hungry-caterpillar1There’s a philosophy that circulates: eat only when you’re hungry. But many things can affect your ability to experience hunger. By this I mean, you might be hungry and just have lost the ability to feel it.

Tinkering with your diet, fasting, stress, yoga, alcohol, cigarettes, extreme emotional expenditure are all thing pressures that can reduce or even numb a persons’ ability to experience hunger.

And so, I believe that under certain circumstances, “eat only when you’re hungry” in NOT good advice.

Sometimes I don’t experience hunger for days and days—and this is not because I eat a lot! Sometimes, in fact, I eat very little, and still don’t feel hunger. But, if I just didn’t eat, that would really wreck my metabolism.

So the wisdom here is to be sensible, feel in for what experiences are affecting your sensation of hunger, and to eat more or less regularly, in moderated amounts.

If you need more guidance, here are some questions and my answer as to “should I eat if I’m not hungry?” Take a look: there are some nuances.

  • I haven’t eaten in DAYS. But, I’m still not hungry! > PLEASE EAT! Start with some soup, like miso, or chicken broth.
  • I’ve been eating ALL DAY, and I’m not hungry. > Please, stop eating. At least until tomorrow. Why have you been eating all day?
  • I’ve been drinking, and it dulls my appetite. I’m not hungry! > Have a light snack of protein and fat. Pay careful attention not to overeat, since you’re buzzed. It’s easy to do.
  • I haven’t eaten since yesterday, and I’m waiting to get hungry. > Eat something light to keep your blood sugar up.
  • I’m constipated, and have been for 3 days! I’m really not hungry. > It’s time to take action. Don’t pack more food into your guts. Move to a liquid diet, starting with a green juice. If you’re bowels don’t start to move in a day, give yourself a coffee enema. This should jump start things. Once your digestion comes online again, eat lightly—veggies and brown rice is a good place to start. Work to find out what caused you to get backed up in the first place.
  • I’ve been drinking coffee all morning and I’m not really hungry. > Actually, you are. You’ve just suppressed the sensation. Please eat something grounding, like a baked sweet potato.
  • I’ve been teaching a yoga teacher training, and I’m never hungry! > You must eat. Eat things that are easy to digest, and not too much of it. Cooked vegetables with some olive oil will help, or some hot soup with oil drizzled in.
  • Everyone says I ought to eat breakfast, but I’m never hungry in the morning. >  I’m not an evangelist for breakfast.   I’ve heard of research that says those who don’t eat it live longer. But, if lunch is way in the distance and you’ll go for many hours without eating, and then find yourself to be very hungry, think of breakfast like a morning snack. Have a handful of nuts, a green juice, one egg.