Do you sometimes feel nothing at all, then experience hunger extremes? Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Dalina Soto and Melissa Landry discuss Intuitive Eating Principle 2: Honor your Hunger. Learn how to get over the damage years of chronic dieting has done as they walk you through each of the 10 Intuitive Eating principles in more detail. In today’s episode we discuss:

  • Primal hunger: what is it?
  • The importance of carbs and eating enough
  • What does hunger even feel like?
  • How chronic dieting can mess up your hunger cues
  • How to get started exploring your hunger without judgement or guilt

This episode includes several practical takeaways for you to improve your ability to honor your hunger. Direct message Melissa or Dalina with what you learn from today’s exercises!

Episode Resources:

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Connect with Dalina on Instagram: @your.latina.nutritionist

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This episode was sponsored by No More Guilt with Melissa Landry. Reminder that though we are dietitians, we’re not *YOUR* dietitian. Podcasts don’t constitute treatment. If you have concerns about your dieting behaviors, seek out guidance from a medical or mental health professional. And if you’re looking for the process, support, and focus you need to live life without food guilt apply for a coaching program from today’s sponsor. No More Guilt with Melissa Landry is currently enrolling clients into 1:1 programs, group programs, and, recently added a do-it-yourself learning format: the Ex-Dieter’s Guide to No More Guilt.

[intuitive eating series] principle 2: honor your hunger transcript

Melissa Landry  0:04  
Hi there, we are experts in intuitive eating for on again off again chronic dieters, and we are here to help you take the guilt and stress out of eating so you can become the first in your family to break the diet cycle, just like we are in our families. We want you to be who you are without food guilt. Be sure to follow us on Instagram. No more guilt for Melissa and your Latina nutritionist for delina 
Dalina Soto  0:29  
Are you ready? Let's break the diet cycle. 
Melissa Landry  0:32  
Hey, it's me Melissa. Before we start, I want to let you know that this episode is brought to you by no more guilt with Melissa Landry. What you're about to listen to is not a professional coaching or counseling session. Each episode is a one time conversation meant for educational purposes. Look, we're dieticians. But we're not your dietician. Remember that podcasts don't constitute treatment. If you have concerns about your dieting behaviors, seek out guidance from a medical or mental health professional. And if you're looking for the process, support and focus you need to live life without food guilt apply for a coaching program from today's sponsor, me. I'm currently enrolling clients into one to one programs group programs and I recently added a do it yourself format the x dieters guide to no more guilt apply for a program at Melissa Landry nutrition calm. I hope to meet you soon. Hi there. We're back for intuitive eating principles episode number two, honor your hunger. I have some great notes for us today deleted. How are you feeling about this topic? 
Dalina Soto  1:32  
You know, I'm always ready to eat, and always ready to honor,
Melissa Landry  1:36  
you are
Dalina Soto  1:36  
ready for this.
Melissa Landry  1:38  
When we went to New York was more than a year ago now. We were getting ready for this conference. And Dalina and I were just like, okay, so like timeline on food. Where are we going? When are we having it? Pasta was discussed. I know that about you that you like to have a good food plan. I'm the same way.
Dalina Soto  1:56  
Well, listen, I'm not here for being hangry. 
Melissa Landry  1:59  
No. And we're going to talk about that hangry feeling dieters know it all too well, because diets tend to prescribe you less than what you physically need in order to trigger weight loss. And so we're going to talk about that experience when you're on a diet and how that can sometimes stick around with you when you're trying to heal from chronic dieting. We are going to cover three things today. Do let me know what you think. Because that intuitive eating book that chapter on hunger is meaty. I wanted to kind of pluck out the key stuff. So here's what I was thinking we could talk about today. One primal hunger. What that is, yeah, a few. What does hunger even feel like? I get that question a lot that people only know the extreme version or like not hungry at all, sometimes. So we'll talk about that. And then lastly, we're gonna talk about how to get started. So just some gentle tips you can incorporate to be in to get to know your hunger, things that Dalina and I do with our clients or a programs to help raise body awareness. What do you think too much or just enough?
Dalina Soto  3:02  
I think there's not enough. There's this.
Melissa Landry  3:05  
Oh, my God, she thinks that I'm sure it never happens. It's never happened. I won't shortchange you. I promise we're trying to right size this. Alright, so let's kick it off with this idea of primal hunger. I kind of heard this phrase I think the first time through the fuckit tie it talks a talks a lot about primal. She talks a lot about Carolyn dooner talks a lot about Primal Primal hunger in that book. I was aware of it as a concept. But that phrase I think, I might have I might have learned there. But I loved it because it talks about this like overriding this written code within our brain that says you are going to eat I will make you compelled to eat food if you are not giving me enough food and it is a survival technique. So one thing that I noticed happens a lot with chronic dieters is that the message that like, quote, carbs are bad, is woven into like almost every dieting program, I'd say in the 2000s and beyond. Like we saw the South Beach diet. We saw Atkins diet. Now, keto diet, and all of these diets has extreme restrictions on carbohydrates. I think it gets into the like, like guys that carbs are not something we should be consuming. And what I find with a lot of clients is like, they're just always looking for ways to eat less carbs, Always. Always.
Dalina Soto  4:29  
It's like fear factor. Number one. Honestly, it's like beyond me and I think my biggest peeve is when the medical world is so I don't even know what they're just, it's there's so like, gold in this like, anti food, anti fat in his retort that like, the first thing that they think about is like well If you cut carbs, then you'll lose weight. It's a band aid instead of an actual solution, right? Which is what pisses me off, I can't tell you how many to last come to work with me and tell me that their doctor told them to try keto without even talking to them without even asking them about their lifestyle. Like, they don't sit down and talk to anybody. So then we have doctors influencers, the media 103 billion books on keto.
Melissa Landry  5:29  
She recently counted, there's that many? pump, I just hate keto. That's it. Yeah, it's and, of course, have them off. I agree, it's extreme, it really dishonors the basic science of nutrition, which says that our body prefers glucose. Glucose is a sugar molecule, all carbohydrates, for the most part, will break down into this glucose or eventually be transformed into glucose. And our body likes it to be in a very tight range in our bloodstream at all times, because that's what the brain uses for fuel.
Dalina Soto  6:06  
Listen, we're breaking it down, you get some ATP out of this glucose and go so love it. 
Melissa Landry  6:12  
For those who did not take nutritional biochemistry with myself into Lina. ATP is the energy molecule,
Dalina Soto  6:18  
and they're de
Melissa Landry  6:20  
nerded. Out nerding out. So if you are consistently and strategically removing carbohydrates from your diet, maybe you're doing it in a crash way, maybe you're doing it a little bit over a long time, you will become hangry as Selena was calling it, and or you will experience primal hunger. And this is where I think a lot of people will say, I feel like I'm addicted to food to sugar, Primal hunger is no joke. It can feel like someone took over your brain because your brain body's going to like default mode. At that point.
Dalina Soto  6:56  
Yeah, it's like, if any of you are like 80s, babies like us, and you watch like Lizzie McGuire, it's like liberal Lizzy on the shoulder like turning into like a screaming.
Melissa Landry  7:08  
angry, like, there's that like, irritability that comes with it. And it's because we are not having our basic needs met. And so something to consider if you are someone who historically is like, I feel like I have food addiction, or, you know, this kind of happens to me a lot. Like I'm the kind of person who will not eat until six o'clock when days get busy. Really resist the urge to like beat yourself up. When you experience primal hunger. The analogy that's often used in the intuitive eating world is the view held your breath for a really long time. Your first breath would not be a delicate little sip, it would be a big old gasp. And that's what primal hunger is. So just to normalize that if it happens.
Dalina Soto  7:55  
Yeah. And I often say because then people like below meaning so much sugar and so many carbs. Do you really think Listen to me and listen to me very close, I'm close, I'm close to the speaker, your body's gonna want a kale smoothie, which told you that your brain, your central nervous system, your red blood cells, that they love glucose, if you haven't ate enough, and you're not getting enough, your body won't want to salad. It's gonna want the most sugary, carb, dense, amazing, delicious food that it can think of and there's vending machines everywhere, you're gonna go for that nothing to feel guilty over it is a survival response to it. 
Melissa Landry  8:40  
That being said, you might still feel guilt because you learn to feel guilt. So in future principles, we will walk you through how to work with that lingering guilt if it doesn't just go off like a light switch because we decided one day you were going to be an intuitive eater. 
Dalina Soto  8:54  
And also, like, we get hangry too sometimes it's like, it's not like something that you're never going to experience even after you're an intuitive eater like the goal is to be as prepared and practical as you know you can be but there's gonna be days where the day's gonna get away from you ships gonna hit the ceiling and you'll notice like, Oh crap, I haven't ate and I'm feeling hangry it's not the end of the world. But the goal is to try to minimize that feeling like you shouldn't go through life being hangry don't quote me on this. But I do you think that the reasons why women get called bitchy so much is because so many of them are walking around angry, little edge maybe they're going on. 
Melissa Landry  9:40  
And also also gender norm s that say anytime we say our opinion we are not dieting, everybody's dieting and a lot of women are Yeah. Well, I mean, I think you know, you're sort of like joking here. But like there's like also like that experience that people have where they're like no, my personality was fundamentally different when I was dieting or going through my eating disorder, and a lot of that can be from under fueling and the guilt and all of the emotional weight of what's happening. So, yeah, the key Minnesota starvation, and then sort of starvation study, do you want to give a little brief like highlight?
Dalina Soto  10:18  
Well, I'm just saying like they documented the effects that the undernourishment had on these men, physically and mentally. So when we think about, I always joke around, if you've taken one of my courses, or if you've like, worked with me, you know that I always joke around and say that, like, when we think I don't want to say cracking yourself up. I shouldn't laugh. But likeliterally everything those men were experiencing was so disordered, and it's literally what like mommy bloggers taught me It's insane. 
Melissa Landry  10:54  
Like, this is what we like, what people want to do. And it's like, no, this is documented in a starvation stuff. Tea. Right. Right. It is wild to me that that. I mean, it was that study was discontinued because of the harm it was doing. And it kind of happened what like the 40s or 50s, and just kind of got married. And anyway, as a whole, we can do a whole other episode on that someday. But what I want you to know listening is that as we jump into an intuitive eating journey, eating enough, is Principle number two, honor your hunger is Principle number two, because the pursuit of this puts you in a better position to use the other principles. And so one of the things that you might consider, you don't have to go through these principles in a linear way, but what are these things you might consider is applying permission to eat enough that if you sense hunger, in any of its kind of signals or forms that you have permission to eat when you feel those hungers? Which brings us to our next question, What does hunger even feel like? Have you ever had this happen with clients where they're like, I don't either it's like, level 10, panic mode hungry? Or I don't feel it at all? Do you find that a lot that people can't describe to you in the beginning what hunger feels like? 
Dalina Soto  12:14  
99% of the time, nobody knows what hunger feels like anymore? Unless it's like that grumbling sensation, and how often do we feel that rarely? 
Melissa Landry  12:24  
Yeah, what blows my mind is that I when I learned this, thinking about food, is a sign of hunger to wrap your head around that. And so for those of you who are obsessed obsessed with food, sometimes it's the the mental gymnastics of like, what should I eat? What should they What did I eat? What will I eat? Sometimes it's your brain actively conjuring up thoughts of foods so that you go that thoughts proceed behaviors, yeah, it has to happen. So it's trying your body's trying to get you to eat and so really opening yourself up that hunger can feel like thinking about food. salivation shakiness League,
Dalina Soto  13:06  
not concentrating, or like, like you're trying to type an email, and you can't even get the words across the screen. Distraction? Yeah,
Melissa Landry  13:14  
I think what's hard is the symptoms were describing. I didn't want to call it symptom because it's like pathologizing hunger, the experiences that we're describing, could also be other things. And so when you're a dieter, what I noticed can happen sometimes with people is they're like, Oh, that's inconvenient. If I'm hungry, I have to eat. And if I eat, then I'm going to go over and, quote, be bad. So maybe it's I can't be hungry, we deny that maybe it's thirst, maybe at like, maybe it's thirst, maybe it's something else. And we start to deny that it's even a possibility. intuitive eating does make space for different types of hunger. So one type of hunger would be called taste hunger. That's the hunger where you're just like, hmm, you know, I'm not physically  feeling the symptoms of hunger, but I am wanting the taste of something sweet. It makes space for practical hunger, which is planning ahead, based on how you might feel or how you felt in the past. And it makes space for emotional hunger, which is comfort food and soothing and all of these things can be honored in the framework. Yeah. What are your thoughts on the different types of hunger? delita? How do you see that showing up for your clients? 
Dalina Soto  14:32  
emotional hunger is my favorite to debunk and talk about because I have such a passion for nostalgia and food and emotional hunger to me is one of the most underrated types. Yeah, I agree. Because I often see in my clients, they'll, they'll tell me like, you know, we'll get into basically like, almost like emotional eating but really what I hear a lot of the time is I grab something mindlessly, and I sat down and I wasn't paying attention. And I always go to the same thing. And to me, it's like, well, why are you going to that there's a connection and nostalgia of feeling that you're trying to achieve a memory that's attached to that food, an emotion that's attached to that food. So when you're feeling crappy, you're going for that. And so it's about being curious and compassionate. And knowing that it's completely okay to have emotional hunger. Like, that's why we're humans, we have different parts of our brain, we have different needs. We're not just, you know, a mammal out in the wild, right? Like, we have different parts of the brain. That's what differentiates us, right? And food gives us comfort. And so there's nothing wrong with that emotional hunger. And then I think with practical hunger, this is where a lot of my tools get stuck, because they have such a hate relationship with meal planning. Anything they've done for dieting for so long. And so they're like, You're telling me to meal plan? And it's like,not in the way that diet?
Melissa Landry  16:07  
Yeah, yeah.
Dalina Soto  16:10  
The board write down a little menu for the week. And if it changes, it changes. But sometimes we do need to have that practicality of knowing ahead of time what you think you want to cook so that you're not you know, 6pm doesn't hit and you're like, crap. Now what? 
Melissa Landry  16:28  
Yeah, there are logistics involved, like Jr, to think about it more like home economics. Like we're just, we're just kind of doing a life skill here. People. Do people have homework. I like I think they like canceled it while I was in high school. Like I was about to be able to take the class and they canceled it. 
Dalina Soto  16:45  
That's exactly what happened. I remember that when my freshman year there was definitely homag. And then by the time it was my turn, it wasn't there anymore. 
Melissa Landry  16:53  
Is that why you hate to cook? No. Do you think that that's the origin story of your hatred of cooking,
Dalina Soto  16:58  
 just need us and Yoda to come cook for me some delicious just a sweets in your note, right? And then my mom's like, I'll do it. 
Melissa Landry  17:08  
Alright, well, we're gonna start a mute a movement for Selena to find some help to come and be with her and support her practical hunger planning means I rise? 
Dalina Soto  17:20  
Yes, every day.
So ultimately, the takeaway from from this discussion about the different types of hunger is that when we say honor your hunger, we don't just mean the physical, you may honor your hunger in whatever form it appears based on your internal cues. And over time in the future principals will discuss, you can hone and revise that so that it doesn't become a neat what you want free for all I know a lot of people are afraid of that we will talk about it today. But to start, you've got to trust the cues so that your body can trust you. It's very hard to do this. If you can't, a lot of times client Tell me clients will tell me that they never feel hungry. Or alternatively, they, they never let themselves feel hungry. So this shows up in two ways. So the people who never feel hungry, they don't eat a lot, but it never really appears. And there's other people were eating constantly, because they're afraid it will show up. They're afraid it's going to happen. And I think there's kind of multiple strategies you might use depending on what camp that you are in. But I want to normalize that dieting can often interrupt our signals in a very, it's it's you can unravel it, you can unlearn it, but it can feel very confusing when you just stop relying on external plans. And then you start going internally to your hunger cues, and then they're just not there. Or you're free to listen to them. Yeah,
yeah. I think this is when that like eating with connection and intent comes into play. It's like being curious, asking yourself, I think this is also a good place to talk about people filling up with like low calorie foods. So they're constantly eating, but they're still not getting enough because they're eating a lot of diet foods, right? So low calorie fiber one bars or whatever it is that they're they're doing to kind of like suppress the hunger throughout the day and then eventually backfires, right? Because that primal hunger eventually is like, oh, wait a second. And that usually happens in the evenings when you get home and you kind of relax or you're getting ready to cook dinner, but you find yourself for having a glass of wine and grabbing some chips, then getting some of this, some of that. And then by the time you sit down for dinner, you're like I have the kitchen. So you know, I think that it's definitely it's hard. It's hard to connect, when the world has told us so much that we shouldn't feel hunger that it's bad if you feel the hunger because we just told you to eat air.
Melissa Landry  19:54  
Right, right. Alright. Yeah. And that's a common source of fruit. That's a real pro tip from billionaires. There's a common source of frustration and clients were like, look I am eating. Yes, you're ingesting food, food is entering your body. But in terms of the energy that your body is asking for coming back around to those carbs, you know, if you're not consuming the right amount or profile, your body will ask for more. And I won't say this to have you start worrying about macros, nothing like that. I say this to say your body smarter than you. And if you don't give it what it needs, it will continue to knock on the door and say, Excuse me. Now I'd like the nutrition that I asked for in the first place. So it might not happen today. It might not happen tomorrow, but it will happen, it coming for you. If you never really feel hungry. That may be because you have learned to press the snooze button and silence body cues. This is common in folks with restrictive type eating disorders as well, where they have trained themselves to say oh, I feel it, ignore it. And so then eventually, the body may stop sending the signal over folks like that we work with you to develop practical hunger plans in the short term, while those cues come back. So there's definitely strategies around that to help. If you're someone who has like I had a client once she's like, I realized that I can't leave the house without like, a lot of food. I'll be on my way to dinner. And I'll eat like two granola bars because I'm afraid of getting hungry. It may be that there have been times where primal hunger in your past was so distressing to you. And it was so repeated, that now you have a fear or an aversion to even a little bit of that discomfort that comes when hunger arrives. So how do we get over that we eat more regularly, we speak more kindly, we create safety around the experience of hunger is another thing being deleted will do with clients, often over like a three month span, because that's often how long it takes to reconnect the wires or with this stuff. So definitely be patient about it. It takes time, it doesn't happen overnight. So this is meant to really normalize hunger, normalize extreme hunger as something that can happen and something that is built within you to protect you and keep you safe and strong and surviving. We talked a little bit about the different types of hunger paced, practical, emotional, and that those should be honored alongside physical hunger. And we talked about some difficulty sensing hunger, especially if you're a chronic diet or so with all of these many ideas that this principle offers, I think a call to action for this week might be simply to observe the sensations in your body, that you connect with hunger and not to judge them. So this week, everyone who's listening to this podcast, might make a note to simply observe their hunger. Notice how intense it is. Notice if it is pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. Notice, if you're thinking about food, try to get some data. And that will assist you and start to connect the dots and make some some decisions about how you want to approach food without diagnosis.
Dalina Soto  23:10  
Yes, and connect with your body. That sometimes that also helps take some time to breathe.
Melissa Landry  23:17  
A couple of my group members are saying that they're finding more success with this when they make a point to try to slow down. Nothing dramatic. But trying to slow down just a little bit, take a little bit of a beat. I have one client who like tries to set her phone aside just for a few moments, maybe not the whole meal. So think about the intention to observe it to connect with it. And a lot of times you get a little treasure trove of information. It's very empowering to be able to understand your body. We would love to hear how it's going out there you can feel free to dm Dalina or myself if you found anything interesting that you're working on. I think that's all we have for this hunger prints to honor your hunger principle. Any other Final Thoughts Dalina?
Dalina Soto  24:00  
Do we do? We do it justice. I think we did a great job. We love to applaud ourselves knowing a little bit. So that was today's episode. We love a review from you wherever you found this podcast, so that we can help other women like you looking to heal their relationship with food. Find our show. If you have a friend that you think would love this episode of maybe they're your hangry friend, maybe you want to teach them some tips. I don't know. let your friends know about our episodes and what we're doing here break the diet cycle. Until next time, thanks for being here with us and being who you are. Pure Love and to break the bad cycle.
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