Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When You're Hungry, Do You Eat?

This morning, I felt very, very afraid. In fact, I feel afraid several times a day, every day. Sometimes the fear is minor and easily overcome, sometimes it hits me like a ton of bricks. Like this morning.

I had breakfast around 7:30: a coffee and a lovely piece of ciabatta bread with some strawberry jam. By mid-morning, I'd also drunk three glasses of water while surfing the net, doing some bill payments, making a few phone calls and writing my previous post on the wonderful Tensor band that's entered my life. Aside from the fact that I was shirking my responsibility to work on a small translation, all was well.

Then suddenly, I felt very afraid. I was hungry, genuinely hungry. Not hungry like I hadn't eaten for 24 hours (Yom Kippur, anyone?), but honestly, truly hungry, maybe a 6.5 out of 10 on the hunger scale. And with that hunger came fear. I WAS AFRAID TO EAT, even though I had every right to eat.

I started this blog in January after discovering Paul McKenna and his book, "I Can Make You Thin". It's all based on four golden rules:
1. Eat when you're hungry.
2. Eat whatever you want.
3. Eat conciously.
4. Stop when you're full.

Over the past five months, I have lost some weight. Not tons, but enough that people have noticed. The rules do work, but at least as far as I'm concerned, it's not all that easy. Witness this morning.

I really had to make a conscious effort to acknowledge my hunger, ask myself what I wanted to eat, eat this food and then tell myself that I didn't need anymore and stop. It was quite a process.

I realized that I needed protein, since I hadn't had any yet. I ate a piece of feta cheese and topped it off with a small bowl of blueberries. And stopped. I could have gone on. I could have probably eaten a full lunch, though it was only about 11 a.m. But I stopped. And instead of being ravenous at noon, I ended up not eating until 1:30 p.m. At that point I was really hungry and had a real lunch. I'm now drinking a cup of tea and feeling full.

I don't have any solution to this fear except to recognize it and try to deal with it as calmly as possible. Though some people seem to slough off the fear (and the weight!) very quickly with the McKenna system, that's not the case for me. I think that I'm like most people who've spent their entire adult life fearing food and denying hunger. The longer you've lived this way, the more the habit is ingrained.

Losing weight is a physical act, a mathematical equation of energy ingested and energy expended. But it's also in our heads: if we don't stop fearing hunger, we won't be able stop when we're full either.

Ignoring your hunger is the greatest danger of dieting. The trick is to learn to recognize real hunger and learn to recognize physical satiety. Easier said than done? Yup, but I urge you to keep trying!

P.S. Eat when you're hungry! LOL


  1. HELLO......if I only ate when I was hungry I wouldn't be 100 lbs over weight.

    This is not about food! But, never, ever give up!

    Great post.

  2. My dear. I so know what you are talking about. I was like that on Thursday night. I had my dinner and then still felt like I could eat another full plate of food.

    For me, I force myself to wait 20 minutes before eating more food. Its hard as hell at times but, it helps me. I just walk away from the table and do something else.

    We must learn to listen to our bodies nor our emotional eatings minds. Easier said than done.

  3. Great post. I can understand your fear but it is important to eat when you feel physical hunger. You did well and you will succeed.