Therapeutic Hunger: Habitual Mindless eating to Mindful eating

Therapeutic Hunger: Necessary for good health

I want to coin this term “Therapeutic Hunger” (TH), to differentiate it from the hunger that is associated with problem issues like famine, poverty and eating disorders.

“Therapeutic Hunger” (TH) is the residual hunger that is still left when we don’t eat stomach full.  When we finish meals, and have eaten just the right quantity of food, that we don’t feel full and have left some space in stomach to properly digest the food . This sweet hunger is very therapeutic, as it helps optimise digestion, proper absorption of nutrients, and enough space for elimination of waste.

TH is a signal for body organs to digest food more efficiently. Our body parts have evolved to work in such a way, so as to conserve energy. They will not perform any unnecessary work. So when there is plenty of food supply, they don’t need to extract nutrients most efficiently or digest fully. Also abdomen is like a food processor, when filled over the limit it can’t process food very well. It needs space to digest the food.

Thus if we make it a habit to always eat just the amount of food, so as to leave some “Therapeutic Hunger” (TH). It will improve health by controlling weight, digesting food, absorbing nutrients. It seems hard in the beginning, but later it feels good like sweet hunger. That remaining hunger is a very good feeling, and one can enjoy various tastes of the foods, digestion and good health.

Now a days, when we are used to eating on fixed time and fixed amounts. We have time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The serving sizes are also more or less fixed, as suggested by food recipes. Even the most weight loss programs suggest the size of meals. Instead of habit of eating at fixed times, and fixed quantities, we should build or senses to eat when we are hungry and the right amount for individual need. Dependence on stimulating agents like coffee, team, alcohol, tobacco etc. also doesn’t help. These substances mask our senses and we slowly lose control.

  • Always leave some space for food to process, and digest. No over eating.
  • Enhance your senses, move from habitual Mindless eating to Mindful eating.
  • Food is just one channel of life force, there are others. Don’t ignore other forces that sustain life – breathing, sun, and other cosmic energies. When you eat less, body will automatically draw more from other life forces.

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Book TH

“Therapeutic Hunger” (TH), seems hard, but I have many ideas that can help in slowly making it a habit. The book on this topic is now available at Amazon . It has many ideas, suggestions and practical hints to cultivate habit of leaving TH, breathing well and keeping right posture. While  other books I have seen (and there are plenty of books on weight loss and control) focus on what to eat( type of foods) in fixed amount. There is a need to teach users to build our senses so we can individually know, what to eat, when and, how much.

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Best Wishes.



183 thoughts on “Therapeutic Hunger: Habitual Mindless eating to Mindful eating

  1. I almost always leave a little space in my belly at the end of a meal. It’s not really because of good intentions, it’s selfish. I hate the way I feel when I eat until I could burst. I’ve always been like that. However, if I leave too much room, then I feel like I could eat again in an hour. I suppose it’s a delicate balance. The best way to do it is to stop eating as soon as you find yourself referring to the meal in the past tense. “Ahhh, that was good chicken,” instead of “Oh my god this chicken is awesome.”

    PS – Thank you for liking my blog post Blogging As A Writer: Why it Helps Your Career!

  2. This is really helpful! I always have the desire to graze after lunch, even though I am satisfied. I could never identify the cause. I tend to nibble on nuts and seeds until this passes, so I suppose on the plus side, that might assist my digestion, what do you think? I also suppose not nibbling on anything would be more beneficial…

  3. Very interesting! I definitely think how we eat is as important as what we eat. I can remember many years ago reading a magazine article about chewing each mouthful of food 50 times – pretty extreme but you know what that apple that I ate tasted amazing. It took a long time and lots of attention. I am convinced that eating with this attention or mindfulness promotes a healthier relationship with your food – and if we can do it even just some of the time that’s better than not!

  4. “Habitual” is the excellent term for constantly having something in the mouth, whether food, drink, cigarette…like an infant with a pacifier.
    Thanks for stopping by my Post today!

  5. I agree with you %. I always try to eat slowly and enjoy the texture, temperature, and taste in each mouthful.
    To me the worst thing is to overeat and get up from the table feeling stuffed and lazy.
    You are also on board about serving size. Even our plates have gotten bigger in the past years or so

  6. This is a great observation! I also feel better when I feel a little hunger during a day. It also goes well with the Ayurvedic thought that eating with the natural cycles, which involves eating a large meal mid-day, not so much in the evening, & nothing between about sunset and mid-morning, is optimal. However, I will say that I’m not married to leaving a certain amount of “room” in my stomach. I have not really been overweight as an adult, and am really on the small side. Sometimes I just have to eat more, or I feel like I am starving, or run out of energy.

  7. Very interesting post 🙂 It reminded me that I need to be a little more mindful of my own eating habits!

  8. Thank you for sharing this info. I didn’t know it was a ‘thing’ our body does and needs, I always thought I have issues with being satisfied. I am definetely one who tends to overeat when I have a chance. Knowing this, next time it will probably help me resist my crave and say: ‘Hey, this is something my body needs’.

  9. Reblogged this on Sites&Services and commented:
    Eating more than you need

    In stumbling across this blog one cannot help notice the honesty in the article. When we eat we there seems to be a point that we intuitively know that we have had enough. It all depends though as to what you are eating at the time. Should you be drinking fizzy drinks, this “bridging point” is harder to distinguish. Fizzy drinks however appetizing they may be with a meal are a bad additive and should be drunk after a meal. Hormones such as leptin play a crucial role in regulating metabolic processes. The leptin diet came about because discoveries made in connection with this hormone. However this may be, our digestive systems do get that feeling as this blogger put it of “Therapeutic Hunger”. This term describes well that feeling of satiety we get after eating a meal that in layman’s terms is referred to as “hitting the spot”. After meals such as these it seems as though our gastric juices are working well for some unknown metabolic reason. It is a feeling of contentment when those fluttering flapping butterflies in our stomachs finally decide to take a rest. I

    It is well worth noting what you ate when feelings such as these arise. It is a good indication as to which foods agree with you and which ones do not. More importantly, a good diet self taught is the best diet of all. In this way you can devise your own diet plan as in fact and quite true, each individual has their own unique metabolism.

    Getting in touch with your metabolic system is an exercise and learning process that all can enjoy. It is a gastronomic enlightening delight when your feel your stomach smiling back at you.

    Creating your own diet is an adventure in discovering those foods that you have a healthy affinity towards. It is seen as journey of self-discovery as you work out the myths and secrets of your own internal organs. Knowing which foods to eat when and how is not the knowledge of the select few. One can use their advice as a guide although ultimately without your stomach participating, this advice would be useless and fruitless.

  10. Thanks for this insightful piece. I certainly have experienced the benefit of “therapeutic hunger” but often fall back into the routine of mindless eating, fixed meal times & eating too full. You have inspired me to break the old routine again.

  11. I’ve been working on killing my habit of mindless grazing, and this is a good practice to keep in mind. The one thing I always forget is that if I wait a little bit after eating, the contents of my stomach will shift and I won’t feel hungry at all. Thanks for this piece of wisdom!

  12. Pingback: Therapeutic Hunger – when it is good not to finish all on your plate! | Something to Ponder About

  13. Very good post, very good points. I share this idea that food is one important way among others to maintain our sacred link to life! It should not be used for destruction. That is why we must reconsider the value of what we eat, how we eat, and not inflict on our precious human body any kind of garbage food with low vitality. Also by raising our awareness and our reverence to all that contributes to preserve and enrich this fire of life we make every moment of our existence so intense and vibrant… very deep, loving and spiritual… Thanks again, so long!

  14. As a holistic nutritionist I totally get what you are writing and believing. I know personally that when I over-eat it is usually for an emotional reason. I have also taught about mindful eating and like your spin on leaving some room!

  15. Good food for thought! I absolutely agree. Sometimes I overeat as a way of soothing myself but I’ve become mindful of it. Making myself stop eating before I’m full helps me physically and emotionally.

  16. I am slightly overweight, but I prefer to do intellectual work on an empty stomach (assuming that it isn’t also physically demanding). I need to be creative for my writing, and I like to do so hungry. I drink a lot of coffee and smoke, though.

  17. Interesting blog, in yogic diets they suggest the following:
    Stomach one third full of food, one third liquid and one third left empty.
    Makes sense to me.
    As to the book you could try an ebook as publicity is easier , google how to publish an ebook. Two thirds of all books purchased these days are ebooks.
    With a publisher they still expect you to do most of the publicity work.
    Best of luck !

  18. Very good post. I eat as a defense mechanism. I get upset I eat, I am stressed I eat. I quit smoking cold turkey 9 years ago and gained about 40 pounds, I neither lose nor gain now. I eat until I am full in many cases. This was very informative, thank you.

  19. This is very interesting to me as I have been battling a form of anorexia for quite some time. My therapist has gotten me to practice mindful eating as well as increasing mindfulness in general. Good work. Keep writing and good luck with your book.

  20. Pingback: Metabolic Engagement: Good Health, Great Body and Fantastic Mind | bhardwazbhardwaz

  21. What you have written is something most Americans should pay atention to. We are taught to eat until we are full, and this causes gastro-intestinal disorders. It is always better to eat natural foods, as well as eating lighter. I have learned over the years to listen to my body. It is never too late to learn better eating habits.

  22. I read something similar to this TH thing. It’s recommended “ocassional fasting” for most Americans. But I like the idea of TH and mindful eating better. It seems that with the affluence (and abundance of bad food) in America, Most people with weight problems need more than Therpeutic Hunger. They need hunger. But to achieve that, research has suggested at least 24 to 48 hours of fasting (but water is allowed). And to do that frequently, so that their bodies can enjoy that sense of “sweet hunger” mentioned in your TH.

  23. Excellent post. The description of TH as “sweet hunger” is something I remember from my past and have been weirdly fearful to recapture it. The habit of eating to the walls of fullness is like wearing a number of blankets over a tight down-filled coat. You have the guarantee that you will never feel cold. And after a while nothing matters more than not feeling cold. However, sweet hunger is like a sexy, flimsy, pretty top that gives you pleasure every time you put it on. You just feel great in it. Thank you for the reminder. It’s been too long. Time to break out the pretty stuff. 🙂

    • I came up with this after years of observations, and experimentation as I was struggling with weight management, high BMI and large waist line. Now I feel high levels of energy through out the day, sleep very well, normal BMI, slim body and sharper thinking.

  24. I understand what you are saying and agree wholeheartedly I work as a therapist with people who come for weight management. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  25. Avnish-
    I couldn’t agree more with your mindful eating/therapeutic hunger. Our society has programmed us to eat at certain times (like Pavlov’s dogs). I believe that mindful eating can be dovetailed into more mindful living on the whole. When we listen to our inner knowingness, then we are guided into more healthy living in general.

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