As my Ultimate Reset experience quickly comes to a close, I am ever more in awe of all that I’ve learned these past 18, soon to be 21, days. What started as a resistant and woe-is-me venture into cleansing and hopefully helping my spiritual practice, turned into a life changing, oh-my-god experience that has totally changed me.
One of the physical reasons I wanted to try the Ultimate Reset was because for a few months now I had experienced overwhelming emotional eating. Every second nearly of every day I found myself snacking mindlessly on veggie chips or dark chocolate nibs. I didn’t eat very much in one go, so I figured, no harm, right? WRONG.
Turns out I was snacking WAY more than I thought I was and instead of sitting and having decent fulfilling meals, I was chasing away any feeling of hunger with less than nutritious distraction snacks that would then throw off my appetite. In a sense I was constantly avoiding feeling hungry – the moment I felt the FIRST hunger sensation, I ran to a pantry.
During the reset there are very structured meal times with only one snack in your day. For me, my one snack is Shakeology as it’s my daily vitamin boost and also gives me a little sweetness which has been really effective at curbing my sugar cravings. Outside of this, however, there is no more snacking.
This leads to the inevitable feeling of hunger that shows up a good while before I’m scheduled to eat again. It’s not the kind of hunger that leaves my blood sugar low, hanger raging, and my stomach grumbling loudly – it’s just hunger. A normal communication from my body that sometime soon food would be appreciated. After being on this program for three weeks, I’ve become really familiar with this form of communication and because I could not stop it (as per directions), I’ve had to sit with it extensively.
Sitting with my hunger as taught me a few things and has demystified my inexplicable avoidance of that sensation.
1.) Hunger isn’t terrible and it doesn’t mean you’re dying. Your body is supposed to communicate with you that it’s ready for more food and sometimes that feeling actually means it needs WATER. The request for water and food are nearly indistinguishable, so when I first feel that sensation I drink a good bit of water at least 8 oz and wait. If the feeling still persists but it hasn’t been at least 4 hours between meals, I just sit with it. Four hours between meals is a TOTALLY acceptable time to go without food – infants can do this at like 9 months of age.
Sitting with hunger will make it not so scary. As I write this, I’ve had a feeling of hunger for about an hour. Right after I finish writing this is time for lunch, which is totally cool and I’m ready for. In that hour, I played with my son, colored, did chores and distracted myself all while listening to the communication. Now that it’s been four hours at least since my first meal, I’m ready to eat again. I didn’t fall out, die, or black out. NOTHING happened. Everything is still fine.
2.) If you’re eating nutritiously dense food, waiting four hours between meals is easy. The problem with how we eat is that we tend to eat a bunch of empty calories, empty carbs, empty sugars, foods that go RIGHT through your system and don’t even make a dent on your body. When you eat fruits (whole with the meat to buffer their sugars), greens (any kind but especially more bitter ones like kale, chard, etc.), and legumes or proteins and fats (avocado, coconut oil, nut butter), you are sustained for a MUCH longer period of time and the need to snack does not become a priority.
The reason you’re still hungry is because you did not actually eat food that your body could use for energy. It burned up nearly instantaneously. So eat foods that work as FUEL and the snack addiction will not be necessary.
3.) I’m beginning to tell the difference between “I’m hungry” and “My blood sugar is in danger”. These two do not mean the same things. I can be hungry for an extensive period of time without my blood sugar freaking out. It’s a much longer period of time than I had previously imagined. This, of course, comes on the tail end of eating a dense vegan diet for the last three weeks which has stabilized my blood sugar tremendously due to the high volume of greens and complete absence of sugars. Fruit doesn’t affect me quite like processed sugar AND not all fruit is created equally. I had less than half a banana the other day and immediately collapsed in need of a nap – way too much sugar. This is information I did not know before doing this cleanse.
Am I never eating a banana again? No. But I’ll probably only have one right before I workout when I know I’ll be burning that sugar. The important thing is to recognize that there is a difference between having hunger sensations and your body being in a critical state. If you are eating regular and nutritious meals you won’t ever find yourself in a critical place of low blood sugar with no good food around you. If you’re mindful of how you eat and what you prepare you’ll always have something to help you stabilize that works in your favor instead of exacerbates the cycle.
In essence hunger isn’t the end of the world, although for a long time, I thought it was. I avoided any sign of hunger like it was the plague and as a result when I found myself hungry and starving (due to skipped meals, of course) I then ate things that were less than ideal for me and spun me out.
ESPECIALLY at night. Going to bed a little hungry is OKAY. And if you do find yourself super hungry because you stayed up later than you’d like, have some golden milk (here’s a link to another blogger with a recipe!) or tea. This will give you a nutrient boost and settle that immediate feeling of hunger.
Want to learn more about what I use to help me curb my cravings? Check out Shakeology. This has been my go to for helping stabilize my blood sugar and curb my insane hankerings for chocolate. We now have four vegan options and that’s what I always recommend as whey can be a little harsh on tummies.
Here’s to eating nutritious food and making peace with hungry.