Hunger Is Not An Emergency

hunger non hungry eating weight loss Oct 09, 2021

What do you do when you get hungry?

Quickly grab something to eat, no matter what time of day - or night - it is?

I've noticed a trend lately with clients that they don't like how being hungry feels and they're in a rush to get rid of that feeling. And I get it. Hunger is supposed to feel uncomfortable.  We're wired this way so we'll stop what we’re doing and search for food. This has kept us alive for hundreds of thousands of years.

But then they're also disappointed when their pants are getting tighter.

While I'm not of the thinking that you need to constantly be hungry in order to lose weight, you certainly can't eat more than your body is asking for and expect to lose weight. And often what my clients are experiencing is not 'true' hunger.

There’s two types of hunger that we humans experience.

There’s the sensation of hunger – which is what I call true hunger – where your stomach feels empty, it may make some growling kind of noises and you definitely recognise this as your body asking for food.

And then there’s the thought of hunger – or what I call 'head' hunger - which also feels like real hunger, but it's not. It's your head asking for food, not your stomach.

And that's because in this day and age we're inclined to use food for reasons other than to satisfy our hunger. Often not realising that is what we're doing.

We eat when we’re happy, sad, lonely, stressed, bored or because we don’t feel good about ourselves. Some of us eat in secret – in the car or when everyone else has gone to bed. As children we learn that food comforts us, at least temporarily and as adults we continue to turn to food for relief.

But if you're trying to maintain or lose weight, eating for reasons other than hunger and doing so often, is going to work against you.

So what can you do?

Before rushing off to grab something quickly to eat, stop and ask yourself 'Am I really hungry?'

Often clients will report not knowing if they really are hungry. But its only by tuning in and checking that you can start to work it out.

Another clue as to whether it's true hunger or not, is the speed at which it comes on. If it feels like you need to act NOW or something terrible will happen, then that's your head. True hunger usually is more gradual.

The other thing to know is that if you don't eat immediately, you can always 'dine in.' As in use the fat on your body as fuel, which after all, is what it's there for.

So next time you feel hungry, instead of quickly grabbing something to eat, ask yourself first 'Am I really hungry?' and see what happens. Worst thing is you may end up 'hangry.' But despite feeling like it, that's not really a life threatening situation!

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