Checking in with the Belly

All of the BASICS of Mindful Eating are located on the purple upper left hand area of the blog.  Today I want to talk about the first BASIC—the “Belly Check”

B – Belly Check before you eat to assess hunger and satiety.

Are there sensations of physical hunger?  How hungry are you?  What are you hungry for? Is there a particular type of food you’d like to have?  You might want food.  You might be thirsty.  You might be hungry for something entirely different than food.  Do you have physical sensations in the stomach that feel like hunger but may be associated with an emotional reaction?  Find out what your body is telling you by doing a Belly Check.

Understanding your belly’s messages is not as easy as it sounds.  Your belly can grumble for a lot of reasons.  One reason is real physical hunger.  Another reason your belly can growl and grumble can be a result of stress, grief, sadness, anxiety, busyness, or any host of other emotional reactions.  On the other hand,  your belly may not be giving you signs of hunger because you are experiencing strong emotions but it would be important for you to eat anyway.  You need to support your body’s ability to function well by eating something about every four to five hours. Listening carefully over time you can begin to more correctly interpret what your belly is telling you.

If you really checked in with your belly every time before you ate and honored the messages that you found or didn’t find, would you eat as much?  Give it a try.  Before you eat, listen for the signs of hunger.  For some assistance in this, you can listen to a Taste of Mindfulness.   If you really have physical hunger, eat.  If you are hungry for something other than food (movement, rest, laughter, connection, conversation, etc.), honor the wisdom of the body and give yourself what you really need.  Sometimes this can be as easy as talking a walk around the block or taking a few deep breaths.  Sometimes you will need to take more time for yourself to experience some deep emotions that may be asking to come to the surface and be acknowledged.