Hunger, you don’t scare me

I wrote in a previous post about how eating to 80% was hard because being hungry has always been such an uncomfortable and anxious feeling for me. I’ve come a long way in the last month — I think I can honestly say that hunger doesn’t scare me anymore.  Which is a big thing for me.

What I’ve learned isn’t anything that I didn’t already intellectually know (though knowing, believing and implementing are all very different things), but putting it into practice been important in moving me forward.  Sometimes when I thought I was hungry, I was bored or wanted to eat to fill a void.  Sometimes the hunger, given a short bit of time, went away on it’s own. I needed to be in tune with my body to figure out what it was trying to tell me instead of automatically eating to shut the feelings up.

Important lessons and it’s made it easier for me not to mindlessly eat. I’ve found that as long as I have no reason to think that I’m going to get a migraine (and I know my triggers), I can sit with hunger.  And it doesn’t kill me!  Nice.

I wonder, though, if it’s possible to go too far with this.  When does it cross a line from not letting hunger cause me to overeat (or what used to pass as a feeling of hunger) to almost enjoying that hungry feeling, knowing that hunger ought to translate to results on the scale?

I’d never be able to have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia — I like food too much for anorexia and find it impossible to do the purge part of bulimia — but now I’m starting to see how you could get addicted to feeling hungry, strange as that sounds (don’t worry – I still don’t like being hungry). It’s almost a heady feeling, being that much in control of your body.

Obviously, I’m quite cognizant that this kind of diet/starvation mentality is not healthy and drifting towards this behavior would bring nothing but devastation. And frankly, I don’t want to live like that, no matter how much it would make the scale move downward, but I still can’t deny that I see what the allure is.  It’s like packaging up a quick-fix to being overweight, right?  Just be strong and have a lot of willpower.  Lucky for me, I have no intention of doing it this way.

The end goal for this whole year-long process is to learn how to eat when I’m hungry (preferably healthy food), eat slowly, and then stop when I’m satisfied. If I can do this on a consistent basis, there should never be a need to starve myself or worry about regaining the weight. My body knows what it needs to survive, it’s just a matter of listening closely and interpreting the signals correctly.