FC Week 10: Free Yourself from Hunger

by Anna D

Hello Transformers,

Last week, we talked about planning at least two meals ahead of time because we all know that life always happens and nothing beats being prepared during those times. For our week 10 challenge, we are talking about hunger. I get asked a lot, how can we not feel hungry all the time when we’re eating at a calorie deficit. Here are some tips that can help:

#1 Get Comfortable with Hunger

I read a book once called, The Beck Diet Solution, and Dr. Beck said that “hunger is not an emergency.” I completely agree.

I used to be one of those people who act like a “diva” (Snickers commercial…lol), when I get hungry. But, when I started being more aware of why I am hungry at the moment, I realized that A) hunger feelings tend to go away after several minutes and B) most of the time, it can be solved by drinking water or green tea especially if it’s not meal time yet.

The key here is to be really honest with yourself when you’re assessing the hunger that you’re feeling. Are you really hungry? When was your last meal? Are you just thirsty? If you really feel that it is real hunger you’re feeling and it’s meal time, then have your meal. If not, distract yourself by keeping busy or drink more liquids like green tea or lemon/cucumber water.

#2 Re-train Your Brain, Re-train Your Stomach

Our stomach sends a signal to our brain when we’re full. But, it usually takes a few minutes after a meal to for the signal to get to our brain. So, if we stop eating until we are satisfied and not keep eating until we are full, we can wait for this signal to get to our brain and re-train our belly to digesting smaller meals.

This strategy will help us get satisfied with smaller portions and start eating less calories. The important step is to keep doing this consistently until you can confidently feel that you have re-trained your brain and belly to eating smaller meals. In that way, when you get hungry, you can be satisfied with smaller meals and not feel that you’re hungry all the time. If you can think about it, when this becomes a habit, it becomes effortless and second nature to you.

#3 Understand Hunger

Did you know that our brain sees hunger as a threat because its main goal is to keep us safe and alive? This system is in place so that we will have energy when we need it but this is also the reason why eating at a calorie deficit can also be difficult sometimes. If you understand that you can only use stored energy (body fat) for energy when your insulin levels are low or when you haven’t had any food for awhile, you will feel better about hunger.

Also, our brain’s hunger response mechanism was more important back in the stone age when people used to hunt for food. But, these days, our so called hunger feelings are usually associated with seeing food ads on t.v. all the time and not with the real hunger sensation.

So, our challenge for you this week is this: pay attention to your hunger and become aware of whether it’s real or not. Then, during meal times, make sure that you’re stopping until you’re satisfied so you can start to re-train your belly to digest smaller meals.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Thanks for stopping by!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandy Mychals May 9, 2011 at 6:38 am

Hi Anna,
This is seriously good advice! Not an emergency…I can so relate! I have felt this way many times, LOL! I’m so glad we are working together 🙂

Gail Nott May 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Hi Anna — is there an ideal amount of time in spacing out your meals? I think I tend to ignore hunger for too long.

Anna D May 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

Gail, studies have shown that meal frequency or the time between meals does not matter too much when it comes to health or weight management.

The important thing to pay attention to is how we respond to hunger when we do experience it after ignoring it for too long. Do we get so ravenous that we’ll eat anything or do you still eat sensibly? In the end, calories and calorie quality are what matter and if we’re hungry combined with stress, lack of sleep etc., our food choices tend to not be so healthy.

Great question!

Anna D.

BGR May 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Hey lady, you gonna eat dat?

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