You hate it… but what choice do you have?
“You HAVE to be hungry if you want to lose weight” is the message being reinforced all over the place.
From the fitness magazines talking about “tricks” to make hunger more tolerable to your friends and co-workers saying “Oh gawd! I’m sooooo hungry. But I need to stay on my diet”.
It’s such a normal part of everyday weight loss conversation and marketing messages that it doesn’t really stand out anymore.
You just think “I want to start losing weight again… but I’m not ready for that much hunger”.
But…is that really the case?
Do you have to be hungry to lose weight?
Certainly, you will want to experience SOME hunger… but there’s a huge difference between a) having the type of hunger at meal time that enables you to enjoy all of the flavors to the fullest, and b) Being hungry all the time.
If you have a long history of dieting, you might need to start trying to develop a new type of relationship with hunger…where you incrementally dip your toes into the water as you discover it’s not as bad as you remember it.
But, perhaps, more importantly, you need to get away from the idea that excessive hunger is just part of the process.
When I first started coaching people through my “Eat Until Satisfied, Not Stuffed” habit, I found it worked incredibly well for most people in the group… but for others, it started to backfire a little bit.
The reason is that if you have a long history of dieting, your barometer that enables you to gauge “satisfied” needs to be recalibrated.
Instead of thinking of “satisfied” as being close to – or synonymous with – “full”, you could be thinking of it more like “barely not hungry”.
Needless to say, I’ve changed how I introduce that habit now that I know that is such a common occurrence.
If you want to avoid binging, you need to make sure that you’re not making yourself too hungry.
In order to avoid excessive hunger, you need to eat enough at mealtimes.
Say it with me now…if you want to keep your calorie intake at reasonable levels that let you move towards your goals, you need to what?
That’s right…you need to focus on eating enough food.
You can’t start playing with decreasing how much you eat at each meal until you’re sure that you’re eating *enough* at each meal. If you’re having 3 small meals per day but 5 unplanned snacks, then you have no business trying to eat less at those 3 meals.
Eat enough food to be truly satisfied.
Make sure your meals are balanced so that you can maximize “satiety per calorie”, enabling you to go become comfortably full while you lose weight each month.
Perhaps most importantly, stay vigilant about the subtle, harmful messages from diet culture.
And ideally, start deliberately surrounding yourself with people who hold the types of attitudes about food and hunger that you want to have for yourself.
P.S. Want to create new habits to lose weight without being hungry all the time? Get the direction and social support you need to make lasting change in the Habit Project™.