An account on using hunger for good in your work, life and body balance

Hunger drives us to do things; it drives us to achieve things; it drives us to try new things. Hunger is the path to success in life, whether in our career, in weight loss, in personal pursuits, in our love lives, or even in the way we raise our kids. Hunger is not just a feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you to eat something. Hunger is a driving force that tells us to get our act together, pony up and check one more thing off the to-do list.

Hunger can be a good thing.

What I want to know is: why do we always associate hunger with pain?  Why must we always point a negative spotlight on hunger?  I don’t believe that all hunger is good.  Obviously, there are situations of dire hunger and hopelessness in our world, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

Over the course of the past 12 months, I’ve had a lot of cravings–some of which my butt hates me for and others which my bank account enjoyed like a fine wine.  While chasing success in my career, I let some other things go.  I’ve wanted to eat ice cream for breakfast while at the same time wanting to look good in a size six but hotter in a size four.  I’ve wanted to be on my A-game in my career but wanted to spend more time with my kids.  I’ve wanted to be a better wife but wanted to flirt with other men.  Sometimes, I think I have a hunger for contradiction.

But hunger is just information, and a choice presented.  Listen to your hunger.  What are you hungry for?  Aren’t some hungers more important than others?

I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life.  At a short 5’2”, I’ve been a fantastically shapen 125-pound triathlete, and I’ve also been a 170-pound new mother wondering if I’ll ever run again without peeing in my pants.  In all of life’s highs and lows I’ve always been a hungry person, whether my hunger is for success in a personal pursuit, or for the slice of cheesecake sitting on the other side of the glass dessert case.  And, what I’ve learned about hunger is that to be the mother that I want to be, the wife that I want to be, and the individual woman I want to be, it’s all about identifying the difference between good hunger and bad hunger, and embracing the good kind.

After having my second child and ballooning to my heaviest weight, I made a promise to myself that I would never get to that weight again.  In the two years since, I’ve lost a lot of weight, but still yo-yo’d as moms can do.  It’s easy to make excuses.  It’s easy to become overwhelmed and simply give into the Breyer’s.  But, I’m turning a new leaf and listening to my hunger in a different way, and I challenge those in the same circumstance to consider two simple questions:

What are you more hungry for?  What drives you more?

So, I’m finally putting into practice the advice that I received  from Jem Yeh, a brilliant trainer and nutrition expert. I’m finally focusing on turning off the food hunger a little more and listening to the good hunger.  Jem recently posted a little tough love to his Facebook group– something that really hit home:

“So be hungry, it’s ok. you’re on this planet because your ancestors starved through many years of famine, you have the genetic composition to do the same.

Look at your body and see how much reserved energy you have, you don’t need to eat. Even if you’re hungry, you can tolerate the first wave of hunger just fine, just drink some water, eat a grapefruit, and get on with your day.

Be hungry until you’re lean and happy. You want 10mins of gratification eating that cupcake? or a lifetime of satisfaction showing off your hot bod at your girlfriends pool party? choice is yours, get your head straight.”

I think this advice applies to anything you want to strive for in life, whether as a parent or an individual.  Listen to your hunger. If you want to spend more time with your kids, get your head in the game for that.  Make other sacrifices; be nimble with your schedule and shift things to make it happen.  If you want to lose weight, do what Jem says above.  If you want to be better at your job, pony up and put in the time.  Let the good hunger drive you to be better in your life and use it as a force to help you suppress the bad hunger.

Every woman is different.  For some women, being as small as a size four isn’t important.  For other women, a size four is still too big.  For me, a size four works great, and that’s something I’m hungry for, and that’s all that matters.  I don’t feel as good or as confident or as energetic when I carry extra weight, but even knowing this I haven’t listened to what is most important to me.  Knowing myself, I know that the more confidence I have, the more successful I am at everything I do.  I have given into temptations instead of thinking about what I really want and what I’m willing to do to get it.

Knowing what you want for your life, and what you’re most hungry for makes all of the difference in how you make choices.  From there, your choices make the difference in whether or not you can have the life you want to live.  What matters is determining the skin you wear best and feel best in, and dressing yourself impeccably in it.

Be hungry, my friends. Win your hunger game.