Wednesday, July 25, 2018

False hunger

Are you really hungry?  Or is it a false hunger?   How can you tell if you are really hungry?   There have been many times in my life when I have been convinced that I am literally starving with hunger.  (I am too ashamed to admit how many....oh wait, I can't quickly count that high!)  In reality, what I usually think is hunger is really not hunger.  There are different things in life that masquerade as hunger.  All of them are manageable, as long as you recognize them for what they are.....NOT HUNGER.

On Monday evening I ate something that didn’t agree with me (or maybe too much of something...although I didn’t overeat).  I was sick for a while in the middle of the night.  Nothing a few trips to the bathroom didn’t take care of.  Way too much information, I know.  But the point is, I probably emptied my system a bit more than normal.   I’m usually not at all hungry at breakfast and thus many times don’t eat at that time...I’m not forcing myself to eat just because the clock says it’s time to eat.  So I didn’t eat breakfast on Tuesday morning.  Around 10 or so my head started to pound.  I drank water and took more Advil.  Nothing worked!   I immediately thought about caffeine, but then I decided to get a sandwich for lunch instead of eating my low cal/light lunch.   I couldn’t wait until 1PM when my lunch break would roll around!  It finally arrived...I got a turkey sandwich and ate it with my packed cherries.  I skipped the chips and did not cave to get a soda.  And guess what?  The headache went away.   I was hungry!!!!

I had experienced true hunger!  However, usually what I think is hunger is actually something else entirely. Here is a short list of possible culprits when we THINK we are hungry.

I've heard it said that close to 50% of people mistake thirst for hunger.  It's actually a common thing and easy to understand how it could happen, the same part of the brain controls hunger and thirst.  This is an easy one to fix.  Literally....drink up!  If you feel hunger, the first thing to ask yourself is "When was the last time you had something to drink?"   I bet you find that it has been a while!

Yup, we eat out of boredom.  When we have nothing to do, we look for something to fill that void. One  of the most recurring things we do in our life that takes up our idle time is to fix, prepare and eat food.  So it's only natural that we turn to food when we are bored.  So if you are feeling hungry, find something to do.  Pick up a book to read or go take a walk!  If you are experiencing true hunger those hunger pangs will not disappear but only intensify.  But I bet you find that you don't think about food at all while you are otherwise occupied

This one is a hard one because we don't have a lot of control over the stress that enters our life.  I can  look at the history of my weight loss and see a direct correlation between weight gains and those really rough spots in my ex-marriage.  Stress hunger.   More recently I experienced the death of my father.  Stress hunger came into play.  I gained about 10 pounds in that first week and a total of 20 pounds in the first month.  That's a LOT of donuts (and other bad stuff) eaten through stress hunger.  I obviously haven't mastered this one yet.  However, I vow to indulge in healthy snacks the next time stress hunger hits!

I leave work every day and drive the two or three blocks to the interstate.  As soon as my car is safely merged into the traffic I have an incredible need.   I have a need for some gum.  Now let me say this, I don't normally chew gum.  But EVERY DAY on this stretch of highway I NEED my gum. It's a habit that I somehow picked up.  Even on weekends when I'm with Jason, if we happen to be on that stretch of highway, my mouth begins to water and I just NEED that piece of gum!

Food is the same way.  Eating a small snack as soon as I get home is a habit.  I tell myself i'm hungry, but it's a habit.  You see, if I get sidetracked and miss my wee little snack, I find that I don't miss it in the slightest and I feel no signs of hunger from the missed snack.

Even though I ate a much larger lunch on Tuesday,  my body still told me that I was ‘hungry’ and needed that snack after work that day.   I didn’t give in, because I knew it was a false hunger!  I worked on my dollhouse during that critical time!

Eliminating habits is something I've talked about before.  It's simply a practice of recognizing it as a bad habit and having the willpower to resist and change.

True Signs of hunger
There are some signs of true hunger.  Some of these include
*gurgling, rumbling or growling in stomach
*dizziness, faintness or light-headedness
*lack of concentration

  I still remember the day that I felt true hunger, probably for the first time in a LONG time (maybe ever).  I was convinced I was getting sick because my stomach was hurting.   How sad is that?  I was  (am) so overfed that when I do feel real hunger I don't even know what it is!  Hunger, it happens.  It's ok to eat when it happens.  But we need to be careful to make sure that we are really hungry and that we are not false hunger.