Friday, December 31, 2010


Here are 3 exercises you can try now, to begin getting in touch with what your body has to say to you about hunger.

This is simply about noticing how you feel, not about keeping yourself from eating. It's true that sometimes hunger turns out to be a stand-in for an emotional need that could also be met in other ways; and it's true that observing your hunger may change it. It's also true that one way to deal with a craving that feels out of control is to stop and notice your emotions when that craving comes up. But when chronic dieters try to apply these concepts to normal eating, hoping to reduce their caloric intake through emotional insight, they become just another way of saying food is bad and hunger is something we should all try not to feel. My hope is that these exercises will help you let go of judgments about what you "should" feel, and notice what you actually do feel. Try any or all of these when you feel hunger or a craving for food.

1) Take a moment to check in with your body. Where exactly does the feeling of hunger or craving reside? Breathe deeply and imagine your breath going into that spot. 

2) What emotion does your hunger feel like? Is it some species of anger (eg irritation, rage), fear (dread, nervousness, worry), joy (excitement, anticipation), or sadness (loneliness, emptiness, lethargy)?

3) What goes through your mind when you're hungry? You might want to get out a journal or a sheet of paper and jot down whatever thoughts, memories, or feelings come up. Write quickly; don't censor or edit; let the ideas be random if that's how they occur to you.

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