• Monika

How to tell if you are truly hungry?

People have been avoiding hunger like the plague, although feeling genuine physical hunger is a good thing, especially if you are trying to lose weight. If you've ever spend any time around lean people I'm sure you noticed that they always mentioned how hungry they were, like all the time. There is a reason why they are lean. Hunger is an absolutely normal signal from the body, and we simply cannot avoid it and still lose fat.

Snacks, a multi bilion dollar food industry, have been so successful because one thing they do really well is, keep us from feeling hungry, or as many would melodramatically call it starving. Let's just agree that if you have a bed, and a roof above your head, you are nowhere near being starving.

Hunger prevention is usually one of the best tactics to PUT ON WEIGHT not to lose it.

Constant snacking often leads to consuming too many "small" meals a day that have little nutritional value. I see this quite a bit in my client's food logs, when snacks equal to more calories than whole-food meals.

As a result of this, one of the main habits I like to work with my clients is to master your hunger. Really understanding what hunger is and how to use it to our advantage.

First step to mastering hunger is to know the difference between physical and emotional hunger.

Hunger is felt in the stomach.

Not in your head, not in your eyes, not in your mouth, and not in your nose.

Physical hunger

  • Comes on gradually

  • Is felt in your stomach, may or may not be accompanied by muscular contractions or growling

  • Any food will do, even vegetables

  • Easy to satisfy

Emotional hunger

  • Hits suddenly

  • Is a mental craving

  • Specific food desired

  • Hard to satisfy

False hunger doesn't usually last for more than 20 to 30 minutes and it's usually triggered by an emotion, time of day, smelling or seeing something appetizing.

Boredom, frustration, distraction, stress are some of the feelings that can induce false hunger.

Best way to check is to simply wait.

Getting into a habit of waiting 30-60 minutes before you eat a meal is a great way to make sure it's a bodily, not an emotional, need.

If you feel that steady hunger coming at you, wait 30-60 minutes, then sit down and enjoy your food.

Eat slowly and mindfully, enjoy every bite.

Stop when you are about 80% full and save those yummy leftovers for later.

When you master your hunger and fullness cues, you take advantage of your own body's mechanisms that are designed precisely to tell you how much food you need in any given day. No need to count calories anymore. Wouldn't that be nice?