Living With Some Hunger
I am sometimes amazed at the reactions of some of my patient’s when I suggest to them they must learn to live with some hunger. I occasionally get a shaking head and a guffaw as though such a thing were incomprehensible and certainly impermissible.
Many of us are brought up believing that hunger is a very important, natural drive which must be listened to, must be obeyed, and never ignored. For many of us our childhood was one of constant questions by parents and grandparents, “are you hungry, are you hungry?” and was also accompanied by constant efforts to feed us and encourage us to eat more, to finish our plate and consume, consume, consume. So many of us were conditioned to search for that hunger feeling and then work to satisfy it.
Some people are very unfamiliar with the idea of living for hours, or long parts of the day, with hunger. And some people would consider that a rather radical change of lifestyle that would be very uncomfortable and very difficult to do. Yet for so many people today who are having to face new diagnoses, like type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, higher lipid levels (cholesterol and triglycerides), fatty liver infiltration, gastroesophageal reflux disease, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, weight gain is already forcing uncomfortable and unwanted life changes. So the question is not really whether living for hours at a time, or parts of days, with some hunger is uncomfortable, unpleasant or unwanted. The question is really whether that discomfort is preferably to all of the associated types of discomfort and suffering that come from weight gain and obesity.
Most people, today, that I know who are physically fit and maintain a health body weight, do live with some hunger. Yes, its true, though it may surprise you. Most people in this day and age who are managing to maintain a healthy weight are doing so through a combination of strict adherence to a reasonable calorie intake, plus a concerted effort to burn more calories with exercise. Pretty simple. Plain and simple this means living with some hunger.
It means stopping short of that full, satisfying feeling when you are eating a meal. It means pushing back from the table and moving on to something entirely different than eating, even though there is plenty of good food left to eat and there is plenty of room left in the stomach. It means going without dessert, even though dessert would taste absolutely fantastic, hit the spot and get rid of that last vestige of hunger that you still feel. It even means sometimes having just a protein bar, even though you want to dive into a much bigger portion of food that would, in the past, have served as a “snack”.
Yes, that means that you may go hours or a long part of the day feeling some hunger. Try this if you have not done so. It is not the end of the world. Learn to control your hunger and live with some of it. Don’t let it control you.