• Monique Jephcote

The congruent relationship between hunger and fullness

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

<--- Who has felt this?

That ravenous “I have to grab everything in sight hunger”.

For me, my body feels hot, my legs feel shaky, and I feel panicked.

It’s different for everyone. And often it takes bringing awareness, reflection, and substantial practise to identify your hunger triggers and fluidly identify at any given moment which level on the hunger fullness (1-10 scale) you’re at.

This ravenous hunger is not a pleasant hunger. It’s “get me food now or I’m going to pass out”.

This use to happen to me a lot when I was entrenched in diet culture many, many years ago. 

Interestingly, this happened to me last week for the first time in about a year. And it forced me to reflect (and REMEMBER how it truly FELT). (I’m really glad it happened actually).

I had flashbacks to a time where I lived my life like this continually when I was bodybuilding competitively (again, many years ago now).

I have no idea how I use to do it... 

I remember when I use to feel like this, I use to force myself to go to sleep (even if it was early) so I wouldn’t go and eat the house down and then subsequently feel guilty for it.

So, the other day when I was experiencing this state for the first time in years, I felt panicked.

My body remembered how it use to be treated, and ignored.... Even so long ago. It was scared it would get ignored again!

I gave my body a big hug & promised it was okay & we’re never going back there. We have come so far and KNOW so much. We have no time for diet culture anymore. “I’m going to feed you – don’t worry!” (Note: Self Compassion - assuring myself it’s all okay).

Self Compassion is INTEGRAL to the journey of Intuitive Eating (truly).

That’s all it needed (+ a bucket load of food straight after!!!). And you bet I gave it to it.

Hunger and fullness are congruent. 

Meaning that if we wait until we are ravenously hungry to eat, it’s likely that we are going to have to over consume to feel any form of fullness that’s meaningful.

When we are ravenously hungry, we ‘eat the house down’.

And that is OKAY.

That’s actually normal.

If this has happened to you, Congratulations! Your body is physiologically and psychologically healthy.

It’s a natural corrective mechanism to starvation/restriction. 

But the catch is that it isn’t healthy to live a life constantly in this state, day in, day out.

Because it’s total disconnection from our bodies. And it doesn't feel great, does it?

It happens every now and then. Of course! Life’s busy in the 21st century.

It also happens more if we’re unaware of it. And also if we think this is normal (example: the diet culture mentality often celebrates this unhelpful line of thinking). And it also happens more if we are unaware of our different hunger states and can't identify them.

The journey of Intuitive Eating helps these moments happen less and less... so they are far and few in between and you can reflect on the why and how behind why it happened (COMPASSIONATELY) and what to do next time as a result. 

Because... ignoring our hunger cues (ether on purpose or unintentional) remains to be: a disconnection from our body. 

Please note: When this happens to you, it’s NOT about beating yourself up. It’s NOT about thinking your out of control for all the food you just ate.

I hear this soo often.... “I can’t believe I just lost all my control.” “I was being so good today”. “Why don’t I have any willpower”. “What’s wrong with me”. 

Remember, your body is in a starvation state when we reach ravenous hunger.

You can only ignore hunger for so long.

It’s a PRIMAL drive to eat. 

You should be grateful your body has your back when your mind has decided to restrict.

Again, this actually means you're psychologically healthy.

Thank God for that! Otherwise we’d perish! 

I repeat. It's not about beating yourself up. Diet Culture beats us all up enough.

Intuitive Eating is about compassionate reflection and interoceptive awareness.

What happened today for this to occur?

Was I busier than usual?

Was I time poor? And did I not prep any food?

Did I exercise more than usual? 

Am I menstruating?

What’s going on in my life right now?

Did I intentionally ignore my hunger or was it unintentional?

Do I even know how to feel hunger?

The answer to these questions often open up a lot of time for reflection and possibilities for you to put mechanisms in place so it doesn’t happen to you all the time.

So you can honour your beautiful body and what it is telling you.

So you can be connected, once again.

When it comes to ignoring hunger cues on purpose, this is a classic diet mentality and often, deeply ingrained belief system.

It’s often important to seek help if this is happening for you as diet culture mentality is strong and hard to get out of alone when you’re in it! 

I am grateful every day of my life for Intuitive Eating, what it has given me, and what it is giving thousands of other people, everyday.

Connection back to themselves.

The Intuitive Dietitian xx

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