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  • Health and Wellness

    How to Survive the Excruciating Fear of Hunger Pangs

    Hunger pangs…. Know the feeling? I sure have forgotten. Oftentimes I find myself nibbling and munching throughout the day because I am afraid of feeling hungry. Even though my initial hunger pangs are dull and mild in nature, I often overeat to avoid the “inconvenience” and discomfort of feeling hungry. First world problems, right?! As a result, I’ve developed the Hunger Pang Game challenge as a way to reconnect with my body. My intention is to recalibrate my hormones, my satiety, and my overall metabolism. Find out how I’ve learned to survive the excruciating fear of hunger pangs.

    Compounding Effect

    Recently I have started noticing the compounding effect of overeating.
    A typical scenario starts with overindulging late at night after dinner. The following morning I wake up still feeling full and slightly guilty about how much I consumed the night prior. As a big breakfast eater, I choose to consume my traditional breakfast first thing in the morning, despite a lack of appetite. Lunch and dinner follow, usually by my late night snack/ dessert treats.
    Unfortunately, the cycle continues day after day. As a result, the scale continues to climb, pound after pound, until I’m 5 lbs, then 10 lbs heavier “all of a sudden,” and I’m jolted back into taking accountability for my overindulgences.

    Identify Your Eating Patterns

    Why do I eat despite not feeling hungry for food?
    1. The ritual of eating breakfast at the same time every morning is ingrained in me
    2. I’m afraid of being hungry by early afternoon
    3. If I’m working, I’m afraid I’ll be tied up in something and without access to food
    4. I usually want something salty/sweet after dinner to “round-out” my meal

    Taking the Hunger Test

    Once you identify your eating patterns, it’s time to give yourself a reality check.

    Listen to your body.

    Seriously. You’re body is smart. “It” will tell you when it needs to eat.

    No hunger pangs? You’re not hungry! Period. You’re likely eating for reasons linked to anxiety, stress, insomnia, boredom etc.

    Therefore, when you think you’re getting hungry, take the Hunger Test.

     

    The Hunger Test:

    Compare a plate of broiled chicken with steamed broccoli to a serving of tasty carbs.

    Which do you prefer? If you go for the nutrient dense option (which you can modify, for all of the vegetarians/ vegans reading this post), you are likely hungry and should absolutely eat. However, if you are craving sugar and quick carbs, it is unlikely related to true hunger pangs. You are likely having a craving. Drink a glass of water/ sip on an unsweetened coffee/ tea and wait it out. Your craving will likely pass.

    My Past Experiences

    I have tried the Hunger Pang Game in the past multiple times. Here are a few things I’ve picked up on after a few rounds and in different contexts:
    • I can go longer stretches in the day before feeling hungry without reaching for snacks
    • When traveling, I don’t need to accept the snacks the flight attendants hand out if I’m not truly hungry
      • Instead, grabbing a magazine/ reading a book was enough of a distraction to let the mild cravings pass
    • Rate your hunger pang when you are visually stimulated (i.e.: Starbucks signs!!)
    • Think futuristically
      • Mentally congratulate yourself as if you’ve successfully resisted a craving
        • Ie: “I did it! I listened to my body. I wasn’t really craving a [latte] and I’m so glad I didn’t give into a brainwashed habit I’ve adapted to. I’m already healthier by taking a step toward regaining control over my food choices and for listening to my real hunger signals.”

    Cherish Your Small Victories

    Give yourself credit when you listen to your body! It’s not easy to second-guess your body’s signals. It’s not easy to break eating rituals such as breakfast every morning or snacks throughout the day.

     

    It takes patience and confidence that you will literally… survive… without eating … until you notice a real hunger pang.

     

    Take note of your progress. When you start noticing that you haven’t heard a hunger pang in awhile, check back in with this post and restart the Hunger Pang Game. Good luck!

    Get My FREE Guide on How To END Over-Eating!

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