When it comes to fuelling your body’s true energy requirements, “listening to your hunger cues” isn’t always the best answer. Similarly to how the sympathetic nervous system activation from a soul crushing workout shuts down your immediate hunger response, attunement disrupters in your daily life can also interfere with the gut-brain axis.
An attunement disrupter is anything that interferes with your ability to hear and respond to the needs of your body in a timely manner.
Disrupters include distractions, thoughts, rules, beliefs and a lack of self-care.
Adequate self-care is a critical foundation to intuitive eating. When you are in the throes of stress (whether it's negative body image thoughts, work deadlines, a sick family member, an urgent call from a friend) your body’s biological fight-or-flight system is activated. Your blood flow is diverted away from the digestive system and shunted to your extremities to prepare you for a fight-or-flight scenario - resulting in a lack of hunger cues. Biologically, using energy to digest the food in the stomach will just slow you down if you are trying to outrun a bear, so it makes sense that your body shuts down this process during a stressful event. This is like having a broken gas gauge on your car which always indicates a full gas tank. It might say it is full, but you still need to put gas in your tank. Your rational mind overrides the gas gauge indicator. You must make note of how far you drive and get gas when you know you are running low. Similarly, if you do not experience hunger cues, you need to call upon your rational thought to keep yourself nourished.
This might seem like it goes against the intuitive eating protocol of listening to your body, but in situations where your hunger cues are offline, it is really a type of self-care in the form of nourishment.