emotional reasons this year, make a pact with yourself before any gathering that you will only eat if you’re really hungry. Just take a few seconds to check in with yourself before taking any bites. And when you really are hungry, eat slowly and savor every bite of what you’re craving!
How are you honoring your hunger this holiday season?