Saturday, 18 August 2007

Separating Real Hunger From False Hunger

Separating Real Hunger From False Hunger

Infants and toddlers are completely in tune with their hunger. Have you ever tried to force an infant to swallow one morsel more than he or she needed as fuel? Chances are you ended up wearing it! At that point in development, there has been no corruption of the relationship between eating and the true needs of the body for fuel and food. That distortion doesn't happen until we're trained to associate food and eating behaviors as rewards, punishments, substitutions, and "important" events-behaviors we can "control" to gain recognition, approval, disapproval, and so on. With time, we learn to allow ideas outside stimuli, and relationship struggles to distract us from and often block our awareness of our bodies' true hunger sensations.

Your major challenge is disconnecting yourself from unnecessary, habit-driven eating is separating out real hunger from false hunger.

First, the facts. There are certain clues your body gives you when you are truly hungry, i.e., when your body needs food for its physical needs. Most commonly, it is that empty, "gnawing" feeling in the vicinity of the middle abdomen. It can also include feelings of mild lightheadedness, fatigue, or unexplained nervousness. Each of us has a different set of clues. Most of us know what they are. If you do not, there is a simple way to find out. Stop eating for 12 to 24 hours, drinking only water. Carefully watch your reactions, listening to your body until you clearly discern the true feeling of hunger.

Incredibly, many people have not felt true hunger for decades. If you are among them, do this simple, brief experiment just described, and discover hunger. Once felt, it will be easier for you to postpone eating until that same sensation is felt. And by the way, you're in for a treat. It can be exhilarating to feel true hunger when you haven't felt it in years. It makes you feel alive.

Beware of false urges to eat. These may be little more than muscle tensions triggered by some eating cue or cues, or psychological urges that have nothing to do with true, physical hunger. Those cues and urges can be "external" or "internal". Examples of external cues include seeing or smelling a particular food, the offer of food, or perhaps becoming aware of the time on the clock ("it's dinner time"). Internal cues and urges are often the emotional states (anxiety, frustration, boredom) and ideas about eating ("if I don't eat now, I'll be hungry later and may not be able to eat then.")

These muscle tensions and energetic or psychological sensations that you may feel in your body, and the thoughts and mental images that accompany them. are the most common sources of the urge to eat. But these urges, though frequently strong and compelling, are the markers of false hunger.

The areas of the mouth and throat deserve additional consideration. THIRST for liquid, not hunger for food, is what you really feel here. You may also feel the urge to bite and tear with the teeth, and the impulse to chew in the muscles of the jaw and mouth. These occur without the presence of real hunger, but are instead often linked to emotional states, such as frustration, anger or depression. Sometimes, they arise from an urge to clean the mouth and throat. They are generally not signals of the body's need for energy-producing, life-sustaining fuel.

Treat your body carefully. Use the same common sense principles you use in every other aspect of your life. Recognize the false urges and ignore them. Learn to identify true urges, like true hunger, and act on them.

By listening to your body and following a healthy low-carbohydrate eating plan you will not only lose those excess pounds/kilos but improve your health and live a longer happier life, without the need for suffering and medication.

Separating Real Hunger From False Hunger

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