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Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Learning to Recognize Hunger and Satisfaction

Abstract: For a healthy lifestyle it is important to learn how to recognize hunger and satisfaction by getting in touch with your bodily feelings and listen to them for signals of hunger and satiation.

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Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Learning to Recognize Hunger and Satisfaction

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Question(s): 
Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 11 Aug 2008.

How do you learn to recognize the signals of hunger and satisfaction to allow living a healthy lifestyle?

Answer:

Some people with eating disorders do not feel any physical hunger or satisfaction i.e. they don't experience any body or physical signals concerning nutritional needs. Others are aware of these feelings but don't pay sufficient attention to them. They seldom use them to decide when and how much they shall eat.

In both cases you should aim at increasing your own powers of perception so that you can begin to eat and stop on the basis of the reality you experience from within. Learn to get in touch with your bodily feelings and listen to them for signals of hunger and satiation.

The ability to feel hunger and satisfaction can be learned. You need to lie down with eyes closed in a quiet room and concentrate on the body's signals, and try to separate them.

It is important to correctly identify those feelings which are not real hunger but which are experienced as hunger or a need to eat. When you can identify and interpret these feelings, it is easier to differentiate false from true hunger or satisfaction.

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