What kind of relationship do you have with your hunger?
Are you aware of feeling hungry?
Where do you feel it in your body?
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = empty and 10 = filled to bursting), how hungry do you let yourself grow before you eat?
Do you make a decision to eat based on body sensations of hunger, or based on the clock (it’s 6:00 so it’s dinner time), or based on the fact that your coworker left cupcakes by the coffeemaker?
How does it feel to be hungry? You may never have thought about this before, but I urge you to take some time to pay attention and explore this. Some people start to feel a little panicky when they get hungry. Some people block it out and aren’t even very aware of feeling hungry until their hunger feels enormous. Some people even get angry with themselves when they are hungry.
It’s incredibly important to pay attention to our hunger and the signals we are getting from our bodies. Many of us could get better at that. However, paying attention is only the first step. The second step is making a decision about how to respond to our hunger. Emotional eaters tend to feed hunger as well as emotions with food rather automatically—without giving it much conscious thought.
Consider this—often our responses to our hungers (both physical and emotional hungers) are learned in the family we grew up in. These responses are so automatic that we might not even realize that there is another way to approaching times when we feel hungry. What would happen if you got curious about your hunger? If you took a step back and observed it, if you didn’t respond the way you normally do and allowed yourself to observe what that was like?
Here are some ideas:
Note your hunger patterns. If you normally wait until you are about a “5” on the hunger scale before eating, what would happen if you waited until you felt more like your hunger was a “4”? How long would it take? Would that be uncomfortable? Would it bring up emotions or concerns?
If you normally eat until you are a “9” (very full), what would happen if you stopped at “7” and waited 30 minutes to see how you felt? What if you tried stopping at “7” all week?
Are you someone who goes from extremes of “starving” to feeling way too full? What if you made a commitment this week never to let your hunger get below a 3 or a 4 on the scale?
Remember—these are not dieting challenges or tricks. These are techniques for being curious about your hunger and observing and listening to your body.
Take good care,