Making Friends with Hunger: How to Nourish (Not Just Fill) Your Body

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– by Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo

I am really hungry as I write this.  I’m participating in The Raw Divas juice cleanse for the next 10 days and I am on day 2 now.  While I love the feeling of lightness and the flatter belly that has resulted from just one day on all juice, I do need to get used to the hunger.

I’m participating in the program as both a juice cleanser and a juice mentor.  I contributed 9 recipes to the menu planner, shared lots of expert advice on how the cleanse should be put together, and I have been interviewed and available for questions and answers about juicing on two calls so far.

On Monday evening’s call, Tera Warner and I discussed how important it is to make friends with hunger. Being on a juice cleanse really brings hunger to the foreground and knowing how to handle hunger in this context provides excellent preparation for making good choices in the face of hunger during your everyday life.

What is Real Hunger?

strategies for handling hungerHunger is, after all, just a sensation a biological urge that needs to get satisfied in the proper time and place.  We don’t always get to satisfy our biological urge to eliminate or have sex just as soon as they make themselves known, do we?

Instead, we live with the sensation until the proper time and place is available to us.   It’s quite a laughing matter to imagine what the world would be like if we didn’t exercise restraint in the face of the urge to eliminate or procreate, isn’t it?

Learning to feel hunger and defer acting on it until the time and place are ideal, meaning that health promoting food is available, is a very valuable skill to learn. All too often I hear from people I’m coaching that they were doing great on their healthier diet until…

  • They were travelling and got hungry on the road and stopped for fast food (really the ultimate fast food on the road is buying produce at the supermarket!!)
  • They were visiting someone who served a meal and when they found that “just plain salad” was not filling enough, they indulged in the French fries and potato salad to “fill themselves up”.
  • They were out running errands and got hungry so they grabbed whatever they could find… usually some sort of health depleting snacks.

These are just a few of the excuses you may have when you find it hard to make choices that promote your health rather than deplete it. I’m sure you can think of many more!!!

Why is it Important to Address Hunger?

Despite how you may feel at first, hunger is not an obstacle on your path to wellness.  If you want to reduce your midline, clarify and focus your thoughts, and keep your blood sugar humming along at the optimal level, you just need the right strategies for overcoming the barriers.  Your solutions depend on a number of factors including:

  1. learning to live with hunger and to appreciate it for what it is: your body’s desire to be fueled with nourishment (not filler).
  2. preparing in advance for meals on the run and knowing how to make quick and healthy recipes.

blood sugar and belly fatDid you know that blood sugar irregularity is one of the top causes of excess belly fat?  Even slender people sometimes have excess fat around the middle!   Contrary to popular belief, eating LESS frequently is better for your waistline than eating every couple of hours.

I’ll share some of the latest research on blood sugar, belly fat and brain fog in an free webinar on August 18, 2011.  Details will be available and registration will open at the end of the week, so stay tuned.  On the webinar, I’ll share a few of my top strategies for making friends with hunger and keeping your blood sugar nice and steady so you can decrease your risk for developing diabetes and heart disease, the most serious side effects of blood sugar imbalances.

I just made myself another juice and my tummy feels satisfied and my brain feels recharged.  While it’s not so easy to do, juice cleansing is worth the effort.  I’ve already dropped 3 pounds and it’s only the second day.  The only thing that will deter me from completion is feeling like I’ve dropped too much weight or feeling that I am too weak to continue my daily tasks. Neither are likely to happen, as long as I continue to drink enough.

How to Become Friends with Hunger and Start Nourishing Your Body:

I can deal with the hunger.  It’s just another sensation.  While juicing, I KNOW my body is getting all the nutrition it needs, so I can learn to deter the desire to eat and chew until the cleanse is over in 8 days.

If you’re afraid of hunger, here’s a 3-step strategy you can do to help you make friends with hunger:

  1. drink more waterTomorrow morning, instead of immediately making yourself breakfast when you get out of bed, do something else.  Start by drinking a tall glass of water.
  2. Add a few drops of essential oil to it so it seems luxurious.  My favorites are peppermint, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and basil.  I have fun with my water throughout the day by making it taste good.
  3. Often the experience you perceive as hunger is actually thirst.  Drink first, wait a half hour and if still hungry, eat then.

You’ll notice the best results if, rather than being afraid of hunger, you shift your attitude and thank your hunger for its reminder to replenish your nutrient stores.

This exercise will help you to make friends with your hunger so it doesn’t control you.

You’ll be surprised at how much happier you feel when hunger is your friend.

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1 Comment

  1. Molly Parkhurst

    I did a search on Making hunger Your friend and this article popped up. It’s great! I am doing intermitten fasting and Dr. Fung’s youtube video from yesterday showcased (at the end) a man who had great success breaking through a weight loss plateau. His best advice for the rest of us? Make hunger your friend… This is an aha moment for me as Inhave been stuck in a mindset of struggling through until I break my fast each day.



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