Knowing when to eat…

Date Posted:22 April 2014 

Sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes we can fall into the habit of eating when our body is not really hungry.

Hunger is your body's indicator that it is ready to digest your food, so that nutrition will be optimal. Ideally hunger comes at regular intervals coinciding with breakfast, lunch and dinner times with a small snack if needed, in between, to tide one over until the next meal.

Eat when hungry
Here is a simple way to get in touch with your body's messages around eating and food.  If you feel it is time to eat, pause and use this body awareness technique to check-in, to see if you really do need to eat. If you are not hungry but want to eat, then consider what is it you are really hungry for?

Checking in with your body in this way can help you to know when you are hungry and need to eat and when you have had enough and can stop eating.

Here’s what to do…

Prior to eating place your hand on your stomach region just above your navel, and ask yourself... What level of fullness or satisfaction do I feel in my stomach right now?

Use the 0 to 8 scale below

0 to 1: Hungry and stomach is empty - I am ready to eat.
2, 3, 4: There is food still in my stomach and I need to wait before eating. If unsure of your level take sips of hot water and wait 10 minutes to see if the feeling of emptiness or hunger remains.
5-6: Comfortably full, if eating it is time to stop.
7-8: Uncomfortably full, distended christmas dinner feeling, you have over eaten.

Aim to start eating at 0-1 and stop eating at 5-6, comfortably full.

Consider adopting this behavior for 21 days prior meals and snacks. By 21 days it will have become automatic and will greatly support your health and wellbeing for many years to come.

Look out for the following signs of hunger
• Lightness or emptiness in the stomach region.
• When gas rises from the stomach and there is no taste of food.
• A natural hunger is present and a desire to take food arises.

Great digestion tips
• For your first serving take the amount that would fill two hands cupped.
• Eat with full attention and chew slowly with enjoyment of the flavours.
• Sit quietly after eating for 5-10 minutes. Then take a stroll to aid digestion for 10 minutes or if time is short for 100 steps

Note: If you are diabetic or have an illness or are under the care of a health professional, please follow their advice with regard to meal timing and eating patterns. 

Knowing when I am hungry
Some people know when they are hungry and if they don’t eat then, they may well eat your head off… These Pitta types have very strong digestive fires (enzymes) and need to eat before they are ravenous. If this is you then you may need help to cool down excess heat or acidity. Aci Balance is a soothing herbal formula that does the trick really well.

Other people can miss a meal without particularly noticing. They are like a camel who can go for longer time without needing to stop. This indicates a slow and efficient digestion and metabolism. This ‘coldness’ can lead to a build up of impurities, mucous congestion, weight gain, fluid retention, blood sugar problems, high cholesterol, low mood, dullness and more. If this is you, then it would be wise to make Digest Tone a lifelong friend. Learn more about Digest Tone.

If your digestion is variable or changeable then you may find yourself eating at all times of the day and night, with a tendency for gas, indigestion and sometimes a frustrating sensitivity, or allergies to different food groups. What’s more you may even find that food does not pass through easily and you experience periods of constipation or hard stool. If this is you, then help is on its way, Ayurveda really understands how to help you.

Firstly become aware of Vata Balancing FoodsSecondly take Digest Plus 1 tablet prior meals to strengthen and soothe your digestion. Also take 2-4 tablets of Digest Tone at bedtime to help regulate your bowel activity.

If your situation is a little more complex Ask Our Expert to find out what is best for you.

Wishing you the bliss of balance

Linda Sinden
Maharishi Ayurveda Practitioner

Get Balance Team