It might sound ridiculous but I think I have a fear of hunger. Go back three years ago and it was a fear of food itself. I like to think of this as the perfect example as to how eating problems can linger for years and how once you overcome one obstacle, another arises. Well, to this obstacle i’m saying enough is enough. I want to be able to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied and comfortably full. I want to not have to bring a stash of snacks with me wherever I go and not plan the days events around my meals. I’m hoping this post will not only potentially help others recognise their own fear of feeling hungry, but will also encourage me to get my butt in gear and give this intuitive eating malarkey a go for real.
I can’t tell you when this idea of fearing hunger first came around, but it has definitely controlled my life to an extent for at least the past year. It’s certainly not as controlling as starving myself – I am able to eat out with friends, I feel energised and my body is no longer deprived – but it still holds some impact on a day to day basis.
When I was in the grasp of my eating disorder I would plan and calculate my intake non-stop. It would take up a good chunk of my day. When you fall into a habit it’s hard to break out of and that is exactly what has happened. I still find myself subconsciously planning what I’m going to eat in the day and when, but this time it’s not to ensure that I don’t go over my allocated ‘allowance’ of fat, sugar or carbs, it’s to ensure that I am not left at any time feeling ravenous. This means that when it hits a certain time I feel a requirement to eat even if I’m not overly hungry. What if I don’t eat a snack mid-afternoon and it hits 5 and I’m hungry but it’s ‘too early’ for dinner but ‘too late’ for a snack? I know that the answer is nothing and that if I’m hungry, I’m hungry. I can have a small, light snack if need be or just hold off an extra hour. It’s not the end of the world. However, there is part of me that believes it is.
Like overcoming any fear, it has to be tackled head on. I have to have the will-power and drive to stop myself from eating a huge lunch if I’m only feeling a little hungry or stop myself from eating dessert even when my dinner has left my body satisfied. If I had the drive to stop starving myself then I sure as hell have the drive to do this.
So, this is goodbye to changing the times of meeting with friends because it doesn’t fit around my ‘meal times’ and hello to those hunger pangs. I don’t even know if I’m the type of person to get hangry! I’m not expecting this journey towards intuitive eating to be easy. I know there may be days where I slip up, but that’s normal in the path of recovery. I live in hope that one day I will have no eating issues whatsoever and that my relationship with food will be a healthy one once more, but in the meantime this next obstacle will be tackled head on.