I have taken in upon myself to create a day dedicated to Food Freedom, to letting go of diet dogma, food fads, nutrition trends, calories, macro's, scales, mirrors and a plethora of 'shoulds'. Instead embrace individuality, love beautiful bodies, praise glorious minds, turn a blind eye to the negative chatter and really explore what works best for YOU, what drives YOUR self-appreciation.
It’s a feeling, or a substitute for a feeling that we all experience, probably quite often.
Let me explain…
Hunger can be experienced in 3 specific ways
1. You feel hunger in your mouth
2. You feel hunger in your stomach
3. You feel hunger in your mind.
1. Mouth Hunger
This is a tricky one – thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger. We get this confused more often than you would think. If you feel hungry in your mouth, this is your signal to drink. Your mouth signals you to have liquids by getting dry and needing something in your mouth. Water is your best and healthiest choice. If you are unsure of the exact sensation of mouth hunger, have a glass of water the next time you feel the need for food suddenly appear. Give it a few minutes and reassess if food is what you really need.
2. Stomach Hunger
This is the feeling you want to become accustomed to when deciding when your next meal is going to be. This is a physical sensation, not just a thought or an emotion. It is the feeling of needing energy, needing sustenance, needing food and, unfortunately it is one of the sensations we have lost touch with the most. Your body is smart and signals you when it needs to eat, much like the gas gauge on your car. It is physical in nature and what you should be aiming for the large majority of the time you are putting food in your body.
3. Head Hunger
Lastly, we have a large driving force in choosing to consume food – head hunger. This occurs is when you eat because, in your mind, you ‘think’ it’s time to eat or you 'think' some food sounds good. It is this process that can create much havoc and imbalance as it has nothing to do with the true nature of hunger or the natural signalling mechanisms of the body. So often we also find it attached to a myriad of emotions. When feelings of sadness arise, your mind gently persuades you to eat something to make you feel better. When you are bored, your head hunger has a slew of suggestions to fill up some time. Stress, irritation, tiredness, even joy are all excuses for us to choose food. Sometimes our head hunger calls because we have been programmed to believe we ‘should’ be eating at this time. Learning to be, to feel, to experience life without the distraction of food can be a challenge and a work in progress always, but an important activity to embrace.
Although emotions and connection play a role in eating and sharing meals some of the time, their place is definitely not at the forefront of why we eat and their influence needs to be limited and occasional. When you begin to tap into and understand each of your hungers and how they feel, both physically, and emotionally it becomes the very foundation of creating your wellness and finding food freedom once and for all!