Today, as I was weighing in, I was thinking of how challenging it is to change...not just lose weight, but to really change ones lifestyle, in order to achieve goals, in this often hectic and dynamic world. Since I am heading towards 50, and my vanity is colliding with the mid life crisis that I am working towards, I am paying closer attention to the foods I am eating, and how they make me look and feel. As I am always discussing food choices with my friends who work out at Strength, I have great empathy for those who struggle with body fat loss, for we live in a world filled with good and tasty treats.
Many of us made some goals for the New Year, and for those who have weight loss goals, the challenges are often greater than we are prepared for. Your body is going to resist ANY effort you make towards body fat loss, since changes in nutrition cause changes in biochemistry...which you will "feel". As we begin to feel the changes in our bodies we often "feel" terrible. We may have trouble sleeping...or have extreme hunger surges or cravings during the day. We often react to these feelings by feeding. Why? "I am starving!", you might say. Trust me, with enough stored energy in our bodies to walk over 1000 miles without any food intake, you are NOT starving. Feeling hungry is not starving...nor is it unhealthy or dangerous (unless you become violent during "hunger periods"). Losing body fat causes a cascade of biochemistry changes that, once they have completed, will leave you feeling better than ever. But...you have to go through the challenge to get the reward, and that's where the techniques we use at Strength come in handy.
"Getting in touch with hunger" is a technique where you will become more aware of how you "feel" during this process of change, and what effect it has on your body, mind, and spirit. You are going to literally slow your eating down...eat less frequently, smaller meals with high nutrient/low calorie content...which will cause your "hunger hormone" Ghrelin to increase. This will cause you to go through the stages of false hunger as your body adapts to this new eating style:
“Teeth Hunger” - Sometimes, especially if we’re feeling irritated or stressed, we want to chew our frustrations away. Our bodies are not calling for food, but we put it in our mouths as an attempt to relieve anxiety.
“Mouth Hunger” - We see or smell something that looks so delicious that our mouths start to water. Sometimes just thinking about a food brings on a craving for it. We desire to taste the food, but really aren’t physically hungry.
“Mind Hunger” - We look at the clock and think we have to eat a certain amount of food because “it’s time”, even if we don’t feel like eating.
Thirst - Sometimes we confuse the sluggishness of dehydration with actual hunger. The body is calling for fluids, not food
Fatigue - When we sense that our energy levels are low, some of us automatically think that if we eat something, we’ll feel better. However, if we’ve been working extra hard and/or haven’t been getting enough sleep, our bodies are calling for rest, not food.
“Heart Hunger/Emotional Hunger” - We feel an ache and emptiness in our hearts due to unmet emotional and/or spiritual needs. Rather than acknowledge our feelings and work through our issues, we try to fill the void with food. Or sometimes we try to use food to “stuff” our feelings down. Although there can be physical discomfort in the gut when we’re upset, it is a distinctly different sensation from stomach hunger.
After you have taken the opportunity to feel and identify false hunger, and your body begins to adapt to this change, you will have an easier time getting to "true hunger", and you will begin to use these signals to determine proper eating for your lifestyle.
One important tool we use at Strength to help with the technique of "Getting in Touch With Hunger" is our 21 Day Fat Loss program. This 21 day journal will get you off to a successful start on your fat loss journey. Today...if you are reading this and feeling challenged...set up an appointment for a goal setting and food journaling session. You will be glad you did!