Why Mental Hunger IS Physical Hunger
I am very excited for today’s topic and that is all about why mental hunger is physical hunger. And before you think, "Wait whaaat? That sounds like such a paradox!" hear me out. This simple but mega powerful reframe of “hunger” will totally change the way you think about “mental” hunger and thus make it so much easier to embrace it!
Before we get into the biology behind why mental hunger is actually just another form of physical hunger, let’s talk about why honoring mental hunger is so difficult.
For starters, it isn’t that you actually find it difficult to honor mental hunger, it’s what you BELIEVE it means to honor mental hunger that makes it difficult.
What I mean here, is that having mental hunger itself is not the problem. And this brings me to one of my favorite quotes and that is: a problem is only a problem when viewed as a problem.
To give a tangible example here completely UNRELATED to food or exercise, say I ordered a table. I ordered a rectangular white kitchen table at Ikea. But instead of a white table being delivered, Ikea sent me a black table! Ugh, now I have a problem! But is it really a problem? I mean, it’s just a different color table. In fact, if I had originally ordered a black table, there wouldn’t be a problem at all!
So what’s the reason for my problem if it isn’t actually the table itself? It’s that I believed I would get a white table, but got a black one instead. Because the reality of the situation clashes with the belief I hold about the situation, my brain has translated the situation into a problematic one that can only be solved once I align the reality of the situation with my desired outcome.
But now here’s the kicker: what if I shifted my mindset to believe that a table is just a table, and in the end, the color doesn’t really matter? Suddenly, my problem would be solved and in fact, I’m now super happy because I finally have a table! In that moment, nothing about the situation changed, yet I no longer feel conflicted. This is the power of shifting your mindset. You can turn a miserable situation into a wonderful one just by choosing to view the situation in a different light.
So how does this all tie back to mental hunger? Well, it’s the same idea. You’ve been conditioned to believe that mental hunger doesn’t “count” and “cannot be trusted”! And because you hold these beliefs, honoring your mental hunger would create a perceived problem, because it clashes with what you believe you “should” do. The keyword here is perceived; just like in the table example, you only have a problem when you believe there should have been a different outcome. If you accepted your mental hunger for what it is just as any other bodily sensation, you could honor it and move on with your life.
But how do we shift our mindset around mental hunger? Now here it comes, simple reframe that will change the hunger game. And that is: mental hunger is physical hunger! Why?
Because mental hunger occurs in the brain...and last time I checked, the brain is part of the physical body.
Just as you can feel physical pain in other parts of your body besides your hand, you can feel physical hunger in other parts of your body besides your stomach.
So why do you feel so guilty when you do feel hunger in your mind? Because you’ve been conditioned to believe that hunger occurring anywhere but your stomach is “wrong.” But again, wrong, right, good, bad, should, shouldn’t – these are all subjective labels that keep you trapped in a life of limitation and fear as long as you enslave yourself to them.
The only way to become truly free is to to break free; is to stop being a slave. At any given moment, you have the power to change the way you view a situation and to shift your mindset. Because shifting your mindset is at the very core of not only recovery from an eating disorder, but freedom of any kind, mindset work is at the very core of my course Extremely Hungry to Completely Satisfied and in my 1:1 Coaching programs.
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