Yesterday I was so hungry. I wanted to snack my way through my afternoon. I am working on weight loss so how much I eat is a factor. I try to eat enough food to fuel my body without eating more than I need at any one time.
Here’s the question – a person is working on weight loss and is hungry in the afternoon, what should they do?
Some common answers might be:
- Ignore it, the hunger will pass
- Drink a huge amount of water to fill up your stomach
- Eat a snack pack bag of carrots (low calorie) or a boiled egg (protein) and then stop
- Give up, go off the diet, feel bad, pledge to start again tomorrow
I’ve heard all these answers in practice and they don’t address the problem in a realistic way. There is a mindful eating saying that if hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the solution. (Read that again). So true and if I were bored or pissed off, then food wouldn’t be what I needed. However… I was hungry!
Isn’t the flip side of that saying: If hunger is the problem, then food is the solution?
Here’s the thing, our bodies are not steady-state machines in terms of how much energy (calories) they need each day because we don’t ask our bodies to do the same things every day AND all those inside workings are different day-to-day (immune responses, stress, etc.).
Some days, I may not need much food; my hunger will be low and I should take advantage and eat less if weight loss is my goal. As long as I ensure adequate nutrition that is – please don’t eat less than your BMR!
Other days, I may need more food (energy) and my body will let me know it’s hungry and so I should… well, according to the answers above… I should ignore that and eat by my plan. I should deprive myself, tell myself I’m a failure if I eat in response to hunger, fight through it because weight loss is hard and this is expected. I should basically spend the afternoon fighting a mental war between my body and mind.
Um, no. Why be so unkind to yourself?
Here’s the question again – a person is working on weight loss and is hungry in the afternoon, what should they do?
Simple. Easy. Honoring your body and loving yourself.
First, check in and make sure the hunger physiological. If it is, then FEED YOUR BODY!
Here’s how this dietitian handled a ravenous appetite:
- A handful of fresh cherries and about a cup of fresh blackberries. Wait. Still hungry.
- Add protein. A fresh apple with a little tub (3/4 oz. or a heaping Tbsp.) of peanut butter. Wait. Still hungry.
- Add protein / healthy fat. Pecans, Just under an ounce. Wait Still hungry. Are you kidding me body???
- Bring out those carbohydrates. A Flatout with 1 Tbsp. of light olive oil butter, a sprinkle of Splenda, cinnamon. Wait. Finally satiation! No more hunger!
I added nearly 600 calories in snacks yesterday and that put my total calories up a little higher than usual. So what? I ate to satisfy my hunger! Nutritious choices = more food! Choosing a convenience crispy-crunchy or chocolately snack would not have satisfied my hunger. I instead made nutritious choices and got to eat a whole lot until I felt satisfied.
Are you shaking your head at me and saying: I bet you put on weight by giving in to your cravings and eating all that food. Nope. I weigh in every morning and I’m up 0.2 lbs this morning, which is 100% water-not-weight variation. If in doubt, see my last post: Weight Loss: A Long and Winding Road.
The moral of my story is – feed yourself when you are hungry and do it with healthful choices.
(Image for blog from: https://memegenerator.net/)