Are you hungry?

January 28, 2009

How do you know when you’re hungry?i-am-hungry
Does your stomach feel empty?
Do you hear a “gurgling” in your stomach?
Do you get a headache?
Do you feel irritable?
Do you feel weak?

How do you know when you are full?
Do you feel energetic?
Does your stomach feel full?

These are a some common signs of hunger and fullness. We are all born with the ability to recognize these signs.

Today my 60-year old client told me that he doesn’t know what it feels like to be hungry. He said that he basically feels full all the time, but, he eats anyhow because he thinks he “should”. There are many possible reasons that people eat when they are not hungry or past the point of satisfaction or fullness. For many people, including my client, their eating pattern is based on a habit that has been formed or because it’s a certain time of day. Other people eat for emotional or situational reasons.

My client has been overweight and dieting his entire life. This dieting has caused him to become completely disconnected with his eating, meaning, he has lost the ability to regulate his eating through his own internal cues (hunger, fullness). The only way that he knows how to eat is through what he has been taught to be “good” or “bad” foods or by following “the rules” of a diet. He has basically been taught to ignore his own sensations of hunger and fullness.

It is no wonder that diets don’t work (See post on August 13, 2008). When you are on a diet, you are essentially fighting your own natural tendencies. It is virtually impossible to maintain a lifestyle of restraint and that is why many people “fail” at dieting.

For those who struggle with eating, one of the most important things to do is to heal disconnected eating. This involves eating when hungry and stopping when full or satisfied; eating adequate amounts of food; choosing a variety of foods that are both satisfying and healthful; and living free of worry, obsession or preoccupation with food, the body and eating.



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