You don’t need to learn portion control

You need to learn to listen to your body, which has a portion control feature already built in.

They’re called hunger hormones, and they’re truly amazing. When your body needs fuel, a hormone called ghrelin will alert you: time to eat! So you eat. Then, a second hormone called leptin will inform you when you are sated: time to stop eating! So you stop to stop binge eating

Boom. Portion control, straight from the source.

But an emphasis on thinness, rather than health, throughout the 20th century has led generations of people to ignore these hormones, and the ramifications are truly life-altering. (And a major source of income to portion-control peddlers like 21-Day Fix and Weight Watchers. But that’s a rant for another day.)

When you restrict your food intake because a diet told you to do so, your body begins to produce more ghrelin. That feeling of always being hungry? It’s real. It’s because your ghrelin and leptin levels are out of whack. Your ghrelin is always pumping, and your leptin is never satisfied. They think you’re stuck in a desert or a famine or a forest or something! They’re just trying to help you find as much food as you can because WHO EVEN KNOWS when you’ll locate your next food source!

Well. You aren’t in a desert or famine or forest, and I know what will happen when you find your next food source: a massive binge.

The more you buy into marketed portion control, the further you move away from thinking for yourself (“do I even WANT these 100-calorie Oreos that taste like cardboard?”) and listening to your hunger hormones (“My stomach is growling but I’m not allowed to eat any more for the day.”)

how to stop binge eating
16 oz. is less than half a liter, for the record.

Yes, portions have gotten larger over the years, from the drinks we buy to the dishes we order in restaurants to the plates we eat off of at home. But if we weren’t socialized to depend on external cues, rather than internal cues, to direct our eating, it wouldn’t make such a profound difference. When our hunger hormones are allowed to do their jobs properly, “I am full” is more powerful than “There’s still food on my plate.”

The way to stop binge eating is to listen to what your body wants, and honor it. Your hunger will change from day to day, depending on how active you’ve been or how you slept or where you are in your menstrual cycle or what virus your body is quietly fighting off or any number of other factors. You can’t know. You just have to listen.

6 Comments Add yours

    1. Thank you, Jo! So appreciate your support. I remember a time when I thought I would never, ever feel full and this all seemed to good to be true. Thank goodness for our bodies’ forgiveness! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. conflictedhealth says:

    Sometimes its hard for me to listen to my hunger hormones but protein and veggies seem to help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true…I didn’t even know I had hunger hormones until after recovering from binge eating! I could eat a beautiful plate of meat and vegetables and STILL eat a whole cake afterwards. There really is a way out for everyone who struggles with this, and I’m so glad you found what works for you! Thanks so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really good thing to know especially when trying to find peace in intuitive eating. It pairs well with a book I’m reading right now called Brain Over Binge (the recovery guide edition) by Kathryn Hansen. Review coming in a few weeks!


    1. Oh awesome, I haven’t read that one! Looking forward to hearing more!

      Liked by 1 person

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