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Each quarter, Aro Ha Retreats facilitate a period of renewal. It brings together mindfulness meditation, some yoga, and a fast-mimicking diet.

It’s only for five days, but it’s powerful. It is online, and you’re part of a group of like-minded people. The seasonal renewal was in January.

One of the many benefits of a fast-mimicking diet or the health benefits of meditation or mindfulness is the awareness and discovery of the difference between physical hunger and mental hunger. 

physical hunger vs. mental hunger

Physical hunger is the physiological response that signals to us that our reserves are running low, and it’s a good idea to bring in some more energy. 

It’s done via a combination of neurons and hormones; our migrating motor complex tidies away undigested food. At the end of this process, a hormone called motilin is released, which makes our tummy grumble and we start to feel hungry. 

There’s also another hormone at play called ghrelin. This hormone activates neurons in our hypothalamus, which signals that we’re hungry. Ghrelin turns on the agouti-related peptide expression neurons, which tell us we’re hungry. When these are turned off, we know that we’re full. This is where the benefits of eating mindfully and pausing between forkfuls of food really come in. 

Physical hunger is also called “homeostatic hunger.” There’s also another type of hunger, and it’s called hedonic hunger, which is all about making hay while the sun shines. Hedonic hunger encourages us to eat while we can.

This was helpful in our hunter-gatherer days when you didn’t know when the next meal was coming along. But in today’s world of online food deliveries and cafes on every corner, not quite so much. Mentally hungry people use food for its feel-good factor. 

Add variety to your day

If you are a big user of social media or use food to get a dopamine hit on a regular basis to satisfy your hedonistic hunger, you need to train your brain. 

Train your mind to add variety to your day by drinking a big glass of water during short breaks, doing ten squats, or taking a quick walk around the garden.

If food is a delicate thing for you, do not build these ideas into your day. It is strongly recommended that you work with a professional who can support your journey. 

But if you suspect that you eat a little bit too much or you’d like to add some freedom to eating food, you can work with these ideas into your day.

If the idea of seasonal renewal within a supportive community is tugging at your heartstrings, check out what Aro Ha has to offer.