Revolutionize Your Eating Habits In One Day
By Joan Kent, PhD
Do you feel completely in touch with your hunger? Do you know exactly when you’re hungry? Or when you stop being hungry? And what to do with that info?
This article is about an exercise for getting in touch with your hunger.
Why Is That Important?
Let’s cut to the chase. Every client who has completed this exercise ends up feeling absolutely clear about when she’s hungry and when she’s not, feeling completely in control of her appetite and her eating — and feeling great about herself.
Please don’t think hunger is obvious to everyone. I’ve heard clients say, “Well, I ate breakfast at 7:00 am and now it’s 1:00 pm, so I must be hungry.” Obviously, that’s a thought process, not hunger.
One client began to cry when I suggested the exercise because she thought she’d have to starve all day long.
Another client got angry because she thought she’d have to eat “diet foods” all day. I’m not even sure which foods she meant, or how she got that idea. The subject of diet foods had never come up in our nutrition appointments.
Okay, What’s This Amazing Exercise?
I read about this exercise years ago in a book that I simply can’t remember. As a PhD, I like to cite my sources and would be happy to give credit if I could. If anyone knows who created the exercise, please let me know.
That said, here it is:
• Pick a day when you have a light schedule. Your goal is to get hungry as often as possible during the day.
• As soon as you feel hungry, eat. But eat small amounts of food — just enough to take away the hunger. This will ensure many hunger experiences over the course of the day. If you follow these instructions, you might sometimes feel hungry within, say, 15 to 20 minutes after the last time you ate. (That’s the convenience of a lightly scheduled day.)
• Move away from your usual eating habits. Instead of eating first thing in the morning, for example, check in with your stomach to see if you’re hungry. If you’re not, wait until you are. Then eat.
• Avoid “preventative eating.” Don’t eat extra food now to prevent hunger later. As soon as you’re hungry later, you get to eat again.
• Don’t ignore your hunger signals and try to “tough it out” as long as you can. The idea is to cement the relationship between hunger and eating.
The natural hunger cycle is as primal as it gets: Hunger means eat. When hunger ends, stop eating. When hunger returns, eat. Repeat and repeat.
What This Exercise Is Not
Some mistakenly view this exercise as a weight-loss trick. It’s not meant to be. As explained, it’s designed to put you in touch with your hunger so there’s no question about how hunger feels, how much food is necessary to end the hunger, how it feels when it returns, and so on.
Still, eating in tune with your hunger may, over time, help with weight loss. Of course, you may want to increase the size of your portions to reach a point of “gentle fullness” so you don’t have to experience hunger so often throughout the day.
So What’s the Point?
Without a natural starting point for eating, we have no natural stopping point.
I’m convinced this hunger exercise is the most effective way for clients who lack awareness of their hunger and fullness to discover the wholesome, healthy connection between hunger and eating.
Whenever I’ve used this with a client, the result has always been an increase in the client’s confidence — no more confusion about when to start eating, when to stop, or even how much food to have.
Would you like help with normalizing your appetite and your food preferences? That’s what I do — help clients make painless food changes. Why not visit www.FoodAddictionSolutions.com/Coaching and request a Food Freedom session, absolutely free? Find out just how easy it can be to get your eating patterns on track — effectively and without struggle — so you feel fantastic.