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"Should you eat when you're not hungry "

That was a question I asked myself a lot when I was first transitioning to the raw food diet. Just about everything I ever read said that people shouldn't eat if they aren't hungry. We need to listen to what our bodies are telling us in order to be as healthy as possible.

What if your body is telling you it's not hungry, however, while your instinct is telling you that you still need to eat That's what was happening to me in the beginning of my raw journey. My digestion was very slow and food would sit in my stomach for most of the day, especially if the food I ate was processed or heavy. It didn't matter how much I ate, either. My portions were always very small compared to those that my fit-looking friends were eating. I always wondered how I was the obese one when my meals were so minimal in comparison.

Looking back, I think I understand what was going on a bit better. The actual size of my stomach must have been very small, since I wasn't eating a whole lot (it has since stretched to a healthy size). The reason I couldn't eat a lot was because I never had enough stomach acid to easily digest the food I was consuming. So, my body was sending me signals that my stomach was full and I didn't need to eat. However, my instinct was telling me to eat -- to force myself to consume raw foods even though I wasn't hungry.

You see, on some level I must have known that my body was starving for nutrients. It's impossible to get enough nourishment for the body's functions if you aren't consuming adequate amounts of food. It sounds strange that an obese person would be starving, doesn't it? That can be true, though, and I'm sure it was true in my case and it's probably true for many other obese individuals, as well.

So, I listened to my instincts most of the time. I ate even though I wasn't hungry. My stomach would get full, to the point of discomfort at times. My mind kept asking me that question over and over, though: "Should you eat when you're not hungry "?I was tapped into some inner guidance, however, and I had to override what my intellect was telling me to do (which was to not eat until I was hungry).

In the past when I didn't eat because I wasn't hungry, I experienced severe migraine headaches and exhaustion. I used to think the headaches came from my stomach having a difficult time digesting food, but now I believe they were most likely caused by malnutrition. It was very confusing to be eating what I thought was a very healthy diet, only to be plagued by obesity and other health problems. All I ever wanted was to be healthy.

Forcing myself to consume raw foods (and fresh juices, which were easier to digest) helped my body heal. My body was slowly able to obtain essential nutrients from the foods I was eating and it began to repair itself. Looking back, I wish I would have consumed even more fresh juices to flood my system with even more healing nutrition at a faster rate. But, maybe I would have experienced some of the severe detox symptoms that many others have talked about. In my case, my physical detox was minimal.

Do I recommend that others eat when they aren't hungry? Well, I think it's a question we can only answer for ourselves. Do you feel like you aren't eating enough food in a day, do you feel like your body is starving for essential nutrients? If so, you might want to listen closely to what your inner knowledge is telling you is best for your health.Do you feel like you eat a lot and even though you are full, you want to eat more ?If that's the case, your body may already be receiving adequate nutrition and your digestive system may need a break. No one can truly know what's best for another person (not even a doctor can know what's best for you*). Deep inside we have all the answers to all of our questions (no matter what those questions are). What is your inner guidance telling you right now? What questions are you ready to have answered

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*I'm not giving advice to stay away from doctors (that's a personal decision). Doctors can sometimes help you make informed decisions about your health through the tests they prescribe (especially through blood tests, which I'll talk more about another day).

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On August 29, 2009, lonedoggy wrote:

On a raw food diet, don't eat when you are not hungry...but my advice would be DON"T wait til you RAVENOUS either...raw food is much lighter in nature and when you are ravenous your body really wants something filling so you might want to "cheat" and have some heavier foods then. Try nuts, nut butters, dehydrated mushrooms(just til like cooked), mushrooms dehydrated with some braggs and papper topped with some guacamole is one of my favorites when I feel really hungry. Or a big sandwich on seed bread, see the cover of Ani Phyo's original book. On the cover she is eating a huge sandwich! YUM!

On August 31, 2009, Bethany wrote:

Wow, this really hits the nail on the head. Right before I read this, (literally, right before!) I thought to myself, "I'm not really hungry, but boy do I want a juicy pear right now. Nah, better not, don't want to overeat."

Your post makes since. I'm young, so my body needs to refill its nutrients more often, which on raw foods constitutes as eating A LOT! For a while, I felt so guilty eating all the raw food I was (because it was a lot), but after reading this, a feeling of peace has come over me. I NEED those nutriens, and goodness gracious, I am going to love every bite of it! =]

Love,
Bethany

On September 5, 2009, Guds wrote:

According to me,one shouldnot eat when he is not angry. It definately leads to weight gain. As body doesn't need any energy & so the calories keep on accumulating leading to obesity.

On September 8, 2009, Raghug57 wrote:

Eating without hunger is not good for health. It leads to unnecessary weight gain.