a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
a strong or compelling desire or craving:
a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient
Stereotypically, hunger is defined as a physical sensation – a feeling in our stomachs – that we recognize as a desire for food. Sometimes this feeling is celebrated, sometimes it brings anguish. However, our bodies have many different ways of telling us we need to eat, and many of these are not physical.
+ raspberries (on sale!) + le coffee
A great strategy when I don’t have an appetitive but know I need the calories is to have
a cinnamon bun with my name on it nearby… no turning down these babies
Of course, hunger is also extremely affected by varying circumstances – sickness, fatigue, metabolism/exercise – and is never constant from week to week or even day to day.
When one is recovering from any sort of disordered eating, and/or is underweight, and/or is in a re-feeding process and working to gain weight, then hunger cues become all that much more complicated. Generally, one who is recovering from disordered eating has lost their ability to have normalized hunger cues. Hence why being on a meal plan with specific timing is very helpful/necessary for this part of the recovery process.
Roast Beef + regular mayo + dijon + iceburg lettuce + baby carrots
November what!? Enjoying as much of the outdoors as long as I can.
Sadly, I still have not regained normal hunger cues. I longingly await the day where my mind and body and stomach re- introduce themselves to each other and decide to join forces. In general, my appetitite is low… which seems ironic (and which makes keeping up with a higher intake hard). I say appetite because my stomach almost never tells me it wants to eat. My body doesn’t often feel hunger. I rarely hear my belly making that beautiful grumbling that I hear coming from other people. My stomach never feels hollow (rather more so on the bloated side… oh the beauty).
My stomach may be telling me “nope no more,” but its like my mind is working on a wholllee other playing field. And it wants to be heard.
My body tells me its hungry in many other ways.
Irritation and lack of patience……When I notice myself getting grumpy or easily perturbed…. it almost always means I need to eat. Once I do, my irritation goes away (and I go apologize sheepishly for whoever had to receive it).
Anxiety…….. When I notice myself rushing super quickly and fleeting from one thing to the next…. I need to eat. After I do, my whole ora slows back down.
Gluten free carrot cake + pear
Lack of focus and preoccupation with food. When all of a sudden my thoughts cannot stay away from meal planning or my meal ahead, especially during class or seeing a show etc…. my body is telling me it wants food. This one is so frustrating. Focus, woman, Focus! But chances are I won’t be able to until….. food.
I’ve had many experiences, lets say at my past work (good old Starbucks) where all of a sudden I started feeling very annoyed with customers, irritated with co-workers, and simply just one huge grump. Maybe it hadn’t been that long since I last ate, and maybe I physically really was not feeling hungry, but in these moments I have learned I need to rely on my brain and not my body to tell myself that maybe I just need food.
“Thai pumpkin and eggs”
(still going off my massive kabocha, scrambled with eggs, fish sauce and sugar – my favorite
meal while traveling in Thailand) + sautéed spinach
And then there are the rare times I feel super super hungry… consistently. This happened a couple weeks ago. Like I said, I’m used to not feeling a lot of hunger, but somehow my appetite sky rocketed and I found myself a bottomless pit. Honestly, I think it was mostly due to my mood. I felt really good, I was excited about some new projects, things with the boy were wonderful, I had lots of energy… so as a result, my hunger felt non stop. I think being in a positive mind space and feeling energized by your passions just helps you feel more intune with your body… so really I was probably just allowing myself to feel the hunger that is always there. It is so fascinating how our mental state affects our hunger, no?
Now having this kind of bottomless hunger can pose quite a scenario, especially for one who has a history of, or is currently dealing with disordered eating. Hunger can be great because it makes eating justified (rather than forcing yourself when you are “not hungry”), but it can also be difficult as then you must battle the notion of eating more. If you are needing to gain, I hope this can be something to be celebrated. It will just make the process easier and so much more enjoyable. If you feel hungry… it is your body telling you it could very well use up some food. So why not!?
Typical dark chocolate + pear (x2) + tea
It may take time to learn how you, yourself, feel hunger…. regardless of a history with disordered eating, or not. There are many different ways our bodies and minds tell us we need food. Whether it is irritation, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, or the stereotypical belly grumble… it it is our job to learn these messages… trust them… and listen to them.
Nobody wants a grumpy gus!!
Linking up with Jenn for this week’s WIAW!! Go on over and join the party!
How do you tend to feel your hunger?
Any signs other than physical sensations that tell you you should eat?
Do you listen to your body in these times, or do you wait until you actually feel it in your stomach/body?