Thursday, March 20, 2014

The discomfort of being "hungry"

Many people want to lose weight. After all, the whether is warming up and summer will be here before you know it! (In fact I'm already working on my tan doing yard work on the weekends!) But when people want to lose weight they realize they'll have to make some eating habit changes. They'll have to eat a little less, maybe stop drinking so many calorie dense beverages or cut back on the nightly sweets.

But here is one thing most people don't quite get until they embark on the "cutting out" phase of their weight loss journey: hunger.

Hunger is something we never think about because in our society food is everywhere. So when even thethought of being hungry kicks in, we fix it. And fast. Usually we end up eating more than we need too. Using a scale of 1-10, if our hunger is a 2, we eat like it's an 8. This results in too many calories and weight starts to creep on. In fact, this is how many people accidentallyGAIN weight on a diet!!

Two Saturdays ago, our Precision Nutrition clients had our first meetup. These are clients who are enrolled in the Men's and Women's Lean Eating program, as well as clients who have purchased the Precision Nutrition System. One of the talking points we discussed was eating to 80% full. This transitioned into hunger cues and how to tell when we are full or still a little hungry.

Here's the thing about hunger: it's uncomfortable. It shouldn't hurt, but you should definitely be aware and think, "hey, I'm hungry". This is okay! What else would you expect your body to do/say when you're cutting back on how much energy it's getting. If your car had a brain and it started getting low on gas, it would tell you to quit pushing on the gas pedal so much, and start letting you know it's getting low on fuel.

Here's what happens when we get hungry: our body sends cues saying it's low on energy so feed it. When no food comes but the energy demand is still there, adrenaline kicks in and start to pull from fat stores for energy. So being hungry is a good thing for fat loss!

Starving? no! A little hunger? yes.

There are a few things to keep in mind. Don't think that if a little hunger is good, that a lot is better. The body has an optimal range it operates in. Drop out of that range and things go south in a hurry; concentration fades, you might get jittery, you get sleepy and you get irritable. And then nobody wants to be around you. When nobody wants to be around you, you get lonely. When you get lonely, you get desperate. Don't get desperate. On top of that, your metabolism significantly slows down thus defeating the purpose of why you originally started eating less.

Lastly, when you eat, don't just eat enough to take the edge off. Eat enough so that you're about 80% full. Will you ever get to exactly 80%? No. Sometimes you won't eat enough and you'll be hungry within a couple of hours. Other times you'll eat a little much and think, 'that's a little closer to 95-100%." But you know what the big picture thing is here? You were aware. You thought about the food you were eating and you were conscious of what your body was telling you. And that is the main goal!

So the take home? Focus on habits. If you're not consistent with habits, nothing will change. Need help changing your habits? Check out the Precision Nutrition System. I just ordered a copy for our office and will be creating a curriculum from the information in the binder. Want us to coach you through the PN system? Email me at and we'll get started ASAP! 

By the way, you might be wondering since our last email how my habit of eating more to gain weight is going? Well, I've been sticking to a 4-egg scramble in the morning with veggies and cheese as well as a post-workout peanut butter/banana/chocolate shake afterwards. I'm up to 206. And it's time to add a different habit! I think the eggs in the morning is pretty well solidified in my life now!

Have a great week!

No comments:

Post a Comment