There has always been a part of me that has been very interested in the science of hunger. I have always sought to understand why we feel hungry, and why our body sometimes makes us feel like we are starving. For those of us who struggle with weight loss, it can be a constant struggle to keep our appetite in check and our body from over-eating. There is some science to help us understand our hunger.
Dear Food Bloggers, I don’t know how many of you have had that moment when you suddenly realize that you are starving, and you can’t seem to figure out why.
The type of hunger we are talking about is not straightforward. It is not an immediate response to a lack of food. It usually comes later in a 24-hour period, and it can happen even though you’ve eaten a lot of food. It tends to follow a pattern, and it can be very intense, with many people experiencing it for the entire time they are trying to lose weight.
What if you “feel hungry” but are really feeling a completely other emotion? Continue reading to learn more about this phenomena and a dozen methods for coping with “strange hunger.”
Have you ever felt hungry… But you’re not really hungry?
You feel as though you’ve just completed a huge dinner, yet something within you screams, “Dessert!” Or you’re eating something that doesn’t taste all that great, yet you’re still there… It’s there… And, as they say, love the one you’re with if you can’t be with the one you love.
Yes, I’m one of them. What’s the deal with that?
There are a variety of causes for overeating, which I describe as eating more than our bodies need. One factor, which I’m sure many of you are aware of, is emotion.
Many of us are aware that we eat when we are upset or pleased, or when we have had a particularly difficult day at work. But what about the less apparent aspects of the situation?
When we find ourselves overeating for no apparent reason? When our typical overeating excuses simply don’t cut it?
That’s when you need to delve deeper and figure out what’s going on. Because emotions may be fickle. We feel them all throughout our bodies, sometimes in unexpected areas. Our stomachs, for example. And it’s all too easy to confuse these feelings for hunger.
My encounter with unexplained hunger
I had an unusual encounter recently. I had just completed my second meal of the day, which was delicious, but I was still hungry. Like was desperate for food.
My left brain had had enough at this point. Macronutrients were precisely balanced, portions were excellent, protein and vegetables were nailed, and so on.
Is it possible to use your right brain? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT
For a few minutes, I sat with it. It felt like a gnawing hole in the center of my stomach. It seemed like though I was starving. This, however, could not be the case. Logically.
“OK, let’s take 5 minutes and dive down this rabbit hole,” I said. I sat down and got to work. What was it that I was feeling? What part of my body was I experiencing it in?
Then I realized that I wasn’t hungry at all… I was in a foul mood.
That’s correct, I was enraged!! I continued concentrating on the location in my body where I was experiencing this feeling.
(Important: Kids, please try this at home.) When you’re experiencing a jumble of emotions, dive deep and figure out what you’re actually feeling. Then pay attention to where you’re experiencing it in your body. But don’t be in a hurry. Body cues may take a long time to manifest. Please take your time.)
My teeth were clenched and my jaw was clenched. My brow furrowed in concentration. My stomach was grumbling as well. I was enraged… IN MY BELLY BELLY BELLY BELLY BELLY BELLY
So I said to myself, “OK, what’s the deal?”
I worked backwards, utilizing a technique called “Break the Chain” that we teach in the PN Coaching Program. You think that eating is simply the final link in a chain that extends back into your history with this activity.
You may be hungry right now, yet you may have forgotten about a delicious-smelling bakery 15 minutes ago. Or maybe something traumatic occurred this morning.
So, moving backwards along my sequence of events, I began asking questions one by one. What exactly was I doing right now? What the hell was I thinking? What was I doing?
Ah! I figured it out. This is the cause of my rage.
I had just finished reading about a big strong man who set his daily calorie intake for fat reduction at 2500. His FAT LOSS calorie consumption is 2500 per day. 2500 calories per day is epic nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom The city of weight growth.
And fat was just falling off him. $&%*!!
At that moment, I understood I was upset for two reasons (read this out in your most irritable baby voice):
- This is TERRIBLY UNFAIR! Wah! Oh, how I pity myself!
- I’m obligated to consume these rabbit servings! Oh, no! That’s awful!
Then I understood why I was angry: these two events appeared to go against two of my core values:
- liberty (and independence)
So I wasn’t hungry at all. I was enraged because I believed my two “Fs” were being jeopardized. (Fortunately, my other F-word, feminism, was spared.) Ha!)
So, what’s next? So, I allowed myself five minutes to go really insane in my body.
(Again, don’t overlook the significance of this.) Emotions are mainly messages sent by the body. So experience things in your body rather than overthinking them in your head. Teeth grit Make grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Face squint. It will take whatever it takes.)
After my five minutes were over, I let out a scream of rage and let it drift away. Out of my mouth and throat. It came out of my chest.
As quickly as it had come, the hunger had gone. And a lesson was learnt as a result.
What to do about unexplained hunger
If you ever have unexplained hunger, here are some suggestions to help you cope with it:
- Start by presuming that some idea, belief, or emotion is at work, even if you don’t know what it is.
- Look for emotional triggers in your body. “Scan” your whole body from head to toe, noting any signs or physical sensations.
- Only look around. Don’t overthink things. You’re collecting information right now.
- Wait. Don’t provide a hasty explanation, such as “Oh, it must be my mother’s problems because blah blah blah” or “Oh, it must be because I had no protein and just 20 g of carbohydrates.” It’s your brain if the solution comes to you fast. Your body’s messages are sluggish and silent. You’ll have to wait. At the very least, 30 seconds; preferably, 60 seconds.
- Keep in mind that emotions may mimic hunger. Yes, it’s strange. But so is an elephant’s trunk, and both are made possible by Mother Nature.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself or hurry to make a decision based on your emotions. Allow them to arrive, even if they seem to be idiots. Simply stand back a bit and watch, as if you were an anthropological with a clipboard.
- If you’re having a bad day, consider how your current circumstance relates to a perceived threat to your own identity and beliefs. “Oh, OK, that sounds significant to you?” ask yourself nicely and conversationally. Why?”
- When you receive a response (which may take a while since the body is sluggish), ask some additional questions. “What is it all about?” says the narrator. What is the significance of that?” Continue to inquire, then wait and see the body’s reaction. It’s like a game of growing warmer and then going colder. “Is this it? No, no, no. Is that the case? Yes, it seems to be more significant.”
- Allow yourself a few moments to feel whatever feelings you’re feeling. If necessary, check your watch and set aside 5 minutes for this job. Ignoring emotions, unlike houseplants, does not make them go away. You should probably turn around and face them. For a few minutes, roll about in the dirt with your emotions. Cry if you’re sad. Chomp your jaw and roar like a pissed-off baboon if you’re furious. Run around in circles like Homer Simpson if you’re nervous.
- More hints may be found by working backwards along the “chain.” What were you doing before you became aware of this? Who was with you at the time? What was going on? What if we go back an hour? What time was it this morning?
- Take ten slow, deep breaths. Exhale slowly for 5 counts. Attempt to fully empty your lungs. Release the feeling you’ve been sitting with if required. Allow it to drift away like a soap bubble.
- After you’ve finished, check to see whether your appetite has altered. If so, how would you go about doing it? If not, what’s stopping you?
- If you can’t locate a quiet location to do it (for example, at work with kids running about), go to the toilet. Nobody will hear you muttering Grrrr!!!! if you keep the bathroom fan going.
It will teach you the optimal diet, exercise, and lifestyle methods that are specific to you.
It is never easy to understand why you feel hungry. Some people have a lot of appetite, and others hardly feel hungry at all. It is a great mystery, and everyone has experienced the feeling that comes from not feeling hungry. It can be a very embarrassing problem, and one that you may not understand the cause. Hiding this problem can make you lose weight, because you will feel less hungry and will eat less. But hiding the problem without any reason can also make you gain weight, because you will eat more than you need.. Read more about from paleo to medical medium and let us know what you think.
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