Hunger is: the discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food.
While appetite is define as: An instinctive physical desire, especially one for food or drink. A strong wish or urge. -thefreedictionary.com
Notice here the difference between hunger and appetite. If you are truly hungry and someone offers you an apple, you will gladly accept that apple to fill the void. Again, if you say you are hungry and someone offers you an apple and you say, No, that doesn’t sound good. I think what I am really hungry for is…
You now know you are speaking in terms of your appetite. This is a great self check for each of us to know if we are really hungry!
We have all been there- gurgle, rumble, pains and aches. You can become lightheaded, have trouble concentrating, or even act grumpy. No time for breakfast again! That is your belly talking to you telling you- feed me!
Then of course there is the other side of the spectrum. A good example could be in late November around a dining room table with a stuffed bird and a football game playing on the T.V. Or maybe one night you throw caution to the wind and reach over for one more slice of that Uno’s Chicago style deep dish delight. Now you are quite uncomfortable and you have the sensation to unbutton your pants. Sometimes feelings of regret follow. Thanksgiving full or too much pizza full makes us feel miserable.
Our goal with food is to be present and choose wisely. To be aware of how we feel, and to find a peaceful place in-between the gurgles and the bloating. Here are a few great resources to help you in your mindful eating.
I also recommend that you check out webmd.mit.edu. They have a great PDF document that goes into deeper explanation.
Over the last several months I have chosen to practice more mindful eating techniques and it has been helpful not only in slowing me down and helping me to enjoy my food more, but I also believe it has encouraged me to asses my hunger scale number to see if and when I am truly hungry and when I have an appetite for something specific (and if its worth it!) I also believe that this mindfulness has supported better digestion of food.
I encourage you to save a copy of the hunger scale to your smart phone or print off a copy and hang it somewhere in the kitchen where you can view it. Remember to find that happy, peaceful place on the scale.