Hunger: What Are You Really Craving?
My body is amazing at letting me know I’m disconnected from my deeper self. Take last week for example, each day I found myself wanting sugar. And this was not just a moment spent pondering how nice a piece of chocolate would taste but a persistent drone of all my biochemical signals telling me I needed something to fill me up.
And because we don’t keep any of the junk I was craving in my home, I ended up binging on some gluten-free pumpkin bread, spread with a generous serving of peanut butter and a raw chocolate bar I found in the back of the fridge.
I went through a lot of peanut butter that week.
This is not about the issue of starving yourself, nor is it about the hunger that comes from restricting too many calories. This is the type of hunger that starts right back up again once you’ve eaten that piece of chocolate and only transforms when you’ve finished the whole block. And of course, it doesn’t transform into peace and satiation. It morphs into an agonising mix of guilt and shame.
Here are some of the things to explore when you can’t stop the hunger or are craving things that don’t support your highest good. I’ve also included the affirmations I use to transform these issues.
Thirst and hunger originate from the same Hypothalamus nuclei in our brain – the Lateral Hypothalamic Area. This means signals can get confused and we can think we’re hungry when really we’re thirsty. When we have too little fluid in our bodies it lowers our blood pressure and our body thinks it needs food. Try drinking water and see if it alleviates your hunger.
Affirmation: I am in tune with what my body really needs. I fill my body with thirst-quenching water.
When your diet doesn’t have as much nutritious and healthy food as it needs, your body will go into nutritional starvation mode. This is when your cells are deficient of minerals and vitamins and they cry out for more. However, in a culture where we have grown up being seduced by addictive, but nevertheless lifeless and processed food, it’s hard to make sense of these signals. It is only when you begin infusing your body with life-giving food that you realize what you were hungering for all along.
Affirmation: I feed my body the fuel that energises and nourishes me in every single cell of my being. My cells receive nutrients rather than toxins to make them feel full and complete.
Stress is about forgetting everything else but staying alive. Your desires, intentions and good health routines get thrown out the window. You become preoccupied with the state of feeling unsafe and threatened and after your late night at work you opt for take-out, spiking your blood sugars; or you reach for the ice cream to calm your nerves.
Stress keeps your sympathetic nervous system active (fight or flight!) and won’t allow your parasympathetic system to do what it does best: rest and digest. When your digestion is impaired you won’t be assimilating or absorbing nutrients and your body will activate its hunger programs.
Affirmation: I am slow and calm throughout life’s chaos. The more I rest, the more I digest my experiences for my greater good.
Sweetness and reward
Ingesting sugar has been shown in studies to release opiods and dopamine in the brain. This rewards us with pleasurable feelings, one of the basic underpinnings of our human drive. When you’re craving sugar, you may really be craving pleasure and reward in your life.
When this comes up in kinesiology balances, I often ask my client: “Does your sweetness come from within, or do you feel the need to seek it from external sources?” The same reward pathway is often triggered for all addiction issues. Often we try to mask our pain with external pleasures. If you go within your sweet cravings you will find parts of yourself feeling bland and joyless.
Affirmation: Sweetness is an infinite spring bubbling within me. Who I am is sweet and joyful and abundant. I chose to feel and acknowledge the pain within me, rather than mask it, in order to uncover my essential sweetness.
Chi is the energy of our life force. When it’s not flowing, we will feel tired, deflated and uninspired. Our food cravings may be the result of our own sabotage patterns that stop us doing the things that build and rejuvenate our chi. Instead of consuming the refined sugar that gives us a short and empty kick of energy, what we really need is to refill the well of our inner chi so that it becomes overflowing.
Taking a walk in the forest, laughing with friends, doing Tai Chi or charging your chakras will do more for your chi circulation, bioelectricity (the electric potential across cell membranes) or photonic energy (light) than any biscuit ever will.
Affirmation: I rejuvenate my chi until it overflows from my internal well. I seek out the things that light me up and energise me and it feels good and natural to do so.
Your soul’s hunger
Your soul always desires to step out of pain and into your light. Hunger on this level is really about the true hunger of not living a life from the totality of who you are.
Your hunger will increase when the distance between how you currently live your life and how you really desire to live it seems too immense. Nothing will fill you up apart from acknowledging and activating your unique brilliance.
Affirmation: I live from the wholeness and the completeness of my being. I am full and inspired across all dimensions of who I am.
Next time you feel the craving of a hunger that can’t be satiated, explore the origins of that hunger before reaching for the peanut butter and chocolate. Your hunger is a complicated beast; present across many aspects of your self. Let your self make peace with the sensations as it guides you lovingly into the sweetness of who you are.
For me, I soon worked out that my hunger was about too much stress and not enough rejuvenation. Some tai chi and watching the sunset soon made me feel full again.