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Honouring True Hunger and Our Instincts

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Over the past 20 plus years, I’ve tried a wide range of food programs, including a 4-year stint of being a strict vegan. Paleo, keto, plants plus eggs and fish only, gluten-free, check, check, check, and check.

Today, my approach is quite simple - it’s to strive to eat only when I am truly hungry, and when hunger arrives, to eat however much I want of anything I crave.

This was my most recent meal - two slices of toasted sourdough bread with hummus and guacamole, topped off with an organic egg plus a bunch of small tomatoes on the side.

Raising my goblet to honouring true hunger and eating as our instincts tell us to.

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Comments

Thank you for this Dr Kim. I too, had 25 years of trying every eating protocol under the sun, until one day I awoke to the realization I had spent so much time listening to other’s philosophies, that I had no idea how to listen to my own body!
I have spent the last 5 years on the “ no judgment” eating plan, trusting my body’s instincts and covering everything with a blessing of gratitude.
I believe the fear, worry and mistrust that governed much of my eating rules in the past were more toxic to my system than any food!
To Life!
Thank you,
Lesley

Interesting article, and encouraging. I have been on a really restricted diet for about 10 years due to autoimmune disease. It worked pretty well, until it didn’t. Due to lack of carbs, I became weak and had no energy. I also lost too much weight and struggle with digestive issues. Any way, since adding rice and potatoes back in to my diet, things have improved some. Having read so many articles and books on diets, I am so confused and out of touch with what my body needs or wants that choosing what food to eat has become a source of stress. How do I learn to listen to my body again and eat instinctively?

Hi Debby - perhaps you can start by drinking only water from the time you wake up - cold, hot, sparkling, still, any which way you enjoy it. Then, wait until you crave something specific and go from there. I hope you enjoy the process of identifying what your instincts are leading you toward. - Ben

I agree too much emphasis is put on "diets". But to totally disregard what is healthy and hearing "follow your cravings" to me is dangerous for some people. I understand many diabetics (type 2) crave sugar. And I watch so many people over indulge in salt. Forgetting everything else about food (sources, preparation, etc), following your cravings without teaching your body what to choose from, is unwise. For instance, when I eat something salty, I crave anything salty for many days after. When I eat a piece of anything "death by chocolate" I want more. But I know those choices are unhealthy and I understand the impact to my health. So when I eat foods containing those ingredients, I limit my consumption and I decide that some is ok, or this meal is ok, but after that even if /when I crave more, I will make a different choice. So when you then add in fats/ oils/ flavors/ preservatives, being told to follow your cravings, in my opinion, is not what a doctor should be advising faithful followers. A trick I use when I crave something is to read the ingredients. If I can't pronounce it or don't know what it is, I have no business eating it. Dr. Kim, I will go out on a limb and say that most of your followers do not crave sourdough bread with hummus. When I watched my daughter in law go from a vegetarian diet to craving cheese burgers from a fast food restaurant when pregnant, and proceed to eat them constantly and end up with a bad pregnancy (complete bed rest the six weeks) and delivery (emergency C-section - thankful both child and parent are fine), when her cravings probably could have been addressed with healthier choices, I wanted to scream but all I could do was stand by and watch. And my ex-beau the diabetic choosing every sweet choice he walked by, leaving the green smoothie to spoil, because of cravings. I believe people need to satisfy a craving, but not follow a craving. Anyway, just my two cents.

I understand what you are saying Valerie. I have a persistent "sweet-tooth" and from time to time I need to back off of it. I find that the easiest way to quell "bad" cravings is to go on a water fast for a few days. Just stop. When I start eating again I find that things taste different, they are not dulled-down by over-indulgence in sweets or salts. Then, I really enjoy eating as Dr. Kim has described. I'd like to add that three meals a day is not a requirement of life. I find I do best with a light meal at about 10am, and then a bit larger meal at about 4pm. I also start my day with water. By the way, a water fast is not difficult with a bit of motivation, and 2-3 days can make a world of difference.