H.A.L.T.

You may have seen this acronym used in those struggling with a substance use disorder, but what does HALT stand for? Each of the letters stands for a physical state that can leave a person more vulnerable to relapse: hungry, angry, lonely, tired.  However, HALT is really just about self-care. And these self-care principles carry over to many other areas of life, especially when trying to accomplish something difficult.

halt-is-all-about-self-care

Do you ever eat because you’re hungry but later realize you weren’t actually hungry?  Often when we have the urge to eat, there may be another need that is present. Use the HALT tool and the worksheet provided below to check in with the feeling and ask, “Am I?”:

 

Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?

When we’re busy and distracted, it’s hard to know what the body needs.  So slow down, take a moment, and H.A.L.T. 
Reflecting on what your body is telling you helps build the mind-body connection. The goal is mindfulness, curiosity, and compassionate self-care. 

Ask Yourself, Am I?

H: Hungry

 

Hunger comes in many forms.

  • Mind hunger: do I think I need to eat because my brain tells me it’s the “right” time of day to eat?
  • Eye hunger: did I just see a billboard with something delicious on it, and now I want that?
  • Mouth hunger: do I feel my mouth craving a particular flavor or texture?
  • Heart hunger: do I notice the longing in my heart center, and maybe it’s an emotional longing that’s present? Am I hungry for attention or companionship that I’m not getting?
  • Stomach hunger: is my stomach empty?  Perhaps the stomach is growling or nauseous?
  • Cell hunger: do I notice my body asking for nourishment?  If we crave protein, for example, it may indicate the cells are hungry for more protein.
  • Am I just bored?

~Take the time to analyze if you are physically hungry or comes from a different place. Strengthen ties to family and friends by encouraging communications and outreach, so they will be there when you need them.

Fundamental principle: honor your hunger.

 

What are some ideas for meeting this need with gentleness, curiosity, and self-compassion?

Ask Yourself, Am I?

A: Angry (or anxious)

  • Anger is a hot emotion and often high energy.
  • Anxiety is also high-energy.  Can lead to a sense of urgency or compulsivity.
  • Anger can play again and again in our heads and become resentment.

~Take the time to analyze if you are physically hungry or comes from a different place. Strengthen ties to family and friends by encouraging communications and outreach, so they will be there when you need them.

Fundamental principle: honor your hunger.

 

What are some ideas for meeting this need with gentleness, curiosity, and self-compassion?
hungry-angry-lonely-tired

Ask Yourself, Am I?

L: Lonely

  • Loneliness can happen even if we’re around others.  It depends on whether you feel connected, not if people surround you.  Feeling lonely is a signal that we crave more connection.
  • Connection is when we speak with a friend or loved one, but we may still feel lonely if they don’t “get” us.
  • We can share a connection in other ways too. For example, you can connect with nature, music, a pet, or through a spiritual connection.

~Take a look at your situation. Have you been isolating yourself? We live in a time where that is not only easy to do, but safe. However, loneliness can also point to a difficulty in reaching out.  Is this you? Has isolation become too much of a habit? Isolation can lead to depression or be a sign of depression. If loneliness seems to be your constant state, you should probably see a counselor.

Fundamental principle: loneliness is a signal you are craving more connection.

 

What are some ideas for how I might meet this need with gentleness, curiosity, and self-compassion?

Ask Yourself, Am I?

T: Tired

If we’re tired, it’s natural to want more energy, and often we assume that stamina can come through food. However, tiredness does goofy things to our hunger/fullness cues, so it’s essential to tune in to this to determine what need is present.

  • Tiredness can be body fatigue, emotional depletion, and mental exhaustion.
  • Body fatigue means we need rest and sleep.
  • Emotional depletion may mean we need something restorative like time in nature, play, non-productive time, solitude, or fun with friends.

~Tiredness can also evolve from taking on too much.  Eventually, you become overwhelmed and overloaded and in a constant state of fatigue. Unfortunately, many of us have been in this state.

Fundamental principle: Honor your need to rest and restore.

 

What are some ideas for how I might meet this need with gentleness, curiosity, and self-compassion?

HALT is about taking care of yourself and not letting yourself get too depleted. It also asks you to focus on the specific area you may be coming up short. Is it really hungry, and what type of hunger. Or could it be anger, loneliness or tired? Don’t use one solution to solve another.

By using the self-care principles of HALT, you can become more self-aware of what you are doing and why you are eating. This can help tremendously on your journey of discovery towards the goal of intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is all about being in tune with your body and what it needs! We have included a worksheet to help you get started on this. Hopefully, it can help you build awareness through reflection.

By honoring your hunger, feeling your fullness, and coping with your emotions, you will be well on your way.

 

HALT pdf downloadable worksheet

Click the photo above or here: HALT for the pdf worksheet.  If you would like to learn more about HALT or intuitive eating, contact us and meet with one of our intuitive eating nutritionists.

We hope this article helped you understand how being in touch with your emotions can help you honor your body in a multitude of ways.  You may also want to see our article on 12 Reasons Why Intuitive Eating is Harder than it Sounds.  

If you’re interested, you can also read about one client’s journey in My Intuitive Eating Journey.

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Contact the author Lynae Smith, to take the next step in your food journey

Ruby Health and Wellness