What is hunger?

According to Merriam-Webster….“Hunger is an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food”.

I think there are two categories of hunger. 

  1. Is the sensation of hunger
  2. Is the emotion of hunger

Today I’ll talk about the sensation of hunger, next week I’ll dive into the emotion of hunger.

The sensation of hunger comes from our brain, specifically the lateral hypothalamus.

When the stomach is empty, it secretes the hormone Ghrelin,  this hormone then travels to the lateral hypothalamus which causes the physical sensation of hunger.

The physical sensations of hunger often feel empty, achy, or grumbly. 

Sometimes we may feel weak, tired, lightheaded, hangry, or  have a headache.  This is usually from withdrawal of sugar and flour.  This BTW is not true hunger.

True hunger will come and go.  

I like to teach my clients the “Hunger and Fullness Scale”.  It’s a way to get in touch with what hunger really feels like.

-10————5————0 ————5————10+

-10 is the greatest hunger, +10 is most full.

Stop and take two deep breaths, now check in with yourself…where are you right now on this scale?

Did you check in with yourself by going to your stomach? The clock? Or your brain (“when did I eat last?)?  This really matters.

I want you to start identifying your hunger by going to your body.  Do you feel light? Hallow? Empty, and not just your stomach.  When I feel hungry, my whole torso feels light and achy, not just in my stomach.

Do not go to your brain “when did I last eat?”, “What time is it? Oh, it’s lunch time”.

I know for myself and many of my HEMS clients, we have gotten in the habit of eating when we can, and not according to our bodies sensation of hunger.

This my friends results in weight gain.

I have an assignment for you.  Do this when you are at home and during the day (not post nights or 24 hr shift).

This will require a tiny bit of planning.  I want you to plan to allow yourself to get to -5 to -7 on the hunger scale and plan & prep ahead of time what you will eat when you get to -5 to -7.

Here’s how it will look:

  • In the evening, make the plan for the food you will eat the next day when you get to -5 to -7 on the hunger scale.
  • Go to sleep, wake up at your “normal” time (is there such a thing?).
  • Don’t eat until you really feel the sensation of hunger, see if you can reach that -5 to -7.
  • Notice how you are feeling physically.  Describe in detail how it feels in your body.
  • Once you arrive at the -5 to -7 go ahead and eat that already planned out food.

How fun, right?

Nothing bad will happen if you feel hungry.  

This is such a necessary step in weight loss.  

It’s from here that we build layers of tactics and habits that will lead to permeant weight loss.

Have a beautiful weekend.

xxoo.  Valerie

PS.  If you don’t want to gain weight this summer and are curious about what I have to offer, let’s jump on a free consult call, just hit the yellow “Free Consult” button below and pick a day and time that works for you. 🙂