Tag Archives: hunger

If Hunger is the Problem, Food is the Solution

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/)

Quinoa Loaded Bowl

Thoughts on Dieting and a Quinoa Recipe

One Pea on a Fork
One Pea on a Fork

I believe we should all eat when we are hungry.

I interned and now work part-time with a private practice that specializes in eating disorders. We all have that voice inside our heads that sends us positive and negative messages about our bodies, our food intake, our ability to control these things. Eating disorders, like any psychological illnesses, are normal thought patterns taken to the extreme. Those with eating disorders battle with that voice in their heads and that voice begins to win.

I have also worked briefly at a bariatric surgeon’s office who specialized in lapband surgery. I had ethical issues with his post-surgery diet so it wasn’t a good fit. In the time I worked there, however, I saw another form of disordered eating in both the pre- and post-surgery patients.

Both of these populations had lost touch with or flat out ignored their body’s hunger and satiety cues and I, in no way, endorse this.

If you are hungry, eat. If you are not hungry, don’t eat.

Yes, that is simplistic and much easier said than done; but that’s the premise for a healthy relationship with food.

I  also do not believe in “dieting” per se. The research shows time and time again that dieting does not work. No matter the method (low carb, low fat, high protein, shakes, meal plans, or simple calorie restriction), the weight comes off (duh), the dieting stops, and the weight comes back on. The diet mentality is not effective.

One can go “off” a diet and therein lies the problem.

I’ll step off my soapbox now to share a recipe and picture. I’m working on my food photography skills. Here is a version of a recipe I found in Clean Eating Magazine.

Quinoa Bowl: 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup rinsed black beans, 7 grape tomatoes halved, chopped red onion to taste, 1/4 avocado chopped, red wine vinegar to taste, lime juice, and cilantro. YUM!

Nutrition Info: 335 kcal, 56g CHO, 9 g fat, 13g protein.

Quinoa Loaded Bowl
Quinoa Loaded Bowl

Original publication date July 29, 2012 at http://newmotivationcoaching.blogspot.com.Images from personal photographs and http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images

How To Be a Healthy Snacker

A large snack of cookies and milk

I am a snacker.

I typically do not leave the house without two things: a snack and my water bottle. Snacking used to have a bad reputation. The standard American diet consisted of three square meals a day, not snacks. Snacking was linked in people’s minds with overeating and weight gain. It was a bad thing to do.

Oh how things have changed. Snacking is no longer the exception, it is now the norm and it may help people to lose or maintain their weight.

I got to thinking about this because I came across an article entitled “Frequent Snacking Linked to Healthier Diet” (1). This article reports on a five-year study of over 11,000 people aged 20 and over which found that snackers consume more healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, and milk products and less high-sodium foods. Well, it sounds like snackers do have healthier diets! As one reads on, the study also reported that snackers also consumed more sugar, solid fats, and alcohol along with fewer vegetables. Hmmm. Finally, the article reports on another study in a younger population (teenagers) that found that teen snackers also consumed more fruit and dairy products.
Another study on snacking from the November 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2) looked at women in the 30-60 age range and grouped them by BMI. The study found that normal weight women had the highest number of snacks (2.3 snacks/day), followed by those who had lost weight and were maintaining that loss (1.9 snacks/day), followed by those who were overweight (1.5 snacks/day).

This all seems to point to the fact that snacking may actually be beneficial in terms of BMI as long as we choose healthy snacks.

But is there a downside?

Let’s say that we eat a snack that includes carbohydrate-containing foods, such as fruit, milk, or grains. For most people, it takes 1 to 2 hours for all consumed food to move through the stomach and reach the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. Absorption of glucose (blood sugar) from the carbohydrate-containing foods triggers the hormone insulin, which is needed move glucose into our cells for use.

If we graze all day or have large snacks of carbohydrate-containing foods in between meals, we are asking our bodies to continue to release insulin and our insulin levels do not have time to go back down in between meals. On the flip side, if we eat three big meals a day, we see a big spike of glucose after that big meal and we may overload insulin’s ability to be effective. Both overloading our insulin with high levels of glucose at one time and having constantly elevated insulin levels can lead to insulin resistance and potentially to type 2 diabetes. Insulin also promotes energy storage – in other words, it makes our bodies store fat.

What’s a snacker to do?

It sounds like moderation and balance are the keys. I think we have heard that somewhere before. Here are some guidelines to help you keep your snacking healthy.

1. – Respect your body and eat when you are physically hungry. If your stomach is grumbling and you have been drinking your water, then it is time to eat something.

2. – Pick your snacks wisely. Focus on healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean proteins. If you decide to have a “fun food” for a snack, then pay attention to the next point!

3. – Watch your portion size. A snack should not be the same as a meal in size or calories.

As always – enjoy your food!

Original publication date: December 4, 2011 at http://newmotivationcoaching.blogspot.com.


1. Frequent Snacking Linked to Healthier Diet. Today Health Web site. Available at: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45307103/ns/today-today_health/t/frequent-snacking-linked-healthier-diet/

2. Bachman et al. Eating Frequency is Higher in Weight Loss Maintainers and Normal-Weight Individuals than in Overweight Individuals. Available at: http://www.adajournal.org/article/S0002-8223(11)01376-9/abstract

3. Image from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images.