…little servings of thoughts coming to you…
Have you ever explored your hunger? Journaling can be an effective way to get to the heart of the issue as it helps one become aware of your hunger (hungers): you can ask questions like: when do I get hungry, why, what does it feel like, and does each hunger feel the same? This is more or less some of my journalled thoughts from my journal about my hunger. It shows some of my exploration of what hunger means to me.
….I became afraid of feeling hunger. I would panic and think I was going to faint, have a sugar low, get angry (hangry) and shake. It reminded me of when I was a teenager. At that stage of my life I weighed 49 kg and had semi starved myself to keep that weight. Often I would eat nothing for breakfast, an apple for lunch and then come home from school, burst through the door ready to “kill” I was in such a mood from being “hangry”. I would then eat too much, land up feeling guilty and vow to be better the next day. I didn’t like myself. In actual fact I think I hated myself if I am honest. It was a damaging cycle of rigid rules, breaking the rules, feeling bad, feeling angry with myself, feeling shame, asking for forgiveness, promising myself I would do better… next time. This was my cyclic relationships with food and myself when I was a young girl.
Once I had my children and had put on weight, I accepted my new weight for a while. In the long run I was afraid to live that old cycle and feel like that again. In my mind dieting seemed like that was the only way. I felt like it was a punishment. One part of me felt like I actually deserved to feel like this but another part of me was crying out in protest.
Then I began to put on more weight and I had to find another way. I began to get in touch with myself and embrace my feelings. I understood that eating too much was my flaw and I understood that it was okay to not eat as much as I used to. I was learning a new norm. It wasn’t starvation and it wasn’t gorging. The new norm was balance. I used a smaller plate. I learnt what a portion looked like for me. Observing my habits helped me change my habits too.
When I did feel hunger I began to realize nothing terrible was about to happened. I learnt what hunger felt like. I learnt what being too full felt like and I began to feel the nuanced feelings of all the states in-between: like when my tummy was empty but I was not hungry. When it was just full enough, I could stop eating. I also realized I didn’t need to eat for “just in case” I didn’t ever get food again. I understood that it this was an unconscious lie based on a primal fear of not having enough. I learnt what it felt like when my tummy was having a reaction to food that was not agreeable to my constitution. Most of all I am learning that all is well even if I am a bit hungry but if I get too hungry I can eat. I will not get punished for breaking some secret law.
I had to make an agreement with myself that I could be a Hard Punisher like I used be but that I would try not to be that Punisher. I also had to agree to build a new trust relationship with myself. I learnt how to sense when my tummy told me that I was a little hungry and I could embrace the feeling with compassion and interest because it was telling me that my body is about to start burning my own internal fuel – my fat reserves. That’s something to rejoice in. That’s what I ultimately wanted. I realized that I feared what I was wanting. It feels ironic thinking about it. I feel content and at peace at last. Knowing my body is working well and is part of my weight loss plan. This is a delicate balancing act and I often fall off this balance. It means practicing patience and kindness with myself all the time. I think once one has had an eating disorder or struggled with unhealthy eating patterns one has to be on one’s guard all the time. It feels unfortunate that this is my work, it feels painful at times, it is not an easy road and I have to be vigilant almost all the time.
I see and feel it as a sacred act. It is a positive way of looking after my body and ensuring health. I am not punishing my body or depriving it of the nutrient it needs. By eating nutrient rich “clean food” I am looking after my body and taking care of it. I am loving my body. This is one of my callings: to love and care for myself. If I look at it in this positive light I get much better results from myself than when I become the Hard Punisher….
On a deeper level: Making friends with your hungers.
It helps me to ask: what do you hunger after? I try to show an interest, become aware and decide how to meet my needs in a different way other than running to food each time I think I am hungry. There are several reasons why we feel hunger like thirst, discomfort from gas, and emotions to name a few. I am focusing on the last so things like boredom, dissatisfaction, loneliness, anger, not being heard and over-excitement, to name a few.
What do I hunger after?
…An interesting life. Enjoy nature. To express my thoughts and ideas creatively. To express myself in relationships. I am looking for reliability and dependability from myself, friends and family. I need empathy and understanding…
- To love
- be loved
- be seen
To be independent
- not judged
- not disturbed
- not pressurized
- To be at one
- in tune with
- To be inspired
- to inspire
- Tasting life
- Experiencing life as cool and calm in quietness
- cleansing the emotional palate of life’s flavor
- Textures of life
- Heat and fiery intense flavor of life
- Sweet swirly melting creamy heavenly life
How do these deeper yearnings impact on our physical hunger? Do we just think they impact us? Do they tell us something about us? I use hunger as an opportunity to ponder on how I am living my life and what I truly need from life, others and myself.
Much love, Morag.