If you’re hungry, you should…
a.) chew gum
b.) drink water
c.) distract yourself
d.) EAT FOOD!
Just imagine that the next time you have to pee, instead of simply peeing you try to chew gum, drink water or distract yourself. The urge to pee will keep getting worse, you will be more and more uncomfortable, and by the time you pee it will take like 5 minutes ? The urge to pee is a biological cue – something your body does to signal that it has an unmet need. Think biological cue = my body speaking to me to take care of it.
Have you ever heard of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment? It would be considered super unethical now, but back in the day (the year 1944) they took a group of men and gave them very little food to see the effects of starvation on the body. The results? They were SUPER obsessed with food. They would coddle food like a baby, write cookbooks, lick their plates, hold food in their mouths for long periods of time before swallowing. They guzzled water, chewed gum, or took up smoking all in an effort to curb their hunger.
Compare this to dieting in the year 2020. Pretty similar, yeah? Our culture promotes disordered eating. It’s not normal or healthy to obsess over food, think about it constantly, ignore your hunger, and chew gum instead of eat.
Hunger is a biological cue. And completely normal. But because our society is OBSESSED with shrinking bodies to the smallest possible degree (regardless if it’s healthy or not), hunger has been demonized, simply because hunger relates to food intake (which diet culture has also demonized). When we ignore our hunger, we usually end up feeling super out of control around food. For example if you have lunch, and then you’re hungry for an afternoon snack but you don’t eat, you may find yourself eating more than is comfortable for dinner.
If we are hungry, we should eat food. If we’re hungry and try any other option besides eating food, our bodies will respond by trying to save us.
Our brains —> will make us think about food a LOT.
Our mouth —> will salivate
Our bellies —> will growl and make noise
Our focus —> will be on food instead of more important things like our to do list, fighting systemic racism.
Hungry —> eat —> move on
Let’s not judge ourselves or others for satisfying our basic needs. I also understand the inherent privilege in this conversation. Not everyone has abundant access to food when hungry and the ability to choose when they eat. But if diet culture wasn’t so busy promoting self-induced hunger, maybe we’d be more fed and energized to tackle real issues. We can’t smash the white supremacist, heteronormative patriarchy (or do anything useful) on an empty stomach!