Monday, August 2, 2010

Waiting for Hunger to Come

My number 1 rule when it comes to dieting: Always eat when you are hungry.

My number 1 suggestion to a person trying to lose weight: Always wait until you are hungry before you eat.

The healthy human body is very good at letting us know what it needs and when it is needed. Have you ever tried holding off on food until the body tells you it is time to eat? That's something I've been trying lately and it sure takes a long time before true feelings of hunger kick in. By true feelings of hunger, I'm talking about the stomach telling me that it is time for food. I'm not talking about wanting chips or candy or ice cream or a Frosty just because I'd like to have a few minutes of taste sensation.

Someone once described this difference in desires for food as stomach hunger and head hunger. You could also describe it as eating for need and eating for pleasure. I would eat for pleasure all day long if there were no consequences. Load up the desk drawers with Sugar Babies and chocolate, fill the cabinets with cookies and chips, stock the refrigerator with real soft drinks, and pack the freezer with ice cream. I would mindlessly eat all day and enjoy every minute of it.

However, there are consequences for this type of pleasure eating and one of the consequences is the excess weight stored throughout the body. If you really want to lose weight, then start eating when your stomach tells you that food is needed. Once you reach your goal then there will be times when a little bit of eating for pleasure will do no harm.

Since a blog is a one-sided conversation, let me address one thing that readers might be thinking if this blog had any readers. You're thinking that when a person waits until they are hungry to eat, they then tend to eat too much. Good point, but have you notice that people with a weight problem tend to eat too much even when they eat prior to being hungry?

Hunger (as most of us know it) is easily satisfied. The amount we eat during a meal isn't the volume that it takes to satisfy hunger, it is the volume that we have been conditioned to think of as a typical meal. For example, if I'm eating sandwiches for lunch, I'm conditioned to think that two sandwiches is the right amount. I've discovered in recent days that one sandwich is all that it takes to satisfy my stomach hunger, my need for food. The second sandwich is almost exclusively about pleasure and habit.

Start eating for need by waiting on stomach hunger and then try eating only half of what looks like the right amount. It is almost a certainty that you'll lose that weight that has been difficult to lose in the past. It will involve some mental reconditioning, but it won't involve pain or hunger. If you believe you can do it, then you'll be able to do it without much difficulty.

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