Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Am I truly hungry?

One of the things I read about this past week was about recognizing hunger signals.  I wonder as a society if we have totally lost this ability or what the deal is.  I think I've lost that ability myself.  Truly.  I feel like I am on my kids schedule.  When they want to eat, I figure that I should eat too because, well, I'm already fixing it.  And, why make a mess twice?  I think sometimes I'm run by the clock too.  "Oh look!  It's _____ o'clock.  It's time to have breakfast."  It's also not just about feeling hunger, but it's also learning about when one feels full or satisfied.

The one typical way to sense hunger is when your stomach growls or you feel hunger pangs.  Think back through your day.  Before you sat down with a meal, had you started to feel hungry?  My other thought was, should someone who is dealing with diabetes really wait for hunger signals?  Or would that be a detriment?  So, I looked that up.  According to a website that I visited, they call this 'paying attention' to your hunger cues as "intuitive eating."  This is what they have to say about intuitive eating, "The first step in becoming an intuitive eater is to shift away from external rules about when you should eat and to learn to listen to your body’s internal cues. We were all born with the ability to know when we are physically hungry, and you can reconnect with this natural signal.

To identify your physical hunger, pay attention to signals such as an empty or gnawing feeling in your stomach, a feeling of low energy or lethargy, a headache, difficulty concentrating, irritability, or persistent thoughts of food.

Each person experiences hunger a little differently, and your job is to learn what hunger feels like to you."

They also have this to say:  "You’ll find that responding to true hunger is one way to put the pleasure back in eating; food actually tastes better when you are hungry. To ensure that you can eat what you want when you are hungry, it’s a good strategy to always carry a bag of food with you that includes a wide range of options.

If you find that you are frequently turning to food before you are physically hungry, ask yourself, “Can I wait?” Remind yourself that as soon as you are hungry, you will eat. The more you practice listening to your body’s signals and responding to them, the less you will feel the drive to eat when you’re not really hungry. However, if you continue to turn to food for emotional reasons in spite of this work, consider doing some further reading or seeking counseling to learn how to manage your feelings without reaching for food."  This article can be found on the Diabetes Self Management website.

There is also another article called "Healthy Eating: Recognizing Your Hunger Signals."  That can be found on iVillage.

With all of that said, today I've made a true effort to rediscover my hunger signals.  It is a work in progress, but I've found myself stopping several times and truly asking myself if I'm really hungry or maybe just thirsty.  Many a time, I ended up with a glass of water instead of something to eat.

Do you know when your body is hungry?  Are you stuck by the clock *maybe you have to be*?  Find some time to reconnect with your body so that you can 'remember' what your signals are.

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