Becoming an intuitive eater (someone who follows internal cues versus external rules) includes honoring your hunger. It's not uncommon, however, to be disconnected from your body’s hunger cues.
If you’ve been suppressing your hunger signals for a long time, it’s possible you’ve lost your physical sensitivity to them.
For example, if you have a history of dieting, you may have become accustomed to denying and tuning out your hunger. It gets silenced.
If you live a very chaotic, demanding and fast-paced life, you may ignore your hunger, especially if you feel it’s not a priority or there’s no time to eat.
Unrelenting stress and distractions can also dull your senses, making it hard to hear your hunger. So can sleep deprivation.
Perhaps you don’t realize what you're experiencing is actually a sign of hunger. We typically think hunger is felt in the stomach, however, any of the following sensations and symptoms can indicate hunger:
- Difficulty concentrating or articulating your thoughts (i.e., brain fog)
- Feeling light-headed, faint, dizzy, shaky or weak
- Irritability, crankiness or short temper
- Fatigue, low energy or sleepiness
- Dull, gnawing ache in your throat or esophagus
- Stomach emptiness, pain, gurgling, rumbling or growling
Vulnerable to Overeating
When you’re not attuned to your hunger signals, you may not eat until you're ravenous, which leaves you vulnerable to impulsive eating, overeating and binge eating. When such primal hunger hits, all intentions of mindful, conscious eating fly out the window.
Cultivating a healthy relationship with food and your body includes responding to hunger when it comes gently knocking. Every time you do, you develop a higher level of trust and connection with your body.
If you have difficulty getting in touch with your hunger and honoring your body’s wisdom, I encourage you to seek support.