We all know hunger, or at least we think we do...
Nobody likes to feel hunger. It's the one feeling that seems to drive us absolutely insane.
Typically, the feeling of hunger means that you are indeed hungry. And this is true.
However, we have countless coaches, trainers, and gurus telling us to refuse this signal to lose weight. We follow a diet culture that makes you feel like you should be miserable and hungry all the time.
Hunger is normal, and hunger is okay. But we shouldn't ignore it.
If you are hungry EAT!!!!
There are some things that need to be considered.
What are you choosing?
When you are hungry and decide to eat, what do you eat? We have the choice of what we put in our mouth, as well as how much. So, when hunger strikes are you reaching for the bon-bons or are you reaching for the strawberries.
This little choices are what can make a huge difference in your health. So it is important that you keep healthy choices in the vicinity.
Are you really hungry?
Hunger can be a weird thing. That's because there are tons of ways that it could be misleading. Hunger is regulated by hormones. The two hormones manning the ship are Grelin and Leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that signals the brain that food should be consumed. Leptin controls the feeling of being satiated. If these are out of whack, then this can cause some misleading signals in the brain.
Ghrelin is increased when we don't sleep well. So, if you are one who doesn't have great sleep habits, then you may feel hungry more often. That signal can be misleading and lead to a higher increase of food when it isn't needed.
If you are someone who has dieted for a LONG time without taking a break, or you restrict yourself a ton, then your leptin levels can be out of place. This is what makes losing weight tough for most due to the fact that they feel hungry more often. Our hormones like to make things difficult sometimes!
So, these issues need to be considered when you are considering if you are truly hungry or not.
How do you fix these issues? Well for starters, take care of yourself. You need to make sure that you are getting good sleep. This will help you to keep that hunger hormone Ghrelin in check. As far as Leptin goes, you need to make sure that you are actually fueling your body. We are obsessed with dieting for extended periods of time, and it's very tough on the body. A suggested strategy is to only cut back for short periods of time. You can follow this with a reverse diet phase or even a maintenance period. We aren't designed to be 7% body fat year round. We gotta feed the machine!
Some of us also don't know a true hunger cue when we get one. Some of us like to eat when we're bored and disguise this as hunger. Or maybe you have an emotional tie to food when you are sad. By repeating this pattern, the brain will begin to recognize the signal of sadness with hunger. Damn the brain is a tricky organ...
It is suggested that you spend some time really diving into what you are feeling. We are quick to react to signals. Instead, you should take time to see where you are at.
"Am I really hungry or bored?" "I haven't been sleeping well, maybe I'm not that hungry." "I am hungry, but I'm going to make a good choice."
This does take some practice and a little introspection. It's 100% worth it in the end!
So what do I need to do?
Well, coach, what should I be doing?
Listen to your body. It tells you things for a reason. However, you have to REALLY listen. Not this loose listen that you give your friend when they complain about their relationship problems over and over.
From there you are in charge of giving the body the right kinds of food. That means whole foods, things you have to cook, veggies, and fruit, and tons of protein.
You may notice that if you start to eat healthier, more whole foods that you actually end up more hungry... What the heck coach.
This is because those foods are more nutritionally dense, making them lower in calories. Meaning, you can eat more of them and be fine! So, during that feeling of hunger, continue to feed the body good food. It will reward you.
The opposite holds true for less nutritionally dense foods like donuts. You aren't doing yourself any favors there.
Focus on getting sleep and stop depriving your body so much. Keep those hormones in check so that you don't get any false signals!
Now, take this information and use it!
Listen to your body tomorrow, choose an apple, and get some sleep. Your body will thank you for it.
Peace and Love.