As I watching tv last week I saw a commercial for a meal replacement product that is guaranteed to help you lose weight. One thing that struck me was that he was talking a lot about the fear of being hungry. That people who go on diets still get real hungry and that this is a bad thing.
Hunger is not bad. Starvation is. A good hungry is a like a good hurt. In karate we get hit a lot. We get hit on purpose to manage pain on a physical and psychological level. It toughens the body and the mind. After awhile, getting hit by a punch or kick is no big deal and you just keep moving. This is a good hurt. It propels you into the realms of introspection and discovery.
There is also a good hungry. The hunger you feel after a good day of hard work or the hunger you feel from purposeful fasting. Many cultures practice fasting for a variety of reasons, mental, physical and spiritual. It is important for us to really know hunger. It helps us realize that it has many benefits, and in terms of weight management and health, it helps us differentiate true hunger for food/nutrition versus cravings for sweets or emotional comfort.
As a culture, we tend to eat to comfort emotional cravings such as boredom, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, etc. We eat based on clock time...not stomach/nutritional time. Learning and touching hunger shows us the way to see how little we actually need to survive and that a lot of what we consider food is just crap. It can teach us that we can be hungry and okay. I recommend you try going a day and eating only when truly hungry, just not craving a piece of pie cause you're upset or excited. And when you find true hunger just watch it. Embrace it and learn from it. Give it a go.
It's okay to be hungry. It's nothing to fear. It could actually make you healthier.
Thanks for visiting. My Dharma name is Shinzen. I began studying Goshindo Karate under the watchful eye of Shihan Paul Dean in 1969. Yes, I now have gray hair. I am also Lay-ordained in Soto Zen under the tutelage of Rev. Nonin Chowaney of the Nebraska Zen Center.