Ok, I’ll admit it. When I saw the word “Sensual” in Suriel’s book, my mind went in a totally different direction than she intended. (blush) Of course, she definitely had my attention. So, now that I have your attention, let’s move on to our next situational hunger.
Our senses are so powerful that they can trigger what Josie Spinardi calls “fake hunger”. You walk into a movie theater after having a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant. You aren’t remotely hungry. In fact, you might be a tad on the full side. Suddenly you have an urge for a large buttery popcorn and a box of Jr. Mints. Is this physical hunger? No, it’s full-blown sensual hunger. Your senses are triggering your desire to eat.
You’re sitting in the stands cheering on your favorite baseball team. You don’t even have to smell them. You hear someone shout, “hotdogs, hotdogs, get ’em while they’re hot”. Or maybe you’re a “beer and nachos” kind of sporting event gal. The point is, your ears hear the words, your brain pictures it, and suddenly the meatball sub you just had thirty minutes ago is a distant memory. You aren’t physically hungry, but your senses are telling you otherwise.
What if you’re watching TV? A commercial comes on with swirling chocolate saying something about happiness being found in a little foil wrapper and what does your brain tell you it wants? A Hershey’s Kiss. Are you hungry? Heck no. You might not even like Hershey’s Kisses (I don’t anymore), but sensual hunger has been triggered. Where’s the chocolate?!
Because we’ve been confused by sensual hunger in the past, we are now conditioned to respond when it presents itself. Our eyes, ears, and nose can make us believe we are hungry when we are not. Even just being in a location (movie theater, sporting event, amusement park, your sofa) that we associate with sensual hunger can trigger fake hunger. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to identify fake hunger before you bite into something (and realize it doesn’t taste as good as you imagined it would), is to recognize that you are suddenly craving that particular item. Remember, true hunger doesn’t crave anything in particular.
The goal is to check in with your physical being. If you’re truly hungry, by all means eat. If you aren’t, then you have a choice to make. The choice is always yours if you are following intuitive eating principles. There is no diet that says you must resist sensual hunger. There are no rules to break. All I’m asking you to do is acknowledge it for what it is… situational. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to intuitive eating.
Our next stop will be a place we’ve visited before (by another name), but is so important, it should be mentioned in this series as well. Join me tomorrow for a look at “Emotional Hunger“.