Many of us know that eating is often closely tied to our emotional states. When we are excited, we feel the urge to eat out of celebration. When we are upset, we feel the urge to eat out of comfort. Sometimes we even eat out of boredom.
The Hunger Dilemma
I was noticing this last month as I climbed back into Phase 2, that I was having a lot more hunger pangs than I was used to. The first thing I did was check my weight. I noticed I was on the low side so I upped my portions a bit and that seemed to fix the problem. But I was still hankering for food only a few hours after eating. Worst of all, I was hankering for carbohydrates, which is not normal for me.
I decided to sit with the question why? I noticed that my “hunger” was not followed by grumpiness, shakiness, dizziness, or lack of energy. So I was able to rule out low blood sugar (something I haven’t had since going on Metabolic Balance, as it turns out). I tuned into my tummy and felt no sensations of acid reflux, indigestion, or emptiness. So, I was able to rule out gastrointestinal upset. Then I checked in with my mind and that’s when I found it racing around, searching for answers to some very big questions in my life. As I realized this, I noticed my hunger pangs grew!
Putting Hunger Where My Mouth Is
These very big questions in my life have been positioning themselves in my mind as holes, devoid of certainty, and masquerading as emptiness. And I noticed that whenever my mind felt overwhelmed my tummy talked.
To find balance in this situation (because no one likes to feel hungry whether it’s physical hunger or emotional hunger), I started with meditating in the most basic way I knew . . . sitting in silence and focusing on my breath, letting thoughts flutter in and out as they wished. During one of my meditation sessions I saw a picture of sparkling water. I thought, interesting! I’ve never been a sparkling water kind of girl. I’m not big into carbonation, really. But all of a sudden, these images floated in and I could feel my cheeks gush with saliva. I thought to myself, That’s it! I can trick myself into feeling full!
No, not the yellow tang fish in in Finding Nemo (although perhaps a talking fish obsessed with bubbles would also be cathartic!). I started drinking a little sparkling water in the middle of the day when I craved food the most, between meals. The first time I did it I was surprised at how satisfied it felt to bring the bright, fizzy liquid into my mouth and feel it trickle into my stomach, one bubble at a time. After only a few swigs, I noticed my mood lift and my hunger pangs begin to wane. There was something magical happening by letting the texture of the bubbles dance on my tongue. There was something comforting in feeling the carbonation fill my belly.
As I continued my bubbles regimen over the course of a couple of weeks, I noticed food cravings came in less frequent waves. As my body and mind processed my emotions, bubbles helped fill any sensations of emptiness. And as I’ve began to resolve my concerns, I have begun feeling more satisfied with my meals again. More about cravings here!
The big takeaway from this experience was seeing how physically interconnected our emotions are to our food. If we can step back for a moment and assess what we are feeling and why, we can give ourselves the support that we need to stay on track.
Yummy Tip: Bubbly water with a few ounces of fruit juice makes a great addition to any treat meal!
Andrea Stuart is an RYT-500 Yoga Instructor and Reiki Practitioner. When she’s not teaching yoga or doing Reiki she is the editor for Up.St.ART Annapolis Magazine and 65˚ Magazine. To learn more about her, visit her website at www.andrea-stuart.com