My natural reaction to hunger, whether it’s real or make believe, has always been panic. Never mind that it makes no sense whatsoever, as I’m hardly in danger of starving to death. That’s just how I’m wired.
Lately I’ve been working on appreciating hunger as a sign that my body’s using up excess fat. The other day at work, wanting to finish something up rather than stopping what I was doing to grab some lunch, I zeroed in on that panicky hungry feeling that was getting in my way and forced myself to relax.
Then I imagined myself as an unfinished wooden statue, patiently waiting while some master craftsman took out a wood-trimming tool – it had been years since I’d seen one, but I thought I remembered my dad once calling it a carpenter’s plane – and began to gently shave off the excess padding around my middle.
That’s kind of a creepy image, now that I think about it, but it worked at the time. For the rest of the afternoon, every time my hunger alarm went off I was able to reframe it as a good thing rather than a stressful thing. And when I finally went home, instead of gobbling twice as much food as I needed because I was “starving,” I was able to stay calm.
The funny thing is, a couple of days after that my dad showed up at our house with a carpenter’s plane to shave the side of a door so it would fit better in its frame.