I don't like being hungry. No one does. I'm not talking about "wanting" to eat something and feeling that you shouldn't. I'm not talking about a few extra bites that are probably unnecessary to your well-being. No, I'm talking about hunger: the physical feeling that makes a new-born baby cry (besides an uncomfortably full diaper), what makes you lose your concentration at work, what makes teenage girls who are trying to lose weight faint. Yes, hunger.
I know there are lots of weight loss bloggers who believe that you should embrace hunger, that it's a sign that you're on your way to weight loss. I don't agree. It's a sign that your body needs to be nourished. And as far as I know, nourishment is still not a dirty word.
Many people say they can't distinguish hunger from craving. That may be true. We're raised in a society of self-imposed feast or famine. It's Christmas! Yoopee! Let's eat until we feel sick. It's your birthday! Hoo boy! Let's gorge on chocolate cake. It's Jan. 2. Bummer. Let's live on melba toast and water all day to make up for Christmas. It's Jan. 5. Let's eat a whole pizza because we feel so deprived.
Call me crazy, but I just don't buy the feast or famine cycle anymore. And make no mistake about it: it's a cycle. The only people who succeed in constantly starving themselves are the people who've decided they want to live to at least 120 and who live cheerless, gaunt lives that seem totally bereft of joy. But hey, they're really skinny.
Most people eventually give up on constant hunger and many go back to gorging themselves. The old pendulum swinging way too far in one direction or another.
I've starved with the best of them. In fact, my first diet consisted of not eating one day a week. I starved myself down to a weight I couldn't imagine being today, a weight that I thought was still too high. But the minute I stopped starving, I gained the weight back and I didn't even have to binge or gorge. That's not my style, anyway.
In the last two years, I have started really working on eliminating the desire to starve as a method for losing weight. I reject hunger and make an effort to consistently eat reasonably when I'm hungry rather than feeling a misplaced sense of pride at conquering my body's legitimate request for nourishment. At the same time, I've also started pushing back on the spoiled-child voice in my head that would say, "That's not fair. She can eat that cake and I can't." Now, if I want the treat, I try to make sure that I'm not full already. I either leave some space for a little treat or I put it off until later. I haven't perfected this method (and since I'm only human, it will always be a work in progress), but I have at least become aware and awareness is absolutely crucial to success.
So, now that I've said no to hunger, what next?
Well, in my next post, I'm going to talk about my breakfast revelation...
I guess I'll just keep you hungry for more!