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Am I hungry?

Many researchers believe if we can't naturally recognise when we are hungry and full, we can learn how to identify our satisfaction.

A number of techniques to do this have been suggested, but finding one which works is easier said than done. Trust me. I know this from personal experience!

Hunger and fullness continue to haunt me on a daily basis. I constantly ask myself: 'Am I hungry or is it boredom?', or, 'Have I eaten enough? Am I still hungry?' It's very frustrating.

I can't give you a set of skills to accurately recognise your feelings of hunger or fullness, because I haven't yet found the magical set which works. In my opinion, it doesn't exist. What I am going to give you is an exercise which takes a different approach than what you may be used to.

If you are struggling with recognising feelings of hunger or fullness, try this. (A warning for men: I know this might seem 'un-bloke-like' but put aside your bench-pressing prowess and have a go – it definitely helps me.)

Satisfaction guaranteed exercise

Basically, this is a conversation with yourself about hunger and fullness.

Try to imagine a time recently when you ate, but you weren't sure as to whether you were really hungry. Or recall a time when you didn't recognise you were full, yet you kept on eating. Write a 'dialogue' between yourself and an imaginary person, giving this other person the right to say whatever they want to you, regardless of how 'mean' it may seem. Your side (of the conversation) argues in support of your actions, validating why you ate or giving reasons why you didn't recognise you were full. The other person answers in whatever way you imagine they would.

The goal of this exercise is to give voice to your feelings so you can begin to understand what is happening inside your head when you try to resolve feelings of hunger or fullness. You may be surprised at how judgemental you imagine the other person to be. Do you think this reflects reality?

Date modified: April 3 2017
First published: May 2009

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