How to find your 'happetite'

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How would you describe your relationship with your appetite? I talk about appetite a lot with dancers, mainly because it’s very often seen as something confusing, something to “overcome” or something with which we battle. One of the most common ways we can understand appetite is as the feeling of wanting or needing something and, in the context of eating, the feeling of wanting or needing food. We might also think about it as the extent to which our bodies signal hunger and fullness which naturally occurs on a spectrum from most hungry to most full.

The truth is, in our modern diet culture we have an unusual preoccupation with trying to override these natural signals, mostly unsuccessfully because the body is pretty clever -- it knows when you’re trying to trick it and will try to fight back. An example of this might be someone imposing food or eating rules on themselves in an effort to change their body shape, and not paying attention to the body’s need for energy (through food). One of a few things then tends to happen: 1. “break the rule” and end up over-eating; 2. get way too hungry and end up eating really quickly, and miss the signal for “please stop eating now”; or 3. get tired and run out of energy. None of these are particularly helpful for dancers, especially in the long run.

This is an extract from the full article by nutritionist Fiona Sutherland, nutrition consultant and yoga teacher at Body Positive Australia and The Mindful Dietitian. Read the full article in the current issue (June/July/August) of 'Dance Australia', available at your favourite dance store or online here. Meanwhile, here are some tips to help you tune into your appetite.

1. Do one thing at a time

Aim to eat without too much distraction, such as  TV, phone, while driving..

2. Slow down

Enjoy the pleasure of tasting your food by eating more slowly. Savour the flavours and textures of your meal, and take the time to enjoy it!

3. Tune in

Get curious, and learn about what your own unique body signals feel like. When you’re getting hungry, how do you know? What is it that you’re feeling in your body that tells you that you’re needing fuel?

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