Chasing Freedom

The Gift of Hunger

By February 26, 2012December 6th, 20142 Comments

1-Hungry KidI sat on the couch in the office of my dietitian, anxious to hear her thoughts. During my last appointment some concern was raised, as I had recently fallen back into some unhealthy eating disorder behaviors. So this session was an important one. Something needed to change – and quickly. She asked me how I was doing and I responded that I had been more consistent with my eating than I had been in the months prior. Intrigued, she queried as to what had changed. I sat there shaking my head, as to imply that nothing had changed. And then, after a long pause, I uttered these magic words: “What has changed is that I am hungry.”

I thought she was going to jump out of her chair at the sound of those simple words. And for the next thirty minutes she shared with me what a gift – a blessing – it was that I was feeling hunger again.

That afternoon was a pivotal one, as I was reminded that hunger is my friend. To be hungry means that my body is working, functioning as it should. I was reassured that to feel hunger is normal, a God-given gift. My dietitian explained that it is a natural response for the body, during stressful times, to have a reduced appetite. No appetite plus a history of anorexic tendencies equals a possible relapse. So the fact that I was experiencing hunger pangs and tummy growlings was the first step in getting back on track with my recovery. Hunger had prompted my motivation to eat again, and that was a wonderful thing. Lastly, she applauded me for exercising self-care (something we talk about a lot). By honoring the most basic need of survival, I was taking care of myself.

I am ever so grateful that my body eventually kicked into gear, and that I honored the hunger instead of denying it, which would have only prolonged my suffering. When in doubt, don’t fight the hunger. Accept the gift.


Related article: Understanding Hunger and Fullness Cues.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • AJY says:

    Thank you for the insight. It is interesting how the stress response reduces or negates the hunger sensation. Yet, it is such a good reminder when the hunger sensation settles in, take care of it and accept it as a gift. Thank you for your words, Valerie.

  • Eugene says:

    Hi Valerie,

    It’s Eugene over at the +Parenting blog. Thanks for sharing your experience with great honesty. It makes me think of Philip Yancey’s writings about how pain can be thought of as a gift, too, although pain seems more a result of the Fall than hunger, which seems like a built-in part of Abba’s creation. Now that I think about it, it also makes me think of when my body says “you need rest” and I don’t listen. Best wishes for your many endeavors down there in South O.C.

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