Hunger vs. appetite. What are the differences and why does it matter? 🙂 This is a discussion included in the final pages of chapter three of Get Thin Stay Thin.

As the grave clothes are peeled away, you will more easily be able to recognize the difference between [hunger and appetite]. Hunger is a sensation in the body caused by the need for food. Appetite is a habitual desire for some gratification, either of the body or the mind, that has nothing to do with true physiological hunger. Our hunger can be satisfied; our appetite is insatiable. Hunger looks to food to satisfy an appropriate physical need; appetite looks to food to satisfy emotional needs. GTST, p. 71-72

What is it that motivates me to eat in any given moment? Is it hunger–a true physiological need of my body for fuel? Or is it something else–my appetite?

I seem to have a pattern of giving in to eating outside of godly parameters during the later part of the day. I have been evaluating why. I awaken between 4:30 and 5:00 am. I spend time with the Lord in a nice, leisurely quiet time. Often, I may get hungry during this time, but I don’t feel the need to rush to food–even to satisfy physical hunger. It doesn’t bother me to be hungry during this time of the morning. I usually eat by 7:30 am or so…unrushed, feeling quiet and satisfied in my spirit and body.

I typically eat again sometime between 10:30 and noon applying the Keys we have discussed in the past week. So far so good.

Almost daily, however, by 2pm or so things get really fuzzy or even downright rebellious. If not that early, then by dinner time or later. Not every day, but consistently enough to be a pattern.

What is up with this? Why the pattern?

I think it may be related to the performance trap I am constantly sucked into.

You see, first thing in the morning, I am totally aware of God’s grace. Not only that, but I am supposed to be having my quiet time in the morning. There isn’t any sense that I am not doing what I am “supposed” to be doing. I am being a “good girl.” :-/

By mid-afternoon, I have a sense that I am not ok. I haven’t been doing what I am supposed to have been doing. Or, I haven’t been doing it well enough. I tend to want to run from this feeling and do so in a variety of ways…when it isn’t nice enough weather for me to ride the horses, I may plunge myself into the internet…trying to find something to be busy doing well online. It might be designing graphics for a client in my website design business, or pretending to…or it might be going to the Thin Within forums blogging or going to others’ blogs to try to be “Super Duper Thin Within Woman” to try to encourage people and feign that I have all the answers. :-/

You see, with a sense of failure, comes self-condemnation. For me, self-condemnation “triggers” eating, too. So if other things fail to distract or numb me from the “pain” of my failures and self-condemnation that arises as the day goes on, I may resort to eating that rides along the edge of yet more “failure.” In other words, my resolve found early in the day when I had a fresh slate and no sense of failure, erodes. By the end of the day, I end up reporting to my accountability partner and discover, again, I have followed a pattern of “stellar” eating up until mid-afternoon but have bellied up before the day is done.

God is calling me to disrupt this pattern. Obviously, the best place to disrupt it, is at its heart…this sense of performance and failure to perform adequately and the subsequent self-condemnation–the appetite that I have to be “acceptable” and the lie I believe that I am not.

I am going through the book and workbook The Search for Significance and highly recommend these. They dovetail beautifully with the Get Thin Stay Thin book. I figure that the Lord really desires that I get this. He wants me to understand that I have been caught in this performance mentality for far too long. It sets off condemnation and guilt that triggers numbing out behaviors. The Lord wants me free from this!

Can you identify with this cycle, too? Do you begin the day well and by mid-afternoon or after the kids go to bed at night find yourself face-first in a bag of Oreos? Or immersed in something that you know isn’t God’s best for you in an attempt not to feel pain of some sort?

Let’s look straight into our “failures” and disappointments today. Obviously, many of us have an appetite for approval, to feel good about ourselves…and when that appetite for approval hangs empty like an unanswered question, not satisfied (and does it ever really get quelled?), we turn to other things to either stuff a counterfeit into that hole or to subdue the pain of the emptiness.

Today, I think I will try a couple of things differently. I will plan to be still before I eat after 2pm today. I may journal, pray, sing praises to God…or just sit in His presence and bask in His unconditional approval granted through Christ on the cross. I will enjoy 5 minutes (or more) of delaying eating so I can be still and know that He is God. The very thing that seems to satisfy my soul in the wee hours of the morning, enabling me to not rush to eat even when physiologically hungry…because I would rather not disrupt my quiet time with Him…I will try a bit of time with Him before I eat. (The Keys to Conscious Eating, when applied, were designed to foster this, in fact!)

I also want to DEAL with the things that cause me to gravitate toward food (or the internet)…and that means dealing with my sense of failure. I want to ask the Lord how HE would have me use my day…what HE wants of me. There may be (there is) some sin in my life about not using my time in a way that the Lord wants me to. While I know that I have HIS approval in Christ and I can’t convince Him by my performance to love me, I also know that He has a will for my time. I want to do AND be that to which he calls. If I prayerfully evaluate how I use my time and rest in HIS perfect 100% approval of me in Christ, perhaps I can allow Him to cut out the cancer that causes me to reach for the band-aids by mid-afternoon.

Lord, please hear my heart. I pray that you will lead me today. Each moment, Lord…I want to live each one as an offering to you. I want my heart to be convinced of your perfect approval given to me in Christ. I thank you for this grace. Lord, let me be aware of your presence and your love this day. Keep me from trying to impress you, Lord…or from a sense that I have disappointed you. Thank you that you are doing a new thing in me this day. I sense it. Thank you for the hope I have in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Practical challenge: Apply the Keys To Conscious Eating or the Principles for Weight Mastery (same 8 principles).

Let me know how YOU are doing! I am praying for you! 🙂