The Art of Intuitive Eating: Why You Need to Allow Yourself to Eat When You’re Hungry

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A few weeks ago, as I was stumbling through one of my less-than-great moments of my recovery, a good friend of mine said, “if you eat when you’re hungry all your problems will go away.”

A small statement so large it broke my shrunken stomach but not my shrunken heart. A thought in a moment of text banter, casual and yet so serious that it weighed my jaw in both grin and frown. What a statement. “If you eat you will be better”.

We learn this as children, as small young things, when our bodies and our bellies alike, act upon instinct, they growl when not fed, cry when thirsty, beg for more when they have not had enough. We learn to ask for what we want as small toddlers. “Mommy, feed me, we say. More, mommy, more. I want more food, please.”

As babies, we instinctively crawl towards the scent of milk, we know to strive toward the milk glands of our mothers. We are so smart as tiny, small, language-inept beings. We, like the mammals we are, bunnies and worms alike, baby giraffes and huge rabbits, we know we must eat. In fact, every human, every living thing, comes to existence equipped with the shared human trait of hunger. It is not a box we or our mothers check off when we come into being — it is already checked, etched in light gray font and unclickable. We are all born hungry.

Why is it then, that an unimaginably large contingent of the population, has come to attain the skill of ignoring instinct, of denying that which is innately human, and of stabbing our mothers and mother of nature in the ever so tender pit of her stomach? How is it even so, that any human thing, could rob itself of that trait from which it is born? How have we evolved and how sick is this world in which we roam, that has allowed any of our human neighbors to deny that which is instinctual. I beg to know, I long to grasp.

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“If you eat when you are hungry, your problems will go away”, she said and she says and I hear and I know. If you listen to your body, your soul will heal, your heart restore and your being congeal. I know her statement and the statement I hear next door on the leather couch is true. I know this much and I know this much is true. To eat is to live and to live is to be, to be is to beam with light and with love, to radiate that which is innately you. To be you is all that you have, and that which we have is all that there is. To deny all of this and to “rise above” is nothing of the sort. No human, no bunny, no kitty or worm, none of us can rise above that from which we are born. To be born is to make an obligation to live. To live is to be and to nourish our hearts and our guts alike.

Eat when you’re hungry and all will follow suit.

Of mangoes and melons and all that there is, I believe this is true and while not new… on that evening a few weeks ago, it felt and still feels much more and also so much less simple than it is. To follow the path on which we are born — not simple and not hard, curvily, straightly winding along. Just do it, don’t do it, do it once and again. Eat when you’re hungry. That’s it, the end.

Image Source: Flickr

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