honor your hunger

How do you know when you are hungry?

  • How would you describe what it feels like in your body when you need to eat?
  • Can you describe the physical sensations that you experience?

Many times when I ask these questions, people respond with “I don’t actually know. I’ve never really thought about it before.” Or “I don’t think I actually ever feel ‘hungry,’ — not in the ‘traditional’ sense anyway...”

Does that feel familiar to you? For many of us, when we are beginning to reconnect to our body wisdom, it can be challenging to recognize when we are actually physically hungry.

Biological or physical hunger isn’t just a growling stomach. In addition to those sensations, it might feel like:

  • Mild gurgling or gnawing in the stomach
  • Light-headedness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Uncomfortable stomach pain
  • Irritability
  • Feeling faint
  • Headache

Hunger can be very individual — You may experience hunger differently than someone else. Hunger for you may even be entirely different than what I am describing here.

We aren’t looking for crazy, wild hunger. We want to tune into subtle body cues, so you don’t wait until you are ravenously hungry to eat.

When we are ravenous, we tend to eat whatever we can find as quickly as possible, leading us to overeat.

As you start to listen to your individual hunger cues, consciously describe them to yourself:

  • What does hunger feel like in my body?
  • How would I describe the sensations to someone who has never felt hunger before?
Understand Your Hunger

The Hunger Scale

It can also be helpful to rate your hunger on a scale --

  • 1 -- just starting to notice hunger
  • 10 -- starving and willing to do anything for some food!

So a "1" is very subtle. (Again, tune into what that actually feels like for you individually.)

When you reach a “2" on the scale, it is a good time to start planning for when you will eat next, so that by the time you reach a “5” or "6"on your hunger scale, you are actually eating.

It may seem counterintuitive to eat before you get higher on the scale. ("Don’t I want to only eat when I’m REALLY hungry???") But when we allow ourselves to get overly hungry, it limits our choices.

Our blood sugar may plummet and our energy level can dramatically drop. And in that state, it is listen to what will truly nourish our body, we just eat whatever we can find to satisfy that uncontrollable hungry. At that point, you just wants quick, easy energy. We are much more likely to overeat or to make less nourishing and satisfying decisions when we are overly hungry.

So this week before you eat, take a few seconds to tune into what your unique physical hunger sensations feel like and when you get to a “2” on your personal hunger scale, start planning your next meal or snack and start eating when you get to a “5”or “6.”

You will start to recognize when you are normally hungry throughout the day and then you can plan ahead to have a smart snack ready to go. Check here for great snack ideas.

If you notice that you aren’t experiencing actually physical hunger, but the food cravings are still there, you may be experiencing emotional hunger. For ideas on how to approach emotional hunger, you might start here, here, and here.

Plant the Seed: a 14-day body wisdom experiment

Want to explore more of these ideas?

Join us for the best test group for

Plant the Seed:
a 14-day body wisdom experiment
May 29th - June 11, 2018

You can more closely explore which foods and lifestyle practices are serving you and which may want to let go, without having to rely on experts to tell you what you “should” do.

We’ll have 3 Zoom online workshops, a printable workbook, daily journal prompts, and daily Q&A throughout the two weeks.

Come explore and see what you can discover about yourself and your body!