When I was started working towards becoming a more intuitive eater it was hard not to feel guilty when I felt I was doing any of it “wrong”. Things like eating when I wasn’t hungry or eating past full didn’t seem intuitive at all. It was all of these “mistakes” though that taught me to become an intuitive eater.
I had to eat when I wasn’t actually hungry before I realized how much better food tastes when I wait for hunger & how much more satisfied I feel after a meal that I am actually hungry for. It took a long time for me to learn the difference between real hunger & the hungry feeling I get when I am tired, bored, lonely, wanting a break, or nervous & why it’s worth it to wait for real hunger. Eating because I am on on vacation, because it’s the holidays, because it’s the weekend, because I am at a restaurant, or because I am out with friends, were all reasons I used to eat when I was restricting but I found with intuitive eating that waiting for hunger makes everything taste better & that eating for all these other reasons isn’t all that enjoyable. There were times when it was worth it like my brother-in-laws amazing sweet potatoes at Christmas or cookie dough & warm cookies whenever me & my daughter bake them, but most of the time what I eat is better when I’m hungry. It took quite a few times of eating when I wasn’t hungry to really figure that out though.
I had to eat past satisfied in order to realize that even a little too full makes me feel lethargic and makes it hard to feel like getting much done. I had to get it wrong many times in order to see how food just doesn’t taste that good anymore when I have eaten enough & that when I keep eating it takes that much longer to get to the point where I am hungry again. I had to learn that sitting with the small amount of sadness that a meal I loved was over & stopping when I was satisfied was worth how much more energy I had & how much happier that made me when I stopped eating before getting even a little too full.
It was only by getting it wrong & learning from it that I could figure out how to do it right. Not because I SHOULD wait for hunger & stop when satisfied but because I WANT to.