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The Hunger

fish

When I started meditating I noticed that there was a preponderance of thin guys who meditate. It’s almost the default, in fact. And now it’s happened to me. At some unknown point, I stopped processing hunger in the old way. It’s like the emotional component of my hunger dropped out, and isn’t perceived as hunger anymore. Now it’s more like an engine light, something that comes on that I can disregard if I want.

Part of it may be the timing, too. Before, I was committed to having three full meals, plus snacks throughout the day. Then I rearranged to have large meals earlier in the day and gradually taper as the day grows long. Normally, after around 3 or 4 PM, I eat no more food until the next day. In the beginning this was weird, like I was eating too little, but it didn’t take long to get used to; going to bed slightly ‘hungry’ makes it easier to sleep at night. As my weight has stayed right where I want it to be, a marginal amount over the lower bound of my government-recommended weight range, I judge it to be as much foods as I need. Cheaper that way, too.

Also, hunger isn’t continuous. It’s not like a signal that stays the same strength over time. Actually – surprisingly – it grows weaker. It seems like after a short amount of conditioning to accustom yourself to not  ‘feeding’ it, it fades. Then you can go about your business without being troubled by it. As an added benefit, it seems like it’s easier to keep your consciousness on an even keel without the food ‘bump.’

So with these changes, it’s become easier to control your food intake to match the amount of energy you need. As I spend most of my day being sedentary, I really need a very small amount of food, and by calibrating the amount I eat to that very small amount, I don’t require exercise anymore to stay a certain weight. Note that I should exercise, and I do, but as I said, I don’t *require* it to stay at a certain weight. This has been especially welcome lately, since, without walking around school anymore to push my weight down, the balance was definitely missing a counterweight. So that’s been nice, a kind of unexpected gift that comes with age.

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