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Feeling Hungry

May 15, 2009

This post is going to run contrary to conventional dieting wisdom (at least the conventional dieting wisdom I’ve been bombarded with over the years) but I’m going to go ahead and put it out there anyway.

Most diets I’ve looked at offer tips and tricks to keep yourself from feeling hungry. Eat every 3 hours. Drink lots of water. Fiber. Eat your fiber. Take a pill for fiber. Fiber 20 minutes before a meal.

The idea is if you never feel hungry you won’t be tempted to binge.

That’s great if hunger is your trigger.

But what if it’s not?

Well, okay, granted hunger is our natural, built-in trigger for eating. But I’m not talking about eating. I’m talking about over-eating.

Most of my triggers are either habitual or emotional.

So maybe this is a little Zen, but it occured to me that eating had become a knee-jerk experience for me. I either ate so I wouldn’t get hungry or ate as soon as I got hungry.

So, one day I just stopped and let myself feel hungry.

I didn’t try to prevent the hunger and I didn’t rush off to answer it. Instead I let it come and then I let myself linger.

It’s kinda like rain. It can be a bummer to get caught out in it. But what about deliberately taking a walk in the rain, feeling it roll down your face, pelting all around you, washing the world clean.

It can be kinda cool.

That’s kinda the experiment I worked with hunger.

I didn’t dwell in it for days by any means. Just a couple of hours. But it felt good feeling hungry. I felt lighter. Leaner. More energetic. More aware. And I enjoyed that feeling.

Now, obviously, that high isn’t going to last. Lethargy and lack of energy are going to move in along with painful grumblings in the belly region.

But for that short time, it felt good.

Then I sat down and deliberately ate a moderate meal, refusing to give in to the psychological bells in my gut that said, “Hey, we’re starving down here! Shovel in the foooood!”

It was a good experience and I think it will become a useful tool in cracking some of the habits I’ve built around eating.

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