The proven # 1 skill for fat loss: Hunger

I talk about hunger a lot with my clients for two reasons:


1)This skill is the single most important skill for fat loss. If you only picked up ONE new skill with your eating habits, this would be a good one! Like a foundation is to a house. And


2)So few of us are well acquainted with listening to their natural hunger cues that it’s a powerful starting point. 


We call this skill “Mastering Hunger” because figuring out how to use hunger to support your goals can vary depending on what those goals are.  If we don’t have mastery over this skill, too little hunger and too much hunger it can lead to overeating.


In Georgie Fear’s book,


Lean Habits, she discusses how to tell the difference between true hunger and false hunger.


False hunger (otherwise known as a craving or head hunger), may come up suddenly, and might also go away if you wait 20  ish minutes before eating. False hunger is more of a feeling you might get in the mouth, throat, head, or throughout the body.


This is usually a strong craving or urge such as when you walk into a kitchen and smell a fresh batch of brownies and all the sudden be “hungry for a brownie”


One other way to tell the difference is by asking yourself the question: “is there a specific type of food I want right now? Or would I be happy to eat a balanced meal?” 


If you desire a specific type of food, then that is a craving! (Go ahead, try asking yourself next time!)


This skill is both the single most important one to learn yet so few people are actually skilled in it, especially life long dieters! 


Have you ever noticed that chronic dieters are usually the ones with the most complicated relationships with food? 


Dieters have often lost the ability to use their bodies to decide when to eat and are using their willpower instead, which can be totally exhausting!


“I never feel hunger like you’re describing…have I silenced my hunger cues forever?” 


If you are someone who hasn’t experienced true body hunger in a while, don’t worry! Our bodies are amazing and capable of re-learning how to tune in! It is just going to take some practice.


And, when you get reacquainted with hunger signals by eating only what your body biologically needs, you can actually decrease body weight, food obsession, and other frustrating eating behaviors.


Some people might say, “Well, I never feel hungry!” and that’s pretty common. It could be for a number of reasons. 


If you’re someone with a long history of dieting, then you have learned how to manage or fight off hunger by eating small meals or snacks every couple of hours so you don’t ever feel hungry. 


This was my personal experience. I was afraid of feeling hunger or having low blood sugar, so I always had a snack handy. 


Another reason could be that you are eating larger meals than needed, which causes you to stay fuller longer, even up to your next “meal time”, when you go ahead and eat again. 


On the flip side of that, if you often go longer than 6 hours without eating or you feel hungry for more than 60 minutes before you eat, this can lead to over-eating later on. 


If you’re someone who struggles with stress eating or emotional eating, something to note is the more a person eats for reasons other than actually being hungry, the more over-eating they are likely to participate in. 


Some people try to counteract these excess calories by limiting food, increasing exercise, and pile on the self-criticism and shame. (A vicious cycle that is not only not kind but it’s also not effective in the long term!) 


Alright, would you like to try it out for yourself? Let’s learn to tune back into hunger.


Try noticing if you get that hollow sensation in your belly before you eat next and take note of what it feels like. Try to wait 30 minutes before eating your meal. This will allow you to feel steady hunger before eating. Does that feel too long? Try it for 15 minutes at first and build up over time. 


Now, this habit will take time and practice to develop but you will become more comfortable the more you practice and the feelings will become more familiar to you.


Think of it like having to go to the bathroom or feeling sleepy. You don’t always go to the bathroom right away or go straight to bed when those feelings come up and you sometimes have to wait a bit.


If you are someone who feels panic when you experience hunger, remember those are your thoughts and your mind, but you are exchanging listening to your thoughts of panic with listening to what your body is telling you. 


This skill is a matter of learning to trust yourself and how are you going to do that without practicing it?

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