Chances are, you know what it feels like when your body is hungry. Maybe you feel discomfort in your stomach, or you hear it making noises; you might get a headache or feel light-headed if it’s been too long since you’ve eaten. The body has so many ways of letting us know that it needs some nutritional input, but what happens when you ignore these signals?
People who are struggling to lose weight or maintain their weight by limiting their intake of food or calories may look at the signs of hunger as distractions or temptations that need to be overridden by will power.
But our physical hunger is there for a reason, and if we deny it for long enough, hunger has a way of impacting our personality in both subtle and significant ways. In this compelling new video from #IPEtv, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, shines a light on the often-overlooked impact that a constant state of hunger can have on the way we respond to life. Tune in, and what you learn may surprise you!
Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Hi! I’m Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Today’s Topic: Is Your Hunger Affecting Your Personality?
The more I work in the fields of nutrition and eating psychology, the more I learn. After over three decades of very intense professional exploration, I’m still amazed at how much more there is to know.
This is especially true when it comes to this thing called hunger.
Hunger, as we know, is a normal and natural function of human existence. Hunger is here to remind us that we need to eat, we require food, the body needs nutritive substances that live outside of it, we need to ingest such foods, and the result will be that life will continue. If we didn’t have hunger, we might very well forget to eat, we might not think about it, and we would foolishly starve or under-nourish the body.
But here’s the challenge:
A lot of us have a fascinating relationship with food, weight, and hunger.
And this fascinating relationship often has us practicing some form of food or calorie restriction. After all, if we want to lose weight, the best way to do that is to surely limit the amount of food or calories that we’re consuming. And there are plenty of people who aren’t necessarily looking to lose weight, but they want to maintain the weight that they already are at – which once again, often means restricting caloric intake.
Perhaps you know people like this. Oftentimes, they adopt a diet of very “light” fare – salads, veggies, a limited amount of fat, a limited amount of protein, and a constant supply of low calorie foods that never truly meet the body’s nutritional needs, which ultimately results in a consistent experience of hunger. Such people might literally train themselves to subsist on a nutritionally inadequate diet.
So here’s the punch line: the net result of all this can be quite problematic. Oftentimes, those who are artificially restricting their food intake:
1. Are secretly hungry
2. They’re constantly desiring more pleasurable food
3. They might be craving substances like fat, or sugary food, or any food for that matter
4. They live in a constant state of fear of appetite
5. They live in a constant state of trying to control
6. They live in a constant state of vigilance around food and hunger
7. It’s hard for them to be fully present
8. They can be quite spacey
9. They can be very moody – you’d be moody too if you were hungry all the time!
10. They often have a quality of feeling disconnected
11. They might have difficulty concentrating
12. They’re on edge
13. They’re not so sharp
14. Such food restrictors can exhibit signs of poor circulation – feeling cold, having cold hands and cold feet
15. And perhaps worst of all, they often have difficulty losing weight – and for the simple reason that metabolism will adjust downwards when the body consistently registers a lack of nutrition. It thinks it’s on a desert island. It wisely slows down metabolism so we can burn food more slowly and store fat more vigorously – both of which are ideal survival strategies for the human body in the face of a limited food supply.
Might this list describe anyone that you know?
I hope you’re seeing how a constant state of hunger can have an impact on who we are and how we show up in the world.
There are all sorts of connections we can make between the nutritional chemistry of the body and the mental/emotional state that occurs when we food restrict.
Those who are artificially limiting the body of food will often times have signs of clinical or subclinical fat deficiency and protein deficiency. Such nutritional shortcomings will directly impact mood, memory, cognition, attention span, and mental performance.
We literally can be short-cutting ourselves on the production of key hormones and neurochemicals that fuel our brain chemistry and inform our personality.
So here’s the remedy:
• Relax and eat
• Welcome your hunger
• Nourish yourself
• Let your body find its natural weight
• Let go of having the body of a teenager if you’re indeed not a teenager
• Wake up and be realistic about what food really is, and how you’re acting around it
Realize that if you are in a constant state of hunger, it’s impacting your life, and chances are, those around you are noticing the effects of your literal nutritional deficiencies that are driving your brain to scream, “HUNGRY!”
Life is about being here, and being present and awake. Save your sleeping time for when you’re in bed at night. Don’t let intense food restriction create the kind of personality and brain chemistry where you sleepwalk through the day.
I hope this was helpful.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you.
In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment! Thanks so much for your time and interest.
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