The other night we had a wonderful dinner of lightly breaded fish, rice and vegetables. It was delicious, healthy and satisfying. Yet two hours later I heard myself say “I’m still hungry.” I was not starving nor was my stomach grumbling. It was the kind of feeling where I felt an anticipation of something more, almost like something was missing.
“Are you hungry” I asked my husband. “Yes” he replied.“So aren’t you going to do anything about it…like eat” I said in bewilderment that he was able to ignore this overwhelming feeling.“No, I’ll just go to bed” was his response.
I sat in amazement that there are people in this world who do not automatically respond to feelings of hunger. More importantly, there are people who are not controlled and led by their carnal desires. It never occurred to me that I did not have to give in to my hunger, especially when there is a fridge full of food. If there were nothing to eat that would be a different story all together but that is not our story.
This also explains why my husband has never had to struggle with his weight and probably never will. He understands that hunger is a signal to eat but there is no immediate danger if he does not eat at that exact moment. He chooses to eat at a time that suits his needs. A time that is more convenient and more practical (he knows that eating before bed is a no-no). He is not a slave to his hunger.
This is in direct contrast to me (and probably millions of others who struggle with food). When I feel hungry I feel panicked. Hunger to me means danger; its an interruption in my life that is abrupt and so over-powering that its all I think about until the need is satisfied.
To successfully lose weight or maintain your weight, you must take control of your hunger. Once you’ve met your body’s physical needs for food you should then do the work of getting to the root of what’s behind your hunger.
Try this strategy…
Step 1 First drink a cup of water. If that did the trick then you’re good– you do not need to eat.
Step 2 If you’re still hungry then eat an apple or some vegetables. If that did the trick then you’re good– you do not need to eat.
Step 3 If you still feel hungry then you will know that your hunger is not a physical one but rather an emotional one.
If that’s the case:
1. Spiritually– Submit that feeling/situation over to God – ask Him to handle it instead of food;
2. Practically– Take the time to ask yourself what the underlying feeling is that is triggering the emotion. Are you lonely, angry, tired, bored, scared? Journal it so that you can prepare yourself for when that feeling shows up again.
As it turned out, I was feeling anxious because I did not want to work on the project I was working on. I wanted to stuff the feeling with food instead of deal with what I needed to deal with.
I’m feeling empowered because I’m learning that I can use my hunger to help me heal the emotional and spiritual places in my life. For me, once my nutritional needs are met through healthy eating; that other yearning hunger is my cue that I’m stuffing or suppressing a feeling instead of actually allowing myself to feeling it. Its a form of denial for me and I’m learning to look at what’s behind it.
Like I tell my clients, its a process and I’m committed to moving forward everyday to heal myself and help others along the way.
Just as Psalms 4:4 teaches us that its okay to be angry as long as we don’t act it out, we can apply that same principle to emotional hunger – that is, we can feel hunger but we don’t always need to act upon it. The psalmist goes on to say that the solution is to search our hearts and be silent and that is the exact principle that we can learn to adopt.
The next time you’re feeling hungry, I challenge you to not immediately give in to it. Take some time, pray and CHOOSE whether you will satisfy the hunger or wait until a more opportune time.
Until Next Week,