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’.
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.
Our thoughts can have a powerful influence over our body. Just thinking about eating can stimulate pancreatic juices and saliva, preparing us to eat, and therefore creating sensations of hunger.
To consider whether you are truly hungry, take note of whether you were hungry before the thought of eating was put into your mind. Consider holding off on eating for a moment, and bring your awareness to the sensations of hunger. Consider whether there are feelings of guilt that compel you to eat, which may be the case if you don’t want those in your company to feel embarrassed for wanting to eat when you’re not hungry. Consider that someone else’s desire to eat is not honouring your own hunger. If you truly aren’t hungry, you may try to make them feel comfortable with their hunger. You could respond by saying, '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 whilst you have a meal'.
If you choose to eat, be observant of your level of hunger and eat an appropriate volume of food to your hunger. If you aren't all that hungry you may choose an entree or side dish, or ask for a small slither of the cake. Observe how your body responds and stop eating when the hunger subsides, rather than simply eat for the sake of eating or to finish everything that has been served.
Remember to honour your hunger.