Feeling Hunger

highres_2601663Yesterday I fasted for Yom Kippur, and it never ceases to amaze me – if I actually allow myself to feel hungry (vs fearing it) – how good it feels.

Now please know,  I am not endorsing deliberate starvation by any stretch of the imagination; this is a once-a-year fast that I do in observance of my religion on the holiest day of the year.

A day (24 hrs, sundown to sundown) of fasting showed me that the human body is a complicated thing, and I think in a way, it helped reset my hunger queues; helped teach me what true hunger is.

Though my tummy gurgled (“squiggled” as I call it) during services around noon, I didn’t actually feel real, genuine, pit-in-my-belly hunger until about 6 p.m.

Then hunger came on pretty full-force, but I still needed to wait another two hours til sundown before I could eat/drink.

It made me realize that a lot of the time, when I say “I’m so hungry” I’m really not.

And being unable to eat kept me away from mindlessly munching in the kitchen, something I am 100% guilty of. Some people snack on the couch. Not us. Sometimes we just stand in the kitchen chatting, mindlessly munching.

Last night my husband had class — so I had no noshing companion.

When it came time to break the fast (a little before 8) I was ready, but actually didn’t end up eating everything on my plate — a first!

I am glad I had the opportunity to “feel” hunger. All the years of Weight Watchers taught me to never go hungry, to be prepared with a snack if a craving occurs, etc.

Ask anyone who knows me in real life and they’d probably tell you I usually have a Fuji apple, a nut butter packet, or almonds in my purse at any given moment.

While I see a point to this on road trips/day trips … I’m realizing now that is a very pre-emptive (and unncessary) stance. It’s ok to be a little hungry.

Once again, I certainly don’t recommend fasting to feel hunger. But there are tons of moments where I’ve reached for food out of boredom or anxiety or sadness or joy in the past … and when I couldn’t yesterday …  I was ok.

I didn’t “die” of hunger. I allowed myself to sit with it, feel it … and then when it was time to eat and drink again, it felt … well, divine.

How about you? Do you ever fear being hungry? Did dieting give you that mindset? Have you ever fasted for medical or religious purposes? How did it make you feel?


6 thoughts on “Feeling Hunger

  1. I was thinking the same thing yesterday.
    I was fine until about 5pm, and then I got hungry. It felt good in a way, because as you said, it kept me from mindless eating. And, more importantly, it was a spiritual thing.

  2. I had a very similar thing happen yesterday… I didn’t fast completely, mostly because I wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t want to seriously harm the people around me, but I ate small bits, just to keep my blood sugar up. And I felt hunger. Real, gnawing, headache-inducing hunger. It was nice to have some perspective. Now, onto the harvest holidays! Sukkot on Friday!

  3. sometimes it feels great to be hungry because then it feels even better once you eat. i think it’s a really important part of eating intuitively (which i’ve been trying to stick with for some time now) and i love it 🙂 when i eat just because i’m bored or there’s food around me it’s far less satisfying.

  4. Niamh, that is def. scary!

    Exactly, Anonymous, it was a spiritual thing.

    LOL Mara–yes!! A festive holiday 🙂

    So true, Cassie–when I eat to eat, it’s far less satisfying!

  5. I fear how I will eat after being hungry. I’m more likely to choose the first thing I see, healthy or not. So I try to let myself get slightly hungry but not full on hungry. It has definitely helped me to see the difference between the two.

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