How often do you feel hungry?
3 times a day? Rarely? Never?
Do you always have an “emergency bar” in your purse? Do you eat every 3 hours so you’ll never get hungry? Many of us avoid feeling hungry at all costs, perhaps with the fear that we will overeat as a consequence. Maybe fearing hunger is a learned behavior from dieting, or maybe it’s a leftover instinct passed down from our ancestors who did not know when or how they would get their next meal.
We should want to feel somewhat hungry
Hunger is not necessarily pleasant, but it’s something that I want to feel everyday, before each meal, because it makes each meal taste better. Many years ago, when I first set out to lose weight, I used to eat 3 meals plus 3-4 snacks a day, which basically kept me on a cycle of mild hunger and mild satiety all day long. Gradually I realized if I had a large breakfast that I didn’t think about food all morning. It was actually nice not to have to stop my day for a snack. So I started eating bigger breakfasts. I rarely need a snack between breakfast and lunch. And only sometimes need one to get me from lunch to dinner. Bigger meals are more fun to make and more fun to eat. When I’m actually hungry for a meal it tastes so much better. And feeling satisfied at the end of a meal is such a pleasant feeling!
What is real hunger like?
When you are truly hungry, you know. Your stomach feels empty, maybe it growls, and you might feel low in energy. If you have to question it – you’re probably wanting food for other reasons. Sometimes the “hunger” is just my mouth needing a change in flavor. I’ve also learned that often my hunger is linked to my thirst. The old “have a glass of water and see how you feel trick” works on me well. One of my favorite quotes is “Hunger is the best sauce.” When your stomach is growling, everything sounds good. I’ve found when I’m only mildly hungry, only the sugary/salty/snacky foods sound good.
Ups + Downs
Like most things in life, the downs make the ups that much more appreciated. Busy work weeks make weekends extra nice. The ho-hums of life’s rhythms make vacations super fun. And a little hunger makes your meal taste extra delicious. Don’t be afraid of it!