As Seen On…
Want to learn more about Listening to Your Body?
Check out one of these blog posts by one of Way’s credentialed Dietitian Partners
More About Listening to your Body…
When push comes to shove, and we’re met with a situation where our body’s signals are overflowing, it’s common to have a moment of clarity. “I should listen to my body more”, we say.
But all too often, the process of listening to our body seems daunting. How do I start? When is my body talking?
Well, the first and most accessible way to start is through hunger and fullness cues. When your body is hungry and your stomach is growling, that’s the moment you can hear what your body is saying really clearly!
However, are you listening to the other side of that experience, when you’ve actually reached fullness?
Fullness is a far less listened-to body sensation. Many of us eat and eat, only to blow right past fullness and into physical discomfort from being too full – either from the physical feeling of our belly stretching out, or from the later digestion, or from the mental fog that comes from a food-coma.
The Hunger-Fullness Scale
One tool that comes to us from Intuitive Eating and can be very helpful here is the “hunger-fullness scale”, which is basically a scale from 1 to 10, from being extremely hungry (i.e. Ravenous!) to painfully full (i.e. “I feel sick!”). Without the scale, it’s easy to live life in a way where you only are paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues at both ends of the scale – but there’s so much opportunity in between.
By knowing if you’re a 3 or 4 on hunger, you can apply “practical hunger” – one of the four different types of hunger – and eat something now, knowing that you may be ravenous during your next meeting or work shift, or just at some point in time before your next meal.
And on the other side of spectrum, you may find that eating until you’re a 7 or 8 on fullness, then waiting 15 minutes for your stomach to catch up (i.e. gastric stretch), you’re actually a 9 or 10 on fullness and by giving your body this space, you’ve just given yourself the best of both worlds – fully satisfied on fullness and preventing a feeling of physical discomfort, mental fog, or even simply the guilt of food waste by eating more food than your body needs to live in alignment with your values and enjoyment.
In the Blue Zone of Okinawa, Japan, families and friends saying “Hara Hachi Bu” before eating together – it means, “8 of 10”, collectively reminding each other to stop eating when they feel 8 of 10 fullness. The wild thing is that they’ve been doing this for a very long time!
Other Ways to Listen to Your Body
Listening to your body is more than just knowing the difference between hunger and fullness though.
It’s also about listening and knowing the difference between fullness and satisfaction (hint: they’re different), asking yourself in your own mind whether you feel like you have high energy, low energy, whether your digestion feels good or funky (read: are you pooping well?)(also, hint: we all poop, there’s a children’s book about it). We can also listen to our body around sleep, mental clarity, or notice whether our body muscles feels stiff or fluid in movement.
These are just some of the ways you can begin to listen to your body, but there are so many more. When we understand that at the end of the day, Intuitive Eating is about connecting with the Instincts, Emotions, and Thoughts that we have, and much of that information comes from our body signals, we start to tap into our physical intelligence and find more peace in our relationship with food. And, we can find a way of living and eating that aligns with our values, making each moment of life a little more joyful.
Explore Listening to Your Body More Deeply
If you want to explore how to listen to your body deeper, one option is the Body Feels Pathway in the Way app. The purpose of the Body Feels Pathway is to help you learn how to listen to your body – your body is talking through signals and emotions, so feel what it’s saying and ask yourself what your body really needs.
Join 10,000+ people who’ve started their journey. We’ve made it affordable at less than $10/month, because our mission is to make your health and happiness, and Way was named the 2023 Best Non Diet App by Healthline, the biggest health website on the internet.