I spent the first 35 years of my life either not understanding,
or not trusting my body’s signals
with what to eat and when to eat it.
The words hunger and cravings are misused a lot!
Hunger happens when –
You’re in your own solid and aligned power
without working to dredge up some alleged “willpower”.
Cravings happen when –
You’re distracting yourself or turning away from something
you don’t want to deal with.
Let’s de-clutter this very simply.
Hunger shares 2 main things:
1. It’s a slow, steady burn with no hard edges- assuming you’re well-nourished in general, not trying to “control” your appetite, and you’re eating enough at the times of day that work for you.
2.It’s not fixated on you eating some exact thing.
You simply know you need to eat.
Hunger feels mostly like this:
You’re busy being engaged with something, and you notice you’re getting hungry.
You also notice it’s fine to wait a bit, maybe until you finish what you’re doing or come to a stopping point.
You’re hungry, but your mind goes back to it’s task pretty easily.
20 minutes later, you might feel it again a little stronger.
This sometimes goes on for a few cycles, and your hunger gradually gets bigger.
This is a normal, natural hunger progression.
For most of us, we can begin to feel hungry and still continue our work or a task we’re into for awhile, especially when we’re fully engaged. Think of the times you’ve been so occupied that you’ve noticed your hunger and probably thought about eating, but didn’t stopped to act on it. Intuitively your body knew it could wait awhile, and your mind took you right back to what you were doing.
These are the times you’ve experienced true hunger in action.
Hunger always tracks in a slow, steady increase. Physiologically we’ve evolved to feel the sensations of hunger gradually over time, not suddenly. Hunger can wait. Hunger goes a long time before turning into a full-out distraction. Hunger is also reasonable; even though it might want a certain type of food, it’s easily content with something else. Hunger wants nutrition; it wants to be fed well.
Cravings also share 2 main things:
1. They almost always come out of nowhere, blindsiding us, refusing to be ignored
or bargained with. They insist on creating a distraction.
2. They want their way with the EXACT Thing,
or as close as humanly possible to The Thing.
Cravings feel mostly like this:
They grow fast, like a match touched to dry grass. They’re dealmakers and negotiators. Cravings yell at us, tug on our sleeve, and whine like mosquitos. Cravings are all distraction from the first moment. Cravings fixate on The Thing, The Food(s).
You’re in the middle of doing something OR NOTHING and you get a giant craving
For The Thing that’s the equivalent of a voice yelling
“I must have The Thing now!”
The last thing cravings care about is feeding your body.
It basically doesn’t care whether you like the idea of dropping everything
and driving 6 miles to town before the grocery store closes for 2 pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. It does not care whether you have other plans for how you want to be eating. It feels nearly impossible to negotiate with.
It wants The Thing, and most other foods are a poor runner up.
The thing to know and start trusting is this:
Cravings always want something else from The Thing; it can be comfort, familiarity, distraction, numbness, an excuse not to show up and be the real us, or a reason not to have high energy.
Almost all of us need some help seeing this dynamic with clear eyes, and then staying in a structure to shift it for good. I’m here when you’re ready for this kind of help.
Spend some time noticing the differences between hunger and cravings…with kind self-honesty.