Hunger

Several survey respondents asked me to write about hunger and how I deal with it.  To say I don’t experience hunger would be a lie.  To say that I experience a lot of sensations that register as hunger more often than I experience actual hunger would be a very accurate statement   For me, learning to distinguish hunger from emotions and conditions that register as hunger has been a huge part of my success.

Photo by malias

Photo by malias

In my previous ways, when I felt the urge to eat something, I’d go hunting for a snack.  At work, it would be a trip to the vending machine for some chips, a cherry pie, or a pack of orange cupcakes with the little white curlicues on it.  At home, it would mean a trip to the kitchen to eat whatever was in the house.  I could eat an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures in one afternoon.  I’m not exaggerating.

Nowadays, my primary weapon against hunger is my diet.  That’s diet, as in the way I select, portion, and prepare foods as a lifestyle, not diet, the thing that we do for a couple of weeks in hopes of losing a little weight.  I eat foods which are nutrient-dense.  I eat four servings of fruits each day.  I have four servings of vegetables, too.  When I eat grains, I make an effort to eat whole grains, which my body digests over time rather than all at once.  I consume fats and proteins, too, which promote satiety — the sensation of being full.  I don’t need any appetite suppressants because the foods I choose provide me with the nutrients my body craves.

Another way that I thwart hunger is by eating three meals and three snacks a day.  I eat at 7:00 AM, 10:00 AM, noon, 2-3:00 PM, 6-7:00 PM, and again between getting home and going to bed.  By stretching out my food, I not only keep my metabolism steady, I usually don’t have to wait long until it’s time to eat if I do feel hungry.

Feeling hungry and being hungry are different things.  I established early on that I’m a boredom eater.  If I’m teaching a class, I sometimes forget to eat my 10:00 snack.  When my mind is engaged, I rarely sense false hunger signals.  When I’m sitting at my desk, though, office hours can drag on forever when all I want to do is have a snack.

In OfficeOther sensations that can be perceived as hunger include thirst.  I keep my monster jug of water at hand at all times, and I give it a swig if I think I’m feeling hungry.  It’s surprising how often I was just thirsty.  To determine if it’s boredom that’s the culprit, I’ll sometimes get up and make a trip to the mail room, copier, or a coworker’s office to distract myself.  You have no idea how many blog posts I’ve written to distract myself from boredom.  A resource I’ve linked to before, 101 Things To Do Other Than Eat, gives some great ideas for this.

We learned in class that foods high in protein and fat provide the body with high levels of satiety.  Additionally, there has been recent research done on the glycemic index, which categorizes foods as being quickly digested or slowly digested.  By choosing foods which have a low glycemic index, your body digests the food more slowly.  An example of a low-GI food is an apple.

To summarize, I battle hunger by eating right, spacing my meals apart, challenging the sensations that register as hunger before acting on them, and working to distract myself.

What are your tips to battle hunger?

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4 thoughts on “Hunger

  1. tracey campbell says:

    I basically stay on the higher protein, lower carb, and 5-6 small meals a day. Also, I have found that sugar free gum-a lifesaver, along with my ever present water bottle. Sometimes I feel like I am floating, but I am not starving.

  2. Tracey, interesting about the gum. For me, nothing wakes a sleepy satisfied tummy up like a stick of gum!

    I also eat frequently through the day, and eat small meals – yay for bento box lunches! I drink water all day long, and find that it’s mid-afternoon when I get signals to eat food, rather than I’m hungry. I typically work out then (false hungries or not), and by the time I’m done, I’m genuinely hungry for dinner.

  3. It can be really, really hard. There is no denying this. For us, we are currently enjoying a ‘win’ so to speak. Since January 01, 2013 (gee, I wonder why we picked that date!!), my husband has lost 12kgs and I have lost nearly 8kgs.

    There is a saying I recall – “No food tastes as good as the taste of being slimmer”. Stay with it – and don’t be put off. Credit to this site for some of the content – and of course to the author for his tenacity and determination. Ballygirldotcom.com

  4. trixfred30 says:

    To deal with hunger I need an objective – a reason for not eating – I can’t do it just because I want to lose weight / be healthy. I need a precise reason – getting married was a good one – or going on holiday. Right now I’m struggling because the holiday is in July!

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