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Honour Your Hunger

by Tansy Boggon

It’s possible that we’re eating when we’re not hungry due to external influences. How do we honour our hunger in the face of temptation and others’ expectations?

At social gatherings or when out with friends and family I’ve heard people respond to the question, are you hungry, with clarification of what is on offer before responding.

On consideration, they may then respond, ‘I could go Mexican’ or ‘I could be talked into a piece of cake’.

Hunger can arise from the thought of food

Often when asked whether we are hungry, we say ‘I could eat’, because until asked the question we hadn’t felt hungry or considered eating.

However, once the thought of eating is put into our minds, we can find ourselves becoming hungry or developing a desire for the food that is being offered to us, and then believe ourselves to be hungry.

And our thoughts can have a powerful influence on our body.

Just thinking about eating can stimulate our saliva, and release stomach acid and pancreatic juices, to prepare us to eat. Thus, creating sensations of hunger.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re hungry.

a selection of foods that cause us to eat when not hungry

Are we truly hungry?

To consider whether we are truly hungry, we need to take note of whether we were hungry before the thought of eating entered our mind.

We could consider holding off on eating for a moment to bring our awareness to the sensations of hunger; to determine if it is true physical hunger.

We can also take notice of our thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

For example, we may eat because we don’t want our company to feel embarrassed about wanting to eat. Or we may eat as we feel it’s impolite to refuse food that someone has gone to the trouble of preparing for us.

However, we don’t have to eat if when we’re not hungry.

Honouring our hunger

Instead, we could honour, in this case, our lack of hunger and respond to an offer of food with, ‘I’m not hungry right now, but please, eat if you are’. Or ‘I’m not really hungry right now, but don’t let me stop you. I’m happy to enjoy a drink while you have a meal’. Altnerively, we could ask to take some home to eat later when we are hungry.

If we do choose to eat, we can do so observing our level of hunger. So that we can stop eating when we’ve had enough, rather than when we’ve eaten what we think we should to meet others expectations.

Croissant with avocado, berries and broccoli on platter that may tempt hunger

Do you honour your hunger?

Can you relate to putting other peoples hunger or offer of food above your own and thus eating when you’re not hungry? Do you feel you need more practice at honouring your hunger?

Let me know in the comments below.

I acknowledge how hard it can be to honour your hunger, especially since diets fuel hunger and erode trust in our hunger signals. It is my intention to share insights to help you to reinstate this trust and form a more joyful relationship with food. Enjoy!

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