Monday, November 12, 2012


The only success I’ve had consuming fewer calories necessitated feeling hungry. Not feeling hungry and reaching for a handful of nuts—rather, letting myself stay hungry. Assuring myself I’ll be all right—and better off waiting—until the next balanced meal is brand-new self-talk,  a new language, in addition to learning vocabulary like glycemic index and trans fats. Just as memorizing “La carte des desserts, s’il vous plaît?” before going to a Paris cafe brings pleasant surprise when the waiter promptly appears with a dessert menu, learning to say “I can make it till dinner without a snack” brings the happy reward of making it till dinner. 

Still, feeling hungry is an odd sensation. I am of course not speaking here of ribs-protruding, malnourished starvation. Nor am I speaking of a ravenous need for protein and carbs after running a marathon. I am speaking as a well-fed person on a normal day. My hunger is just a cute, furry, pipsqueak of a mouse quietly nibbling at my stomach. Its whiskers softly brush a nerve that whispers to my brain, “There’s a little hole to fill here—how about some nuts?” And I typically head straight for the almonds in my freezer. But if I’ve planned balanced meals wisely and no low-blood-sugar alarms clang, I don’t need those nuts, or the calories.

I don’t like to admit I am given to instant gratification. But when it comes to food, apparently I am. Eating less is good practice. It’s central to controlling my weight. Letting pipsqueak gnawing go for a few hours also takes self-control, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which reminds me of my need for God. As the song says, “Hungry I come to you, for I know you satisfy.”* And learning this new hunger language will help prepare me for necessary budget cuts in our home, which I’m really not looking forward to. Let me try out that new self-talk here: “I’ll be all right without buying expensive Christmas gifts this year. Even though I have two left thumbs and very little patience for crafts, I can make some very lovely gifts.” Do I sound convincing? No? How about a nice jar of almonds for everyone on my list? They’re already in my freezer; all I’d need is some shapely jars and wide red ribbon.

*Lyrics to “Hungry (Falling on My Knees)” are by Kathryn Scott.

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