Whole 30 Days 15-21: Craving vs. Hunger

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by Laura

When was the last time you were truly hungry?  I’m talking stomach aching, get me to the  drive thru, “if I don’t eat right now…” hungry?  Before Whole 30, I don’t even think I allowed myself to be hungry.  I ate a great breakfast, was ready for my 10:00 snack along with the kids, ate lunch, when the kids went to pre-school/nap the mid-day sugar snack/reward came out, we have dinner time, then after dinner was dessert and more snacking.  What!?  Was I eating all day?!  I guess so.  Every 2-3 hours I was eating something.

The sugar in the foods I was eating was leaving me wanting more, more of the same taste, more of the same chemical response, more fuel on the fire of sugar dependency!  Now keep in mind, I thought we were eating pretty healthy.  Lots of vegetables and good proteins, whole wheat as much as we could, not too much processed or frozen.  After Whole 30 has caused me to be a label reading FREAK.  I’ve realized there is sugar in EVERYTHING.  My “natural” lunch meat for the kids-sugar, our favorite “healthy” granola bars-so much sugar, our ketchup has sugar, our diced tomato can has sugar, our rice cakes have…sugar.  I craved food, but I didn’t need food nor wait until I was hungry for it.  MIND BLOWN.

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Eva, getting a taste of craving.  

Once the sugar was eliminated and my snack options were WAY limited and discouraged, I felt hungry.  What did I want to eat? I wanted to eat real food.  I didn’t “crave” it either, I just knew I needed to eat.  Seeing the chips and oreos I had stashed in the garages’ “no-touch” bin did not sound good at ALL.  I was feeling hunger in the purest, least psychologically and chemically dependent way I have since I was probably a child.  Speaking of children, this has rolled over to the kids too, they are rarely asking for snacks, and they don’t ask for specific snacks either.

Whole 30 can make some people really hungry initially.  Hey!  We’ve subtracted filling foods like grains and dairy, and so it’s hard to figure out what you add. How much should you eat when your burger is wrapped in lettuce-there’s no cheese, bun, mayo…to help fill you up?  It took me a little while to find a balance of how much to eat, but I don’t even feel hungry between meals or after dinner now.  IT IS WEIRD.

So, the lesson this week for me was.  Cravings are not real hunger signs. Don’t get me wrong, my cravings are not gone, they are different now, they are more like wants.  I want a scoop of ice cream with hot fudge dripping down the side, I want a Starbucks Mocha, I want to eat the scones I made for my husband’s Bible study yesterday.  No longer do I feel compulsion or enslaved to food or eating, and that is such a gift from this whole 30 experience.  To feel and experience the difference now will help me next month as I evaluate eating habits with more freedom from Whole 30.

Thanks for going on this journey with me.  This has been one of the most eye opening, educational experiences I have participated in.  I DARE you to find a friend, find a Facebook support group, and just try it.  You just could change your life.

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