When was the last time you let yourself sit with a little discomfort?
Hunger is an interesting concept that provokes a lot of thought.
Our nutrition group talks often about mindful and intuitive eating, slowing down and tuning into hunger/fullness cues, so we thought it would be worth touching on it this topic again this week! Especially as we approach a time of year when hunger become even more rare with the plethora of parties, celebrations, and festivities of the season!
We want to preface this by saying that we by no means suggest that you should be experiencing hunger for long periods of time or that you should ignore your hunger cues. That’s definitely not the point here! But we do believe that it is both healthy and beneficial to feel hunger on occasion. Especially if you are working towards more intuitive eating! If we don’t allow our bodies the opportunity to experience hunger, it’s really difficult to learn what our true physical hunger cues feel like and then distinguish between that physical hunger and emotional hunger.
Physical Hunger: develops gradually, is located in the stomach, is satisfied by almost any food, and is satisfied once you are at 80% full.
Emotional Hunger: Happens suddenly and feels urgent, is a thought you can’t get out of your head, forces you to crave certain (often unhealthy) foods, and isn’t satisfied until you are uncomfortably full
If you can get familiar with what hunger feels like and pay close attention to those cues and sensations, then you can start to develop an intuitive, accurate, and built in way to judge how much fuel your own body needs! You don’t need to track your intake or count calories, you have a built in system that will let you know how much food your body actually needs to feel great, perform well and thrive! And that’s a pretty empowering feeling!
Now if you aren’t super comfortable with hunger, learning how to respond to it is important. At first it might feel uncomfortable but remember, hunger is not an emergency! Especially when you know that food is near. Feeling hunger is not your body’s desperate plea for food right this minute. We live in a world where food is plentiful. A world where we’ve become used to instant gratification. Where we don’t often have to wait. A world where our needs are met quite quickly and where we usually don’t need to be uncomfortable for very long.
So working towards being okay with a bit of discomfort can be challenging. But it can also be an important part of learning and growing. And when it comes to moving towards mindful, intuitive eating it can be an incredibly valuable tool!
We would love to hear your thoughts and questions about this!
Come and chat with one of our nutrition coaches. We’d love to hear from you!