Hunger- Understand hunger and how to manage it
If you have recently started trying to lose weight there is a good chance that hunger has become a factor and if it hasn’t yet it soon will be.
Whether you are adhering to a set of macro targets or just reducing your intake there may be times when you feel hungry. This is entirely normal and may have less to do with what you require to maintain optimal health and may have more to do with what you would like to eat based on habitual processes and what you have been exposed to in your environment.
Hunger can be divided into homeostatic and non-homeostatic hunger or the wish to eat to maintain homeostasis or the wish to eat based on other factors.
Let us take you on a little thought experiment which I pinched from obesity researcher Stephen Guyunet…
Pic by Lukas Budimaer
Imagine we go for dinner and you order your favourite starter. The starter is served and it’s delicious! Next comes your main course, again it’s your favourite.
You finish your main course and you are feeling totally stuffed, the kind of stuffed that makes it tough to breathe. Then the waiter brings out some potatoes that should have been included in the order with no salt, no butter and no sauce whatsoever!
How many would you eat?
Not many right?
So, in this scenario you still get your favourite starter and your favourite main course. You finish and you’re feeling totally stuffed. But this time the waiter brings out a complimentary chocolate fudge brownie with ice cream.
You’re equally as stuffed as you were in scenario 1.
Could you manage a bit of fudge brownie? You betcha!
Ask yourself, why do people add sugar to tea? Why do people add syrup to oats? Is it out of a need for calories or is it out of habit?
Hunger is as much about what habits you have developed as it is managing homeostasis. Here is how to manage hunger:
If you have noticed you have been feeling hungry the first port of call is to check that you are hydrated. Hunger can be a symptom of dehydration so if you have noticed your urine isn’t clear in colour, fix your hydration. Check out my previous post for help on hydration.
Choose foods that satiate you and are relative low in calories. If you wanted to overeat and put on as much body fat as possible our advice to you would be to avoid protein and fibre as they will fill you up and you can eat relatively less of the foods high in protein and fibre.
We would tell you to choose your favourite foods that are;
High calorie density
We would also tell you to get loads of variety so you don’t become bored whilst eating!
Have you ever gone to a buffet where you find you have eaten about three times the amount you would usually simply because the variety was so high?
What about going to the cinema where without realising it you have eaten the entire large popcorn just because you were distracted?
If these are the factors in what cause us to overeat we can deduce that the opposite are factors in helping us stay on track in a caloric deficit, and that has been our experience.
The Hunger Games – 5 Principles to keep you on track:
1- Keep fat intake low and consume mostly essential fats.
2- Keep sugar intake low and take on most of your carbs from vegetables and slow burning low glycaemic index carbs.
3- Reduce variety in each meal. You can keep some variety in the low calorie density foods you eat like vegetables but having multiple carbohydrate and fat sources in each meal is best avoided if hunger is an issue.
4- Don’t become distracted whilst eating especially if you are watching food adverts or cooking programs!
5- Stay Hydrated! This is a good rule for more reasons than just hunger too… make it happen!
If you want to work with one of our coaches to restore some order and get that added bit of momentum please get in touch using the contact for below.
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