Natural Hunger Cues Y’all

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and are enjoying the beginning to a wonderful week!

If  you follow me on twitter or Facebook, then you know I have been taking a trip down two- lane highways back to my Southern roots. Not only was I excited about the possibility of  eating real butter and shamelessly belting out Sweet Home Alabama but also because I would get to run with two of my three sisters!

The run was awesome and it got even better when I am pretty sure we passed Sheree from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. I am kicking myself for not yelling out her name or asking where Derek J was…I guess he probably couldnt run with her in his heels. Silly boys…such divas.

I digress.

Are you hungry? That’s an interesting question that I think about- oh every second of every day.  You see, since I was a very young girl, I have been cycling through diets. You name it, I’ve tried it..low fat, no carbs, cabbage soup diet…you get the point.

As I’ve gotten older, I have tried to embrace a healthy lifestyle where I workout and make healthy food choices. However, when I was marathon training, I put on 7 pounds. Although, I was eating organic whole foods only, I was eating larger than life portions. I mean who can eat too much Kale? I guess the answer was me.

In January, I tried to adopt something I had done back in the day when cortisol was not in my vocabulary. Back when I was around 20, I heard about Weigh Down and decided to read the book. It blew me away with the craziest concept. Are you ready for it? Hold on to your chips.

Eat when you are hungry  and stop when you are satisfied.

I know, I know…madness right? It seemed I was let in on this secret that only skinny girls in their little soroities and daisy dukes knew about.

So, in December of this year while I was injured, I decided to give this a shot once again. The first time I did it, I only lasted about a week. So, even if I lasted 8 days this time, it would still be considered a success. Baby steps my friends, baby steps.

So, I waited and waited for my first hunger cue. By the way, you will never guess what a “cue” is. It’s a growling stomach. Wow….where has this common sense been all of my pubescent, teenage and adult life?

There were many times throughout the day that I wanted to eat…especially since it was around Christmas time and buckeyes in all of their peanut butter and chocoalte goodness were staring me down, laughing at my diligence. It was breakfast time, lunch time, there was a pizza commercial on, etc etc. But, my true hunger cue didnt come until very late that day. Surprising huh?

So for a few months, I ate whatever I wanted but only when I was truly hungry and stopped when I was satisfied. Knowing when you are satisfied, is quite tricky. Surpisingly, its not when you have to unbutton your shorts. It’s when you no longer feel that growl I mentioned earlier. This was so hard for me. There were times I would take three bites of a sandwich and be satisfied. It was so hard to put it down b/c it tasted SO GOOD.

But what that showed me was that I was exalting food to idol status. I was addicted to overeating. Each time I wanted to eat out of boredom or overeat simply b/c it was so tasty, I prayed and spent time talking to God. I tried to fill up that emptiness with Him instead of food.  I didnt lose or gain any weight during this time.

But eventually, my love of food finally trumped my relationship with God. Sure He gave me life and died for me, but Reeses cups make sacrifices too, right?

If you were to look at my life, you would assume that I am on track. I eat healthy and to most it would seem I have a solid discipline with food and try to balance wellness. But, thats a lie.

I have gone back to eating b/c I want to, totally ignoring hunger cues and definitely ignoring when to stop. So, I find myself once again trying to get back to that place where food isnt an idol. For the last week, I have been trying to only eat when my stomach growls. So far today, I’ve had breakfast. I have definitely wanted to eat b/c naturally I would eat lunch by now but the reality is, my body isnt yet hungry.

Although, this past week I have mostly stuck to waiting (I was on vacation in the South, people) I have yet to stop when satisfied. I find it so difficult and struggle with being legalistic. When you are constantly evaluating if you are satisfied, it can kinda become a battle and takes the joy out of your Rolo Mcflurry…if you feel me.

As you see in this picture of my adorable tot, he is enjoying homemade ice cream with peaches. He uses natural hunger cues. I wanted more than anything for him to finish it that day but he refused. He knew when to stop. I think we are all born this way but somehow lose it along the way.

I dont agree that this is McDonalds fault or even Pizza Hut’s. But we in America do seem to exalt food to god like status. Or at least I do.

I share this with you as an encouragement and challenge. If you struggle with food like I do, let’s put the forks down together and attempt to let God fill that emptiness inside of us instead of a sugary donut. In then end, it would be much more filling….and instead of that gritty feeling left on your teeth, you might find yourself empowered or wtih the ability to see your toes.

So what is your relationship with food? If similar to me, can we do this together?

*Now if you do or ever have struggled with an eating disorder, I would recommend you speak with a dietician or your Doctor to monitor your eating and your cues. They could be off from years of restricting.

  1. Okay this is soooo me Karin! I too am waitin gon hunger and noticing that I am full after a few bites, so I have been cutting what I eat normally in half, big shocker…it is ENOUGH!!! I also have been shutting off the eating about 2 hours before bed, sure I go to bed with hunger looming many nights, but you know what….I make it through the night and am ready for breakfast 🙂 This past weekend I didn’t need any splurges because nothing is off limits, so no splurge needed. If I crave a snickers bar, I have a bite put it away and move on. I went down 2.5 pounds in a week with this……super glad 🙂

    • Thats so great Sum! We know we have similar struggles so we can hold each other accountable. Its so hard to find new ways to entertain yourself or just fill emptiness. Right now, I am not hungry. But, I am bored. I want to go for a bike ride but B isnt home to babysit….boo

  2. So real, Karin! A continual struggle. If you have not read Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth, I encourage you to read it. Not Christian per se, but a great understanding of this common struggle. I wish I had read it when I was 19! Just being aware of it was a major breakthrough for me. Her book focuses more on understanding and mindfulness and less on shame and guilt.

  3. Oh Karin, You knew that I would be sitting here on the couch, craving a late-night snack, didn’t you? 🙂 I need to get into this mindset more. I think a lot of times my hunger is really thirst. Still trying to get those cups of water in…

  4. I was actually going to include that in my post…I think a lot of us confuse the two

    • Amanda
    • June 29th, 2011

    After hearing Summer talk about this and after reading your post, I decided to give it a try today. It is AMAZING how much I was eating before because it was breakfast time or 10 am morning snack time or computer time.

    • thats awesome Amanda, how did it go? And Melody, I want that book!

        • Amanda
        • June 29th, 2011

        It went great until I let myself fall into the 3-4 pm stress eating. I know better, I wasn’t hungry, but I ate anyway. Then, I took a nap(very unusual but I have felt down/tired today) and waited until my stomach growled again and had a steamed zucchini for dinner. Even though I didn’t even make it 1 whole day, I still did better today than on a “regular” day.

    • Melody Wright
    • June 29th, 2011

    Hi All,

    I’m one of the sister’s in the photo…There is an older book called Feeding the Hungry Heart by Geneen Roth. It talks a lot about some of the things my little sis mentions here and it literally changed my life. She’s just written a new book called Women, Food and God. Geneen and Anne LaMott are good friends BTW. Some of you may know Anne’s work – Traveling Mercies, etc.

    Here’s a quote from Geneen’s website:

    Your relationship to food is an unexpected path to almost everything. It is doorway, not a wall, an opening, not a closing. All that you believe about love, change, joy and possibility is revealed in how, when and what you eat. The world is on your plate.


  5. Its baby steps and day by day. Its not about failing or succeeding …its about small changes that add up. Good job girl

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