Yesterday I had a challenge that involved only one part of the intuitive eating equation. I don't know the whole equation, I haven't really looked into it, but I imagine it's something like eat when you're sort of hungry, stop when you're sort of full, and eat when your body is actually hungry for. Well, that last one is the trick, isn't it? But yesterday I was just doing the first part, not eating unless I was actually hungry.
So describing it with the 1-10 hunger scale, 5 is neither hungry nor full, 4 is a little hungry, 3 is definitely hungry, 2 is very hungry, and 1 is "COOKIE!!! NOM NOM NOM". And what I found is I kept going straight from what I thought was 4 to 2, when it would be good to eat at 3.
I think the reason for this is that I kept telling myself "no" even though I was doing it very tactfully. "You're still okay." "You're not in pain yet." "After the workout." "We'll be home soon." And I think I delayed eating too long, which was about an hour for lunch and 45 minutes or dinner.
But the interesting thing I learned from this is that when I tell myself “no” to many times, I run out of no, or maybe my body stops listening. But it would explain why when I wait too long to eat, I tend to go overboard. One situation this often happens is going out to a restaurant, by the time we get there and get seated and get served, it’s often 30 or 45 minutes later than when I would have been eating at home.
I blogged about a theory on this, called decision fatigue, several months ago. It has a link to a NY Times article on the subject. As I conclude there, when we have a good understanding of the decisions and what we want out of them it is not as stressful. I think that’s why the full on intuitive eating was so weird for me, while just exploring the timing of my eating was not as bad.