Take Care of Your Hunger
Health at Every Size (HAES) is a concept that allows for people to move away from a diet mentality and fixating on a number on a scale to truly being in tune with their body and understanding that weight is not correlated with health. Dr. Linda Bacon published a book titled Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight in which she discusses this concept and studies she conducted about it.One of the elements of HAES is taking care of one’s hunger. This involves understanding your body’s hunger and satiety signals and being in-tune with your body’s needs and wants. It is giving yourself unconditional permission to eat, while taking the time to listen to your body and understand if it really wants that piece of chocolate cake or you just want to eat it because of the idea of chocolate cake. There are four guidelines to taking care of your hunger.
- Eat delicious food
- This guideline gives you unconditional permission to eat, which sounds like it goes against all diets. When eating food a person likes, they should feel satisfaction and contentment while eating, which allows a person to stop when they are satisfied or feel full.
- Pay attention when you eat
- When eating, we should give our attention to our food to feel satisfied with it. Eating on the go or without being mindful allows us to over eat or not be satisfied with our food.
- Satisfy your hunger
- This guideline also follows the concept of understanding your body’s hunger and fullness cues and being an ‘intuitive eater’. Following a hunger/fullness scale, or creating one for yourself, can help you eat to satisfy hunger. Before eating, take a moment to assess your hunger level and the emotions or moods you are feeling. At the end of your meal, repeat this activity. Do this for some time to understand how you feel at different stages of hunger and fullness.
- Tackle emotional eating
- This guideline builds on the previous guidelines regarding emotion and eating. Many people have emotional problems that they think are actually eating problems. Being gentle with oneself as you discover intuitive eating can help you distinguish between emotions and hunger. One way of doing this is following the activity in the previous guideline. Before eating, take a minute to understand your hunger and the reason why you are eating by asking yourself if this food will satisfy your needs. Another way is to find other methods of dealing with emotions. This can be through writing in a journal, talking to friends, or physically releasing your emotions through exercise, crying, or punching a pillow. Also take the time to take care of yourself by whatever means helps you relax.
Written By Dietetic Intern Fatima Abdelhafeez