Monday, January 13, 2014

What is True Hunger?

I recently read Dr. Fuhrman's phenomenal book "Eat to Live." As you probably guessed, the concept is about "Eating to live" as opposed to "Living to eat." For food addicts like myself, living to eat is something we know all too well. I live for the next time I can shovel something down my throat. I look forward to binging. I get excited about eating. But these emotions are not because I'm TRULY hungry. I psych myself into thinking I'm hungry, despite the fact that I just ate 2 hours previously. Dr. Fuhrman defines true hunger as in the throat, NOT the stomach. Here is an excerpt from his website:

I get headaches and I get grouchy as hell if I go too long in between meals. But I have learned that it's because I am neglecting my addiction and NOT my need for food. I've been tested for hypoglocemia, but I came out "clean!" So, it is official that those headaches and bitchiness are not true hunger symptoms.When I was feeling really weird on my trip last weekend I tried eating something because food has always made my headaches go away. I've always associated headaches with hunger. But food did not make me feel any better this time. For years I have paired headaches with hunger, so my mind thinks they are interchangeable. Headache = need to eat. Go too long without eating = headache. Just like someone who is giving up caffeine or cigarettes: the only way to get rid of the headache is to either cure your addiction, or give in to your addiction.

 I explored the thought of "throat hunger" and I wondered if I had ever actually experienced it. I could only think of ONE time in my ENTIRE life where I felt hunger in my throat-- I was in high school. I was a cheerleader and I was obsessed with my looks. Even though I was not fat by any means, I always felt like I was huge because I was bigger than all the other cheerleaders. At 5'8" with muscles, I felt like I looked like an amazon in comparison to the 4'9" size twos. I was feeling really down one day, so I decided to give Anorexia a shot. I didn't eat anything all day. After school let out I had tennis lessons at the country club- I remember pulling up and feeling nauseous. I went straight to the bathroom and dry heaved. There were some chocolate mints in a bowl and I devoured them all. As you can imagine, anorexia was never anything I had a problem with again. I remember thinking how weird it seemed to me that I would feel nauseous if my stomach was empty. How can you throw up if there's nothing in there? That memory stays with me because I have never felt like that since then. 

Our bodies are so much smarter than we give them credit for. Listen to them.


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