I was reading posts in a group on facebook that supports people trying to lose weight and become more healthy. It is based on the weight loss story of Brian Flemming. It’s a closed group, but they do take pretty much all comers. You can find the group here.
As I was reading today a topic was raised that has come up many times before – hunger. The person was asking how people who have been successful at losing weight have dealt with hunger. She said she could probably eat 6,000 calories in a day, and still be hungry.
I know how she feels, I was that way once as well. When you are in a cycle of overeating, you lose track of what hunger really is. Your body starts to crave certain foods, and your brain mistakes that for hunger. Foods with the right combinations of fat, salt and sugar are even engineered in such a way to feed into that craving, and actually make it increase. There is a great book called The End of Overeating by doctor David Kessler that goes into great detail about this phenomenon..
All the talk about hunger got me thinking. I didn’t read the book until I was 8 months into my journey, but by then I had adjusted my thinking on food, I had beaten hunger. How did I do it?
What I said on that group, and what I will say here is that I learned to be comfortable with a hunger feeling. At first it was very difficult, but over time I was able to reset my brain and how I think about being hungry, until I actually looked forward to the feeling. What I shunned was the feeling of being stuffed, and instead I embraced a slight hunger pang in my belly.
I am now at the point where if I finish a meal, and still feel a little hungry, I consider it a victory. That slight hunger is my body telling my brain that it’s got enough fuel, and it is good to go.
For all of us looking to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, getting back in touch with what hunger really is, and separating it from a craving to over eat, is essential. True hunger is the body telling us it needs fuel. But when that feeling makes us want to overeat, it is a different kind of craving altogether.
As I am writing this post, it is about 6:45pm. I finished eating dinner (blackened tilapia, grilled asparagus, and a leafy salad) about 20 minutes ago. I feel slightly hungry right now, and I am totally fine with it. In fact, I am happy about it.Later this evening I will treat myself to a cup of grapes while I relax with a book or watch some TV.
If you are struggling with hunger, try this. Try learning to enjoy that feeling a little. Portion out a meal that is appropriate. Once you have eaten it, sit for a while and listen to what your body is telling you. If you still feel slightly hungry, let that feeling sink in.
I promise, you won’t die of starvation with that slight hunger feeling. And, the more you can embrace it, and the more you learn to listen to what your body really needs not just what your emotions want, the sooner you will be able to slay the hunger beast.