Vickery recommends practicing interoceptive awareness—i.e., paying attention to the physical sensations in our bodies (hunger pangs, feelings of fullness, and energy levels)—to start reconnecting with your hunger cues. “By tuning in to these cues, we can start eating in response to our hunger instead of eating based on external cues like the time of day or what’s available,” she adds.
While there are many different interoceptive awareness exercises you can try, keeping a hunger journal is a good place to start, Vickery shares. Every time you feel hunger pangs, take a few minutes to jot down what you’re feeling physically and emotionally. Over time, you’ll start to notice patterns in your hunger cues and learn how to better respond to them.
If you’re having trouble tuning in, functional medicine nutritionist Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS, recommends giving your brain a little bit of time to process hunger cues. “It takes about 15 minutes for the body to recognize food signals. Therefore, it’s best to take your time and eat slowly to allow your brain to catch up with your stomach,” she explains.
All that said, tuning back in to hunger cues can be challenging—even after implementing mindfulness practices. If you’re looking for additional support to complement your foundational metabolic health habits (i.e., nutrient-dense diet, healthy sleep habits, physical activity, proper hydration, stress management), a high-quality targeted supplement like mbg’s metabolism+ can help.