• Emma Green

Your relationship with hunger


For a long time I had a difficult relationship with hunger. When I was struggling with my eating disorder, I enjoyed feeling hungry because it gave me permission to eat and was confirmation that I was doing things ‘right.’ But hunger would then trigger anxiety over exactly what I should eat and how much. It was all so messed up. Even after working on my relationship with food, I still struggled a lot with eating when I wasn’t hungry but when it was practical to eat because I wasn’t going to be able to have food until much later. When I was tracking macros, I recognised hunger but only when it was extreme. The more subtle cues for hunger were totally unknown to me. Now I know when I am hungry, even if it’s not extreme, and I’m totally okay with eating when I’m not hungry as a form of self-care. I’ve learned that my hunger is different day to day, some days it’s barely there and other days, I feel like a bottomless pit. I don’t overthink this, I just roll with it. I think the healthiest relationship with hunger is one of non-judgmental awareness. Where you know when you’re hungry and honour it even if you only ate recently or were not expecting to feel hungry for whatever reason. It’s also important to give yourself permission to eat when you’re not hungry. It might be practical to eat at a certain time, or you might feel in need or the energy or maybe there’s just some food that looks really good and you want to eat. Go with it and move on.

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