Need, want, or should?

You need to eat. You know, to keep your body alive, and stuff.

But often we don’t need to eat. We want to eat. We feel like we should eat.

Our bodies’ natural hunger and fullness signals can get drowned out by “noise” from:

  1. What we feel.
    “It’s been a tough day. I’ve earned some pizza and beer. Danger pay, right?”
  2. What’s around us.
    “Damn, that steak smells good!”
  3. What we think.
    “It’s 1 pm. I’m not really hungry, but I should eat. I mean, it is lunch time.”
  4. What other people think or want.
    “Another helping? Well I shouldn’t… ah, what the hell.”

If you’ve ever been in military or police training, you’ll know: You have to learn to tell noise (misleading, distracting, and/or useless crap) from signal (important information).

A lot of input is coming at you and you need to filter it.

You don’t want to be blowing away civilians or freaking out when things get hairy.

Image result for army training

Hear signals, ignore noise

Tune in to signals — meaningful information from your body.

Notice (observe) and name (describe) when you’re distracted by “noise” — other messages that tell you that you should or want to eat.

Tip! When you use or hear the word “should”, that’s probably noise. It applies to the rest of your life, too!

What to notice and name

Here are some things that you can notice and name.

Image result for feelings and thoughts


  • What you’re feeling, physically (e.g. shaky, lightheaded, tense)
  • What you’re feeling, emotionally (e.g. pissed off, relaxed, “hangry” — hungry plus angry)
  • What you’re thinking (e.g. “I can’t pass up this cake! It reminds me of Grandma!”)


  • What situations make it easier or harder to eat slowly, or eat to 80% full
  • What foods make it easier or harder to eat slowly, or eat to 80% full
  • What environments make it easier or harder to eat slowly, or eat to 80% full

Right now, just notice and name. Don’t judge or feel like you have to “fix” anything.

When we notice and name, we gain control back.

Awareness leads to change. We prevent bad decisions before they happen.

Do more of what’s already working


Notice and name especially what and when things are easier or better, even just a little bit.

  • In what situations is it easier to eat slowly, and/or to eat to 80% full?
  • What is it about those situations that makes this easier?
  • How could you get or do more of that?

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