Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hunger awareness guide.

One of the things I've been focusing on more in my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle is mindfully eating and learning to listen to my hunger cues. This has become a little complicated in my case, as 2 years of disordered eating have caused me to become somewhat confused as to what my body needs and how to appropriately respond to those needs. I know that becoming reconnected with my body is a process, and I'm proud to say I've come a long way in this aspect. But there are still times when I second guess myself - "Am I really hungry? Or am I actually tired, bored or trying to cope with negative emotions". Here's something someone sent to me, which I am finding helpful in answering these questions:

Instructions: Self-evaluation encouraged before and after eating. The goal is to keep your hunger between a 3 and a 7 as often as possible. This exercise if to help those who have become disconnected with their bodies and hunger signals, (usually through an eating disorder,) to become more aware and attuned with their hunger and nutritional needs.

0 - Starving.

1 - Very hungry, feel like ordering everything on the menu.

2 - Preoccupied with hunger, everything on the menu looks good.

3 - Feel hungry and the urge to eat is strong.

4 - Feel a little hungry. Can wait to eat.

5 - Neutral, not hungry, not full.

6 - Sense food is in your belly, could eat a bit more.

7 - Feel satisfied. Hunger is gone and you may not feel hungry again for 2-3 hours.

8 - Not uncomfortable, definitely a full belly.

9 - Moving into uncomfortable.

10 - Very uncomfortable.

This scale has been helpful for me, because it encourages me to stop before or during a meal and really think about what stage of fullness and hunger I'm at. That way I don't end up eating too little, only to be RAVENOUS 2 hours later; or to eat too much to be point I feel uncomfortable - both physically and mentally.

I'd go as far as to say that re-examining your eating habits from time to time would be beneficial for anyone - especially if you are under a lot of stress or busy. We tend to give little importance to nourishing our bodies when things get stressful and busy, when in reality that is when it is more important.

Here are some yummy food I've been enjoying recently (and once again I apologize for the low quality pictures)

Vegetarian white bean chili (recipe adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)

Ridiculously Easy Curried Lentil/Barley Soup (although I think most lentil soups fall under that category)

¼ onion
¾ cup dry red lentils
1/3 cup barley
2 tsp madras curry powder
¾ cup cauliflower
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 clove crushed garlic
salt to taste
2 bay leaves
3-4 cups broth/water

Optional: Greek yogurt or sour cream

Bring water/broth mixture to a boil in a pot. Dice the carrots and cauliflower and chop the onions. Add dry lentils to the boiling liquid, along with chopped onion, squeezed garlic and spices to the water. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, then add in the dry barley. After another 15-20 minutes add the vegetables Cook for about 30 minutes or till both lentils and barley are cooked through. Add last minute spices- 2 tbsp tomato paste; salt and more curry powder to taste. Serve hot, topped with Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired.

Aside from that I've come up with my own version of overnight oats. If you like your oats very thick, creamy and sweet - then you should give this a try.

All you do is:

- Add 1/3- 1/2 cup oats,
- Mush in half a banana
- Add 2/3 - 3/4 cup yogurt along with 1/4 cup milk
- Mix in 2 tsp of shredded coconut
- Stir it all together

Let it sit in the fridge over night and there you have it!

Personally I think these oats stand on their own in terms of flavour. But topping suggestions would definitely include fresh berries, nectarines, peaches or cherries. Get creative, because this is a great base to work off of.

What is your latest healthy living focus?

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post about knowing when and when not to eat!
    Man, that is soo hard for me sometimes. Especially at night when I know I'm probably down on calories but confused as to whether or not I'm full, especially once I start eating.
    But the oatmeal sounds delish! I'm gonna try it soon! :)
    Good luck with your intuitive eating!
    <3 Haley