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Intuitive Eating Principles for Runners: Feel Your Fullness and Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

In a world that often bombards us with diets and food rules, it's easy to overlook the innate wisdom of our bodies.


Intuitive Eating shifts the focus from external guidance to internal signals. In this blog, we'll explore Principles 5 and 6 – Feel Your Fullness and Discover the Satisfaction Factor – important tools for enhancing your running experience and cultivating a healthier relationship with food.

enjoying a meal

Principle 5: Feel Your Fullness

In the busy world of running and adulting, it's easy to get caught up in the rhythm of your strides and forget to listen to your body's cues. However, recognizing the feeling of fullness is a crucial aspect of Intuitive Eating that can greatly benefit runners.


Principle 5 encourages us to become more attuned to our body's satiety signals during meals. It's about slowing down, savoring each bite, and honoring the point where our body signals that it has had enough.


If you've been in a dieting mindset, the feeling of fullness may be a bit foreign to you and may even feel uncomfortable in a way, but it's important to remember that fullness is a good thing.


Tuning into Your Body's Fullness Signals

Runners are no strangers to discipline and pushing their limits, so it's no surprise that many are also rigid with their eating habits and often too restrictive. Feeling your fullness isn't about restriction or deprivation; it's about reconnecting with your body's cues and supporting its needs, which ultimately supports your health and performance.


Here are some strategies to help you tune into your body's fullness signals:

  1. Pause During Meals: Take breaks while eating to assess how satisfied you are. Put your utensils down, take a breath, and gauge your hunger level.

  2. Rate Your Fullness: Develop a scale to rate your fullness, with 1 being overly hungry and 10 being overly full. Aim to eat until you're comfortably around a 7 or 8 on this scale.

  3. Mindful Eating: Engage in mindful eating practices by focusing on the taste, texture, and experience of each bite. This helps you stay present and recognize when your body has had enough.

Benefits of Feeling Fullness

Feeling your fullness isn't just about preventing overeating; it's also about honoring your body's needs and enhancing your overall well-being. Here's why recognizing fullness is so crucial for runners:

  1. Digestive Comfort: Eating until you're comfortably full can prevent the discomfort and sluggishness that comes with overeating; it can also help prevent under-eating and feeling sluggish from the lack of energy. This is especially important before a run or workout.

  2. Energy Regulation: Paying attention to fullness cues ensures that you're adequately fueling your body for both your workouts and recovery.

  3. Balanced Nutrition: Feeling fullness helps you strike a balance between enjoying your food and adequate consumption, which is key to maintaining a well-rounded and nutritious diet.

  4. Long-Term Success: Learning to listen to your body's signals fosters a sustainable and balanced approach to eating. This is essential for achieving long-term success in both your running journey and your relationship with food.

By mastering the art of feeling fullness, you empower yourself to make conscious choices that align with your body's needs. This can lead to improved energy levels, better performance, and a more harmonious relationship with food.


Principle 6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Let's talk about something that should make your taste buds tingle and your heart smile – the magic of satisfaction. Principle 6 of Intuitive Eating nudges us to explore the art of discovering what truly satisfies us, both physically and emotionally.


It's about finding foods that not only fill your belly but also light up your soul.


The Pleasure Principle

Think back to the times you savored a bite of your favorite meal or a treat you absolutely adore. That joy, that spark – that's what discovering the satisfaction factor is all about. It's a celebration of your body and a nod to the little joys that food brings into our lives.


In a world often clouded by dietary dogma, it's easy to forget that food isn't just fuel – it's a source of pleasure and connection. So, how can you make satisfaction your guiding star?

Choosing Foods That Spark Joy

When it comes to running, you meticulously plan your training routes and gear. It's time to give that same attention to your food choices. Here's how to uncover the satisfaction factor:

  1. Mindful Selection: As you choose what to eat, ask yourself, "Do I like this food? Do I want to eat it?" Opt for foods that you actually enjoy, rather that the ones you think you "should" be eating.

  2. Variety Matters: Embrace the vibrant world of foods. From crunchy veggies to creamy nut butters, explore textures, colors, and flavors. This not only offers a variety of nutrients, but can also promote overall satisfaction with a meal.

  3. No Guilt Allowed: Banish the guilt – it has no place at the table. Savor your choices without the weight of judgment.

The Magic of Mindful Indulgence

Ever heard of savoring the moment? Well, it applies to food too. Mindful indulgence is about relishing treats without a hint of guilt. It's enjoying that slice of cake without a side of regret. It's about being present and just enjoying it for what it is.


Benefits Beyond the Plate

Discovering the satisfaction factor goes beyond mere taste. Here's why it's a game-changer:

  • Emotional Nourishment: When you choose foods that satisfy both your body and soul, you're nurturing your emotional well-being too.

  • Craving Control: Honoring your cravings and enjoying your favorites can actually help reduce the intensity of those "off-limits" food obsessions.

  • Sustainable Enjoyment: A satisfying meal leaves you content and less likely to graze mindlessly later on.

This is especially important for runners. A lot of time, runners will skip post-run fueling because they don't feel hungry only to find themselves completely overdoing it later in the day.


Balancing Satisfaction and Fullness

Principle 5 and 6 are like best buddies – they balance each other out. Feeling your fullness doesn't mean denying yourself pleasure. In fact, they work in harmony.


The Joyful Conclusion

So, fellow runners, Principle 6 urges you to embrace the joy in eating. It's about savoring every bite, nourishing your body, and delighting your senses. By seeking out satisfaction, you're finding a balance that fuels your runs and fuels your life and happiness. Now, isn't that a path worth exploring?


Integrating Principles 5 and 6: A Balanced Approach to Intuitive Eating for Runners

Now, it's time to weave these principles into your running journey in a way that empowers both your strides and your relationship with food.


Finding Your Unique Balance

Principle 5: Feel Your Fullness and Principle 6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor are like a dynamic duo, working together to create a symphony of intuitive eating. They harmonize to help you achieve a balanced, nurturing approach to your nutrition – one that fuels your runs and leaves you feeling satisfied, both physically and emotionally.


Putting It All into Practice

  1. Pre-Run Check-In: Before you lace up those running shoes, check in with your fueling. When did you last eat? Do you feel hungry? If not, does your practical hunger tell you that you could use a boost of fuel before heading out?

  2. Post-Run Refuel: After a run, pay attention to your body's signals, but remember that it's important to refuel no matter what. Skipping this step could lead to overeating later in the day, slow recovery, and sluggishness.

  3. Mindful Indulgence: When indulging in treats, practice mindful indulgence. Savor each bite, and let go of any guilt. The pleasure of the experience is part of nurturing your well-being.

  4. Variety and Enjoyment: Embrace the spectrum of flavors and textures in your meals. Incorporate foods that genuinely satisfy your taste buds while offering nutritional value.

  5. Balanced Choices: Use the scales of fullness and satisfaction as your guide. Aim to finish your meals comfortably full and genuinely satisfied.

Your Running Journey, Your Intuitive Eating Adventure

Integrating Principles 5 and 6 into your life as a runner isn't about following strict rules or adhering to someone else's blueprint. It's about crafting your unique journey, one where you run with joy, nourish with intention, and cultivate a harmonious relationship with food.


Recap: Feel Your Fullness and Discover the Satisfaction Factor

Principle 5 urges you to reconnect with your body's fullness signals. It's a reminder to pause, assess, and honor when your body says it's had enough. Principle 6, on the other hand, invites you to celebrate the joy of eating and to seek out foods that satisfy not only your taste buds but also your soul. These principles don't just stand alone – they're a powerful duo that promotes balance, energy, and well-being.


By embracing Principles 5 and 6 of Intuitive Eating, you're not only becoming a better runner but also nurturing a healthier, happier you. So, let your runs and your meals become a celebration of your body's wisdom – a journey towards balance and well-being.


FAQs

Can practicing satisfaction and fullness really benefit my running performance?

Absolutely! Tuning into your body's signals helps ensure you're adequately fueled for your runs while preventing the discomfort of overeating. Discovering satisfaction enhances your relationship with food and can contribute to a more positive mindset, which can ultimately improve your performance.


I often feel guilty when indulging in treats. How can I overcome this feeling?

Mindful indulgence is key here. Treats are a part of life, and enjoying them without guilt is essential for your emotional well-being. Remember, a balanced approach includes both nourishing and indulgent foods. Over time, treats will become less of a big deal and just a part of your overall intuitive, balanced life.


What if I'm unsure about what foods satisfy me?

So often, we choose foods because we think we should, and we've been doing so for years. This can make it difficult to know what foods we ACTUALLY find satisfying. Exploring different foods and flavors is part of the adventure. Listen to your body's reactions and be open to trying new things. Over time, you'll become more attuned to what truly satisfies you.


Can I apply these principles to my everyday meals, even when I'm not running?

Absolutely! Intuitive Eating is a lifestyle that extends beyond your running sessions. Practicing fullness and seeking satisfaction can enhance your overall relationship with food and promote well-being in all aspects of life.


Let's work together!


If any of this has resonated with you, I'd love to hear! My 1:1 clients work on various areas of nutrition including this and other intuitive eating principles, fueling for performance, and more. Check out some of the ways we can work together here.


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