Hunger: True vs. Emotional

When faced with the sensation of “hunger” during your Cleanse, 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 another 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, and stop the cycle of bad habits that can lead to food cravings, weight gain, and poor health. Here is a useful way to determine if what you are feeling is true hunger:

True Hunger

 Emotional Hunger

Gradually Arises   Arises suddenly
You're open to different food options   Crave one particular food only
Doesn't have to be filled immediately   Must be eaten right now
You stop when you're full   Keep eating even when full
You feel good when finished   You feel guilty, shameful, or unsatisfied

Emotional Hunger Tips

Hydrate: Drink water or have a cup of tea instead. Hydrating yourself during your cleanse is important to keep the bowels moving and to help flush out released toxins. 

Switch it up: Go for a walk, call a friend, 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), 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. Hummus, guacamole with veggies, nut butter on some apple slices, 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 a cleanse 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 1200 calories and 50-90 grams of protein each day. To reach this, try adding avocado, fruit, or coconut oil to your daily shakes. This may vary according to your size and activity level.

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