August 5, 2018




Breakfast at eleven...

because I'm actually hungry.

Last June I traveled to Pittsburgh for a work retreat. My son and I had just wrapped up another year of homeschooling, and I was ready for a change of pace. I planned a weekend to myself--to write, to celebrate making it through sixth grade (sixth grade!) before the retreat began. So I booked a room at a small hotel, away from the center of town, with no car, and intentionally planned on writing stories, and maybe I'd even read, or just sit on the bed and stare at the ceiling.

It was a wonderful weekend. I paced, I wrote, I did sit ups and handstands. I sat on the bed and stared out the window at a leafy, Pittsburghy tree. A couple of times I went downstairs just to see what was what.

I usually don't eat much when I travel, and this trip was no different. In fact, I didn't eat at all the first day while on the road. No power bars. No coffee. Some sparkling water on the plane. And when it came time for dinner I realized I wasn't hungry. A whole day of no food, and not one pang. This made me think.

Why am I not hungry? 

So I kept not eating--it was easy to do since there was no restaurant at the hotel, no stores nearby, and I only had a few power bars with me. I drank a lot of water, and had some hot tea. By the end of the second day, after a four-mile walk, I finally felt it. Dinner would be nice.

We are so saturated with stuff, aren't we? With T-shirts from Target, with fancy water bottles, with more toiletries than we could ever use. Our minds are saturated with sound bites, with movie quotes, with bizarre knowledge about Star Trek. And our bodies are fully flushed with food and fat. Even my skinny body is fat--fat with too many layers of too many chips, and the memory of food, even when I'm not hungry. This weekend away restarted something I'd almost forgotten. I'm checking in better now, listening to my body more closely, asking it, "Are you really hungry?" And once I get to the yes, I go to step two: 

"Do barbecue potato chips actually qualify as food?!"

And lastly, more seriously, what other sorts of hungers and non-hungers have gotten confused within me?

I bet you've figured this out better than I have--I would love to hear your thoughts...




Published: August 5, 2018 | Filed under: Me

Comments (9)
Jim Morrison said:
August 5, 2018 @ 1:43 PM

Hi Jane, I do try and listen to what my body is telling me. I get better as time goes by...I do “fall of the wagon” from time to time but, I get back on and my body tells me I am because I feel is odd to me how even I can go a full day without eating anything...and I’m not starving when I get home at the end of the day. I can have a salad with protein in it and be years past, this wasn’t true...Hope you have a blessed week. Best. Jim

jane g meyer replied:
August 6, 2018 @ 8:24 AM

Thanks for sharing, Jim. I think we've been so programmed with pictures of what a meal is--a plate of fries, a giant hamburger, a soda... that we think we need that to make it through our day. Of course you and I don't eat that way, at least not frequently, but our society on a whole suffers because of these not-so-subtle images that have bombarded us for decades now... Do you think your shift in eating is because your body has changed and you don't need as much food to sustain it, or because you've altered the way that you think and feel about food? I've never experienced what it's like to be a big guy like you, who has an active 7-5 job... :)

Jim Morrison replied:
August 6, 2018 @ 10:54 AM

Hi again, I feel that my body is changing as well as I am trying to eat better to lose and then maintain my weight. It's always been tough for me to actually lose weight do to thyroid issues. Back in 2000 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to have it totally removed...since one of the things that regulates your metabolism, it makes it harder for me to maintain a good body weight. Now that I'm over 50, it would be even harder to keep the weight off if I continued to eat the way that I was...and, thank God, I love salads and other healthy foods such as granola, oatmeal, fruits and veggies...I still have a donut from time to time or a burger but, it's a rarity for me these days to eat "fast food"...which I feel is a good thing...

Coral said:
August 5, 2018 @ 9:20 PM

Hi, Jane! I love your life, your mind, and your heart. ...Yes, I have thought quite a bit about hunger and about diet. Three kids with food allergies, and the creeping fingers of sugar that is massively thrust upon children in every venue...these have taught me something. We often crave what makes our bodies sluggish and congested. Yet, if we are listening and exercising self-control, all of a sudden the needs refine themselves; I will crave figs, or the kids will want sauerkraut. And - especially the going-into-7th-grader among us will feel the difference between how her body reacts after tuna fish compared to pizza. Astronomical differences. We are all beginning to sense when all we need is citrus, or soup. Hunger for God is also a gnawing hunger that reaches far beyond immediate fulfillment. I am learning - and oh how the need to learn this lesson continues to smart poignantly! - that when I feel needy and lackluster, it is because my spirit is already at a starvation point. It is His presence we need and crave, more than water and more than food as Jesus exemplified. And it is His sweetness and light which create desire and yearning in my affections that stretches beyond hunger into a space where my soul is okay to weep or to laugh, because "Your nearness is my good in the land of the living." Wouldn't it be lovely to let physical hunger, as in fasting, remind us of our deep spiritual hunger for the nearness of our God?

jane g meyer replied:
August 6, 2018 @ 8:33 AM

yes, the creeping fingers of sugar... Isn't it amazing how sugary things are everywhere our kids are? :( Since fasting is a pretty big part of our lives, being Orthodox Christians, I am always on the lookout for that connection between hunger for food and hunger for God. The Holy Fathers speak a lot about this, and the fact that being flush with food gets in the way of our prayer. I admit honestly, that I often feel more like praying when I'm not hungry! I think that it's because I'm such a baby, and hopefully God will keep me alive long enough so at least I can become a toddler! A part of that bodily hunger I think reminds us of what it's like to need God in our lives--that we are creatures who need sustenance, who need His hand to steady us, that we need to reach out in prayer because we are weak... Anyway, it's such a journey and it's so good to know, Coral, that you are making these efforts in your own life and in the lives of your children. The world is a better place because of you...

Claire McGarry said:
August 6, 2018 @ 7:40 PM

This was a wonderful reminder for me to be more mindful of my eating. I'm usually too crazy busy to put much thought into what I eat. But I do find that when life slows down, I sometimes eat just to eat. And because there are so many foods I can't eat because of allergies, I overindulge in what I can have, but it never satisfies. I suppose that's life in a nutshell when we lose our center and our way - turning to what's second best but never getting enough. Thank goodness I always find my way back to God, and I am filled. Thanks for this!

jane g meyer replied:
August 13, 2018 @ 9:29 AM

Thanks for sharing, Claire. :)

Elizabeth said:
August 6, 2018 @ 8:07 PM

that is quite the story/experience. Sounds like a special fruitful time for you! I am still pondering the hunger/confused-hunger thing and I know I struggle with that a lot (not just with food...)... Lord have mercy and help us!

jane g meyer replied:
August 13, 2018 @ 9:29 AM

Yes, Lord, have mercy! Love to you, Elizabeth...

Leave a comment

Don't worry, I keep your email address private!