How many of you have been asked “are you hungry?” and immediately looked at your watch, clock or other time revealing object? Yes, me! I used to be such ‘clock eater.’ Sounds a bit strange that term doesn’t it? Images of a clock sat on a dinner plate ready for you to chow down on. I was even told off for it by a friend when I looked at my watch when asked if I was hungry, “why did you look at your watch, that’s not your stomach”.
It’s such a part of our society to eat at regular times. Growing up our evening meal was always served at 5pm. (I still believe it is now) Sunday lunch was every Sunday without fail at 1pm, no excuses you had to be there. My partners’ factory has set smoko and lunch times. Schools are the same. Breaks and lunch at the same time every day. Very regimented. I do understand school’s have a schedule to keep, would be mayhem if 300+ children took their lunch at different times of the day.
We are so conditioned to eat ‘on time’ & ‘by the clock.’ It’s instilled into us, it’s a part of life but does it have to be? There are many other factors that cause us to eat but I’m just going to focus on the concept of ‘eating by the clock’ in this post.
I was part of that clock eating gang. I used to look at my watch first when food thoughts appeared because if it was too early to eat lunch I’d panic I’d be hungry too soon again before dinner and need a snack. Where would I be, would I be able to access a snack later on? Fear. It all came down to fear with me. Scared I’d be left hungry and then be over come with that horrid feeling of sickness that can happen if you’re over hungry. Always eating to stay ahead of the game or the hunger. The hunger game!
Many diets tell us to eat lots of small meals and snacks during the day to keep our energy levels up. This makes sense, some people need to follow this plan, but if you’re not actually hungry do you actually need this constant supply of food? Eating ‘just in case.’
Gradually over the years and even more so now that I am more in tune with my body, I’ve stopped clock eating. I let my body tell me if I need nourishment by stopping & listen to it. When you are properly hungry, your stomach feels empty, it’s churning, you start to fatigue. Then it’s obvious you need to eat!!! It’s those times in between or when you look at the clock & it’s ‘lunch time’ so you might as well go eat. That’s when you need to tune in.
When I start to think about food, usually when triggered by external factors, I ask myself – am I hungry? Do I just need more water? Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger. Am I just thinking about food because what time it is? It takes practice to listen to your body. Especially as your head, the ego will often jump in as it does and tell you something different. Fear is manifested by the head/ego. Your soul, your heart, inside, that will tell you the truth & what you really need. It won’t lie to you.
How do you listen to yourself? Simple, stop what you’re doing. Move away from any distractions, look away from your computer screen, go outside, focus on the wall, anything. Breathe deeply and ask the question. “Am I hungry?” The answer may take a while to come. You may get this answer in a different ways. Your ‘inner voice’ may whisper ‘yes’. A visual picture may appear in your minds eye – a piece of fruit, a glass of water, go for a walk. You may get a sensory message through your nose. If you’re not meant to eat this smell may be off putting, or you may smell something delicious. Lastly you may physically manifest the answer, the obvious grumble in your stomach or simply nothing. If you get nothing at all that may be your answer – no you are not hungry.
I now eat when I am physically hungry or signalled by my inner self. Yes this means eating outside of the ‘normal times.’ For example I start my day with a vegetable juice & green supplement about 6am. I then hungry for breakfast at 10am, lunch maybe around 3pm. Lunch is my main meal, I eat the most food at lunch time as I need the energy to get me through the rest of the day. Often if I’m working a late shift then I don’t feel hungry enough to eat at 10pm (not good to sleep on a full stomach) when I return home, so I don’t. If I am signaled to eat I do, usually something light.
Then I start again the next day. I let go of the fear thinking ‘I didn’t eat a ‘proper’ meal last night so I need to make up for it this morning with a full breakfast.’ I forget what happened the day before, this is a new day, and what do I need right now today is the only thought I think of. Staying present and living in the moment. I feel healthier, leaner and cleaner. I never stress about calories, cravings or hunger pangs for this way of eating suits me as it comes from within ME.
Everyone is different. Some of you may read this & think I’m totally wacked. Not a problem! It is your life, your body, listen to it, it is right there to guide you when you are ready.
Love & light