Many people who read my blog have histories of disordered eating behaviors. When we are in recovery, we are taught to eat to support our health and activity levels. Even for those who have not had eating disorders, if you are involved in lifting weights in any capacity, you may have noticed that you are taught to eat, eat and eat to fuel your muscle growth and strength goals.
For various reasons, hunger has therefore become something to fear. When we feel strong pangs in our stomach, we worry that we are reverting back to old habits of restriction, losing all our “gains”, dropping our blood sugar levels to health-threatening levels, or paving the way for a binge whereby you will eat anything and everything you can get your hands on.
People are afraid of being hungry and, consequently, rarely experience true hunger. People, especially those involved in the fitness/bodybuilding world, eat according to the clock, rather than when their body signals them to eat. They carry snacks with them at all times, lest they dare to feel a momentary sensation of hunger. They are so out of tune with their own bodies’ signals of hunger and satiety.
Hunger is a good thing
In reality, hunger is normal. It is okay to feel your stomach growl at several points during the day. In fact, feeling hungry often is ideal, as it means your metabolism is working properly and your body is efficiently processing all of the food you are feeding it.
In turn, feeling hungry allows you to tune into your true feelings of satiety. This means practicing mindful eating, focusing on the food in front of you, and stopping eating when you are full. When you are not hungry and force yourself to eat just because the clock tells you it’s lunch time, you will likely finish off all the food in front of you – even if you don’t really want it.
Check out the rest of this article!