Anticipating your body's needs on a consistent basis can save you from hunger as well as overeating.

Anticipating life’s moments can save you from hunger or overeating down the road.  Get practical with a few of these helpful tips.


“Eat when you’re hungry.”

“Listen to your body.”

“Feed your body what it’s craving.”

You’ve likely heard these sayings in the past year as intuitive and mindful eating has been garnering attention. But the idea of always listening to your body may be overwhelming for some.

What if I know I’m going to be stuck in a meeting past lunchtime, or I have an event to go to that’s right in the middle of dinnertime?

What if my body isn’t giving me a straightforward answer of what it wants?

This is where being practical needs to come in. Intuitive eating and listening to your body is awesome, but it may not take life into consideration. You may typically eat intuitively only when you’re hungry and fuel your body with what it’s craving. However, there are times when we may need to embrace life circumstances and eat even when you may not feel ready for it.

Go ahead, and embrace that ‘practical hunger’.

Practical hunger is when you’re not necessarily biologically hungry. However, you know that if you don’t eat now, you will be overly hungry when the timing isn’t right.

Here are a few examples:

  • Eat a light dinner even though it’s not dinnertime, but you won’t have another opportunity to eat until later in the evening.
  • You know you’ll be stuck in a meeting from 12-2pm, so you eat a snack beforehand to keep you focused and on task until you can break for lunch.
  • You’re feeling sick and nothing sounds good, but you know you need a little something in your stomach and to stay hydrated to start feeling better.

These are all situations where practical hunger come into play, and you must be attuned with your body and figure out what will work best for you in that moment. It’s about tuning in and knowing how best to handle life situations so you don’t get ‘hangry’, ravenously overeat past your satisfaction point, and aren’t able to enjoy your meal.

Practical hunger is preparing yourself for success so you can still nourish your body effectively even though it may be at a time or in a situation where you wouldn’t normally. Whether that be having a light meal or packing a snack, you have to find a way to deal with your hunger that works best for you and your body.

And just like that, being practical simply becomes…intuitive.

Adapted from the original article.

Emily Holdorf, MS, RDN is a Charlotte, NC-based private practice dietitian on a mission to empower others to live a healthier, happier life.  By emphasizing a non-diet approach to eating, Emily helps individuals form a better relationship with food by focusing on why there’s room for every food in moderation. Find out more about about Emily at EmPowered Nutrition.