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My wife has become healthier and a lot leaner than ever. She looks absolutely gorgeous. She accomplished her weight loss by simply eating mostly whole, real food and by eating fewer times through the day. She uses intermittent fasting.
But for intermittent fasting to be successful, old thinking habits must be dropped. She’s still working on this.
I had a meeting that ran late, so dinner was delayed. After the meeting I called her to let her know I was on my way and she replied with a light-hearted comment:
“Great, I’m starving!”
When I got home she was actually fine and said that her hunger went away after a few minutes. And that was that. We cooked dinner together, enjoying a glass of wine and a conversation.
But her reply got me thinking. She used the word starvation to describe something that’s biologically superficial like hunger. And since it is understood among psychologists that words and thoughts can dictate behavior, something as innocuous as a word — starving, or famished — may end up controlling how we act, or in this case, how we eat.
In the past, my wife would’ve grabbed “a quick snack” while waiting for me to get home, and then she would have eaten again, a full-on dinner. This would have netted her additional calories she didn’t need.
This experience reminded my wife that hunger is often temporary and that starvation is actually a physical response to being unfed for not just several hours but for several weeks.
Starvation, therefore, is a true biological emergency. The word should not be thrown around to describe something so trivial as a fleeting sensation no different from a passing memory.
In today’s Western world, hunger is never an emergency. We can wait to eat.