I feel hungry during Clean Gut, what should I do?

Hunger: emotional vs. true

Emotional hunger

Arises suddenly
Crave one particular food only
Must be eaten right now
Keep eating even when full
You feel guilty, shameful, or unsatisfied

True hunger

Gradually arises
You’re open to different food options Doesn’t have to be filled immediately You stop when you’re full
You feel good when finished 

When faced with the sensation of “hunger” during Clean Gut, consider the possibility that it might not be true hunger. In our Western culture, what we call hunger is often the physical manifestation of an emotion that is asking to be “numbed” or comforted. If left alone and quietly observed, emotional hunger becomes an opportunity for immense growth. When that “hunger” sensation arises, mindfully keep your attention on it, and ask yourself: What am I really feeling?

If it’s boredom, restlessness or any other emotion, truly allow yourself to feel it. You don’t have to wallow in unhappiness or negativity, but simply recognize what the true feeling is, and put a name to it.

Am I truly hungry or am I feeling anxious / nervous / sad / upset right now?

With a little effort, this exploration can help bring awareness to the difference between true hunger and emotional hunger. Understanding this distinction on a personal level can help stop the cycle of bad habits that lead to food cravings, weight gain, and poor health.

Emotional hunger tips

Hydrate: Drink water, green juice, or have a cup of tea instead. Hydrating yourself during your program is important to keep the bowels moving.

Switch it up: Get up and go for a walk, call a friend or write a letter to a loved one, finish a work project, or simply stay with that feeling and let it rise up and then fall away naturally (which it will inevitably do), without having consumed any food. You may even feel the negative sensation change to a very pleasant one. The sense of empowerment that comes from this change can be amazing.

True hunger tips

Snack mindfully: Eat in serene and distraction-free environments in a mindful way. Any food on the Gut Diet list can be a snack. Guacamole or raw nut butter with veggies, a quick soup, or fresh green juice are great options.

Check in on your daily caloric intake: While we at Clean are not big fans of calorie counting, noticing how many calories you’re eating can be useful. Often, people new to the program will under-eat, and this can cause cravings, anxiety, and poor sleep. The amount of nutrient-dense food a person needs each day depends on their level of activity, but a good benchmark is eating a minimum of 1500 calories and 50-90 grams of protein each day. To help reach this, try adding avocado or a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil to your daily shakes and make sure to eat a good-sized lunch and dinner.

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