“If hunger is a sign of weight loss, then why do we not love to feel hungry, welcoming it like a best friend?”
Now I have really blown any changes at a budding late night infomercial career. But you need to know what you are getting into. There is going to be hunger. For the body to metabolize stored fat, a very simple thing must happen; addition must turn into subtraction, lowering intake of calories below energy burned. It’s so simple, it makes you wonder why we don’t all do it. But weight loss is not the only thing that happens when addition is turned into subtraction. There is hunger. In fact hunger is a sign the body is burning fat.
If hunger is a sign of weight loss, then why do we not love to feel hungry, welcoming it like a best friend? For many, hunger triggers feelings of vulnerability and emotional emptiness, like the sensation of withdrawal from drugs. Conversely, eating can have a drug-like effect of wellbeing and comfort. Hunger feels like a cold shower; eating is evocative of a warm shower, and the higher in fat, sugar and salt, the better.
Over the last seven years I have received downhearted e-mails from people who, although they enjoyed a wonderful fast, fell face first when they ended the fast, gorging on the worst foods. Once the digestive system and hunger shut down, it was easier to fast than to deal with hunger. Even though physical addiction to food is broken during the fast, the biological sensation of hunger holds emotional negative memories just as the biological sensation of eating holds positive memories. For those of you who try starting a weight loss program without the benefits of a fast, you deal with the double whammy of hunger and craving. The force of the craving will be determined by how addictive your diet is. Physiological food cravings will last about three days, but that is usually long enough for failure, especially when we are psychologically ill-prepared.
Dealing with hunger is a necessary admission fee to a life of freedom.
Make Friends With Hunger
There are two kinds of friends: those who tell you what you want to hear, and those who tell you what you need to hear. One leads to stagnation while the other forces growth. Food addiction will tell you what you want to hear, hunger demands you take a hard look at the less presentable parts of yourself.
Friendship with hunger has its benefits, the most obvious being weight loss, but like all healthy relationships, hanging with hunger quickly uncovers the reason you became overweight in the first place. It wasn’t until I made my peace with hunger that I realized that the reason I overate was compensation for an empty lifestyle. You cannot gorge away spiritual emptiness.
Jesus had made His peace with hunger.
"Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?" "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work."
John 4:31- 34
In my early Christian life this scripture would have held about as much meaning as it did for the bewildered disciples. It was just another pious Jesus thing way over the heads of us unworthy followers. Then during my first fast, when all food props were removed, this passage sprang to life. There is a hunger that goes deeper than the belly, and we all have it. It is often mistaken for belly hunger but really it is inside the spirit. Hunger for God. During my fast, there were activities that left me empty and wanting, almost resulting in my breaking the fast. Watching TV left an aftermath of emptiness and dissatisfaction. I quickly learned that success depended on staying away from the bleakness of TV. Then there were events that were profoundly gratifying. After only a few minutes of solitude and prayer, the fast burst with life. Such an infusion of joy goes beyond a Big Mac bliss.
Jesus said that doing the will of the Father was His food. It nourished Him and filled Him up. We need to get this. Food cannot replace a life lacking divine purpose. When I see an obese person, I think, there goes someone who is seeking a deeper infilling. What would happen if that person made friends with hunger? What would they discover about themselves?
Learn to enjoy hunger and not be afraid of it. Hunger will not kill you. Once you conquer the fear of being hungry there is a great sense of freedom and self control.
Related Article: Six Tips To Deal With Hunger During Weight Loss