A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living: Hunger

If you’ve been traveling with me since the beginning of this sense-ble look at healthy living, you knew we would get to this sense sooner or later.

The sense of hunger may be the most complicated sense of all. My body letting me know I need to eat something to survive is important. However, why do I eat too much or possibly not enough?

woman thinking about choosing fast food or vegan food

I’ve read about the “normal signs of hunger”: a growling stomach, light-headedness, unable to concentrate, irritability, feeling faint, and headaches. I’ve experienced these signs, which should move me to eat something. However, I truly don’t feel hungry very often. If I’m not trying intermittent fasting, I tend to eat by the clock.

I will sometimes wait for a “perfect” time to eat. This happens at social or family gatherings where there is a lot of chaos. But doing this will throw my schedule off-track. Then, even though I don’t think I’m experiencing a true sense of hunger, I’ll eat more than I need.

If I go back and look at the first sixteen senses I refracted about, I can honestly say that all of them have influenced my sense of hunger (possibly not in a healthy way). I don’t have a response for when someone says they’re really hungry. I just cannot relate. Are you confused yet? I told you the sense of hunger is complicated.

I may not feel hungry because physical hunger slowly builds up. Now that I try to watch my caloric intake, I’ve learned to make sure I enjoy what I’m eating. This conditioning may have helped control my hunger. I know it’s helped me with intermittent fasting, which can be successful — but it’s complicated.

Just when I think I’m in complete control, there are false signs that pop up that I succumb to … and this may be the root of my problem. I don’t handle these very well and will lose control.

These false alarms are well-known and take much of my concentration to figure out what’s real. How many do you struggle with?

  • Crunch hunger – Tension/pressure causing stress that makes me want to chew out my frustrations
  • Mouth hunger – Sight or smell of food overwhelming me and caving in to a craving
  • Mind hunger – Eating on a schedule — It’s noon; time for lunch, right?
  • Thirst or hunger – Signals are mixed and I’m confused
  • Fatigue – I feel tired but it may be a lack of fuel, so I’ll eat something
  • Emotional hunger – I feel a deep emptiness or depression that even an “all you can eat” buffet won’t satisfy

The sense of hunger is indeed complicated and it’s one that I will constantly work on understanding. I need to master the proverb “…eat to live and not live to eat.”

Now, what time is it?


This is part 17 of the multipart series, “A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living.” In my next and final blog of this series, we’ll look to time.

Missed the beginning of our journey through the human senses? Check out the rest of A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living.


5 thoughts on “A SENSE-ble Look at Healthy Living: Hunger

  1. Thank you for your wit and wisdom. I have learned that when I think I am hungry and really really need to eat, I asked myself “are you really hungry? or just wanting to eat”. It has helped that I pre-plan my meals and keep a copy of my daily allowances handy either on hard copy and plastered to the refrigerator or accessible on the computer. Thanks for all you and the other folks do for us at TOPS.

  2. Rick,
    I love your honesty. Your message about hunger rings true for me and I bet many other TOPS members.
    I developed an addiction to food many years ago so hunger is not so reliable for me!
    What has helped me is to eat three meals a day with nothing in between. That’s helped me eliminate am I or am I not hungry. For me it’s also helped to give up my most addictive foods..sugar and flour.
    I love that TOPS allows us to choose a healthy food plan that works for that member.
    Keep up the great work!
    Sincerely, Kathy

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