Intuitive eating: listen to your body to optimize your metabolism

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More and more people are eating intuitively. This is, you probably guessed it, eating based on your intuition. In other words: listen carefully to the signals of your body. In this article you can read about the different hormones that let you know if it’s time to eat or if you’ve had enough.

Hunger

Hunger is a signal from your body that it needs energy. You can recognize this by a rumbling stomach, dizziness or a light-headed feeling. Hunger and the additional signals arise from a low blood sugar level, or when the energy supply falls below a certain level. Your body secretes hormones that go to your brain. When your brain senses these signals, it sends out hunger signals from the hypothalamus to get your attention.

When you heed these signals, the hunger signals decrease, the blood sugar level rises and your energy supply is replenished. Other parts of the hypothalamus register this and cause the physical desire for food to disappear. This is what you call saturation. Satiety is basically the absence of hunger.

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Hormones

Your body produces various hormones to let you know if it’s time to eat or if you’ve had enough. This is the process of hunger and satiety. These hormones are produced by your fat cells or digestive system.

Ghrelin

Ghrelin is a hormone that is made in the stomach lining. It stimulates the feeling of hunger, so that you start eating. When you then consume your meal, and the fat supply returns to the level for your body to be able to continue, the fat cells produce leptin.

Leptin

Leptin tells your brain you’ve had enough. Leptin also increases your energy expenditure.

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PPY

The hormone PPY is produced in your small intestine when food enters the small intestine. The amount
depends on the calorie count of your meal. Thanks to PPY, your appetite is inhibited.

CCK

The hormone CCK is also made in your small intestine and aids in the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. CCK inhibits your feeling of hunger and stimulates satiety. These three hormones help you feel that satiety in different ways. They are messengers that support your intuitive process.

Listening to your body

Healthy and intuitive eating is a form of taking care of your body with nutrients. It is always important that you enjoy your food and that your taste buds are satiated. Sometimes you can really feel like something because your body needs the nutrients in that product at that moment. For example, acidic products (pickles) in pregnant women.

So you do not ignore your own taste, pleasure and desires. What you will now learn is how your body feels after eating snacks, meals and food. It’s not just about taste, but also about how your body reacts to the food: the meal or the snack.

Reflection moment

Have you ever stopped to think about how meals come to you and what you feel before and after you eat? Now is the time to take some time for this and maybe you can write the answers down in a journal. During a meal, consider how the food makes your body feel:

  • How do you feel while you eat?
  • How does your body feel after meals?
  • Do you like that and would you like to do it again?
  • Are you satiated long enough?

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