Are you confused by hunger? Do you hear conflicting messages like …
Fasting is good? But on the otherhand …
Letting yourself get too hungry will set you up for a binge eating attack?
Both perspectives make sense! How can you cut through the noise and understand how to behave properly?
In this post I reveal the ‘Hunger Skills Pyramid’.
I outline why:
- Hunger skills like fasting are more difficult
- Why difficult hunger skills should only be attempted after mastering more basic hunger skills
- How to master fundamental hunger skills like sensing your hunger
How To Understand Things That Make You Not Hungry Commentary:
This video above talks about the skills necessary if you are just beginning your hunger journey.
It’s useful to think of several layers of hunger skills because by thinking about hunger in this way you can understand and sort through all the noise regarding hunger.
Let’s make no mistake here, there are many different messages on hunger.
And now usually, I bash on diets. I go on rants on diets.
But the fact is, there are tons of conflicting messages on hunger that are supported by hard science.
So what gives? How can two valid sources of information come to different conclusions?
Well … it all comes down to the sample size.
Let’s take the research done on fasting versus the research done on binge eating.
Fasting research says that fasting helps promote digestion, among other positive benefits.
In this study, not eating periodically is seen as a good thing.
However, not eating is seen as a horrible thing when you’re talking about binge eating.
Not eating is seen as a message from diet culture.
Don’t when you’re hungry! Use willpower! Lose weight!
These messages are horrible. These are NOT How To Understand Things That Make You Not Hungry
In the binge eating research, not eating only means there is some time soon in the future where you overeat.
So now we have the same phenomena … not eating … but with two drastically different results.
How can not eating be both good and bad?
Well, let’s come back to sample sizes.
The scientists studying fasting probably started out with individuals who were already …
- attuned to their hunger signals
- had no struggles with food
- were not struggling with weight
Now that’s not to say that all fasting research has been done on healthy eaters, but sample differences mean a lot.
On the otherhand, binge eating research may have done primarily on people who … well, suffer from habits of binge eating.
In essence, different types of people … or rather … people with different hunger skills are being studied.
The fasting group of people have had more practice and have more developed hunger skills.
The binge eating group of people have had less practice and time to develop their hunger skills.
This is not meant to be a moral judgment, but simply a factual observation. There are indeed good observations on How To Understand Things That Make You Not Hungry
By thinking of our eating in terms of skills, we can understand where we are on the skills hierarchy.
And then we can avoid the dangerous information that will only confuse us at our skill level.
For example, a beginner piano player is told to practice his or her scales.
But at a higher skill level, its much rarer to hear a professional musician practicing their scales.
The advice is not valid for different skill levels.
And the exact same thing is true with hunger.
It’s foolish to think that everyone has the same hunger.
It’s crazy to think that everyone feels, hears, understands and correctly interprets the messages of hunger.
People are different.
And at Eating Enlightenment, we realize that people have different skills of hunger and that it’s important to recognize.
So how do you improve your hunger skills?
Well, great question.
It’s like all things when you are trying to improve a skill.
First you need to practice.
Then you need to get feedback.
And then you need to adjust.
And you need to practice again.
Let’s break these things down in context of hunger.
You can practice listening to your hunger (and thereby improving) every time you eat.
During this process you’ll discover Good Things That Make You Not Hungry!
I recommend a journal, but not a perfectionist journal. A curiosity journal.
Then after you eat or before you eat, make a few notes about your experience.
See if you can sense your hunger and what it’s telling you.
Perhaps in the beginning you aren’t sure what sensations your hunger means.
But then you reflect later on and then realize the gurgling in your stomach meant you were starving and needed to eat.
You can also reflect on your beliefs regarding hunger as you do this exercise.
What do you feel about hunger?
Is it a sign that you are about to faint, or a message from nature telling you to eat?!
Let me know what you discover.