Sitting with Hunger

I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. Sometimes, when I am covering up feelings I eat until I can’t move. Rarely, am I hungry. Apparently I don’t like how it feels.
About a week ago I came upon a blog post written by a Greek man who spoke about something that he said is rarely talked about when discussing the Mediterranean way of eating. What he remembers of growing up in Greece is that much of the time he was hungry. He would go to school and get very small amounts to eat throughout the day and there weren’t big meals at his house either. This was just a way of life.
When the “well-fed” contingent of Americans hear about a child who is hungry, we think it is a bad thing and in many cases it is. Obviously, if someone is so hungry that they can’t learn or if it keeps them from fulfilling their life’s purpose than that is a situation that needs to be remedied.
I think, though, that the same can be said for the “overfed” person. If they are eating too much and it is slowing them down in life or keeping them from fulfilling their potential than that too should be remedied.
It has been shown that being a little bit hungry is good for our health. In Okinawa, Japan, home of some of the healthiest people in the world their is a mantra that is said while eating: “hara hachi bu”. This mantra is a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full.
In Crete, an island off of Greece, researchers found that in 1948 the people of the Island were in incredible health even though they had just gone through a period of low food intake because of food shortages during World War II.
There is more to the story as both these cultures not only eat smaller amounts, they also eat slow and healthy.
Since really digesting all this information I have been practicing eating smaller amounts at meals and also being more conscious as I eat. For example, I have been trying to avoid “stuffing” food down my mouth before it is even chewed properly. I have been taking food home from restaurants when it is obviously too much for one sitting. I have been waiting to really experience hunger.
It seems that with a small amount of hunger I am also feeling more clarity. I am also having less discomfort in my body. And I am having more feelings. Feelings make me want to eat so I am trying to sit with them and see what arrives.
I have only been doing this for a few days so I would like to report back in a week or so and let you know more. For now though, it feels positive and I am enjoying more energy and clarity.

One Response to “Sitting with Hunger”

  1. Jon says:

    Experiencing an intermittent fast can certainly be beneficial. This can help to trigger autophagy (cell death) which is how our body cleans up / removes cells that need to go. As you mentioned, your thinking is clearer as well. I was eating 3 meals per day and began experiencing brain fog in the afternoon. I started skipping breakfast most days and my brain fog is gone. There could be many reasons for this but one is that digestion takes a lot of energy away from other bodily processes. Having less to digest, or digesting less often, is easier on the rest of your body. It also gives your body a chance to tap into its fat stores for energy, good thing.
    Be careful with fasting though. Don’t want your body thinking it is starving and thinking it should hold on to its fat reserves. An occasional fast (1-2 times per week) should be fine.
    Interested to know how it goes.

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