Jaime McBeth, Manager of Food and Nutrition at The Fortune Society

Teaching Fortune Clients To Let Their Stomachs Be Their Guide

Monday, August 24, 2015

Many people think that “nutritionist” and “food police” are synonymous.

Those same folks would be surprised to know that dietitian nutritionists spend a great deal of time trying to convince people to eat.

That’s because extreme thinness and rapid weight loss can often be a sign of illness. So trust me, healthy appetites and enthusiasm for food are welcomed!

Healthy, normal eating does not mean dieting, restricting food groups, or abandoning foods important to one’s heritage. To the contrary, it means embracing a wide variety of whole foods.

Remember the word “variety” – it’s the key to giving your body everything it needs. Foods that only have a couple of ingredients are usually best. Make half your plate veggies, a quarter protein, a quarter starches; snack on fruit and calcium-rich foods, and you’re good to go.

But how much to eat? Let your stomach be your guide. Not your eyes, not your boredom, not your social calendar — your tummy! As soon as that belly starts to rumble, put something in it. Don’t wait until you’re starving. And, just as soon as you feel satisfied (read: before you’re full), push away from the table.

Now, if you’re depressed, taking certain medications, or if you’ve ignored your hunger for years, you may not recognize it. You’ll have to become reacquainted with hunger.

But if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a healthy appetite and intact hunger cues — eat! Just be reasonable. Stop eating when you’re satisfied (when your hunger goes away) and don’t overindulge on indulgent foods. If you find yourself eating until you’re “Thanksgiving-stuffed” or that you only get pleasure from foods that have too much fat, too much sugar, or too much salt, consider why that may be the case. Are you eating mindfully, using all of your senses to fully experience your food? Or are you doing a million other things while scarfing down whatever food catches your eye?

Are you eating out of sadness or boredom? Whatever the case, you can form a more mindful relationship with food. If you’d like.

Here at Fortune, we have several programs that support a healthier, more mindful relationship with food. Take advantage of them. You deserve it!

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