Today I want to talk about Beck's Day 12: Practice hunger tolerance. The "how" to do this is a pretty simple exercise Beck gives us that, if followed, results in us overcoming any fear of hunger that we may have. I've written about hunger many times here on HGK, so if you are looking for more, check out this and this.
But the why of hunger tolerance is so important that I want to focus on it again here. To me, hunger tolerance includes all of the following things:
- Understanding that just because you feel a hunger "pain" it doesn't mean that it is appropriate to eat (unless you want to remain overweight).
- Getting over any fear of hunger you may have. For example, if you experience a hunger sensation followed by thoughts like, "I have to eat something soon or I am going to get a headache, pass out, become hypoglycemic or experience any other undesirable side effect" then this subject is for you.
- Knowing that hunger is not an emergency.
- Understanding that naturally thin people do not fear hunger. When they are hungry, they might look at their watch. If it's a scheduled meal time, they eat. If not, they talk to themselves and say, "Hmmm, that's interesting. I feel hungry. Lunchtime is in one hour. I'll be eating then." They don't run over to the vending machine in a panic or go over to their refrigerator looking for an in-between meal snack. If they did that every time they felt hungry, they wouldn't maintain their healthy weight!
- Embracing the idea that hunger is healthy and is a sign that our body is working properly.
- Knowing that eating every time that we perceive we are hungry is unnatural and unhealthy. In my opinion, it is a major contributing factors to the overweight epidemic we are experiencing. The idea that we should eat six small meals per day in order to never experience serious hunger results in two negative things (1) the over consumption of calories, because let's get real, how small would those six meals have to be in order to remain within our calorie requirements? and (2) the prevention of our body's natural detoxification processes. When our body is in digestion all day long, it never enters the cellular detoxification phase. To read about toxic hunger, check this out.
Do you have a good relationship with your hunger? Are you able to withstand reasonable periods of hunger without eating something?
Have you worked this step in Beck? What has your experience with Step 12 been?