Open any fitness magazine and you’re likely to read, “eat small, frequent meals” and “don’t let yourself get too hungry”. These aren’t the worst pieces of dietary advice. “Everything in moderation” probably holds that title. However, eating frequency and grazing has been taken to an extreme. This has resulted in most of us having no clue when we’re hungry because we’re never really anywhere close.
I have clients admitting “I’m scared of being hungry” or “my friends joke I never miss a meal.” I’m certainly not advocating stomach growling (there was actually a Christian weight loss program I reviewed a few years ago with some sort of a “love the growl” slogan, I swear) or starvation. And yet we need to be in touch with what our bodies need and not simply eating and “feeding” preventively.
First, regularly assess your hunger. A 1-10 scale works nicely. If 1 is very little hunger/satiated and 10 is feeling faint/not good you want to eat at a 7 or 8. A rule I use with non-vegetarian clients is the “Chicken Test”. If I ask you if you want chocolate or even cheese and crackers, you may say yes. However, these treat foods are appealing regardless of hunger. If I ask you if you want a piece of grilled chicken, you will only accept when you are hungry.
Another exercise is to pick a day and let your appetite determine when you are ready to eat. If you’re worried about your work hours or schedule, simply have your meals prepared (boiled eggs, a salad and nuts aren’t difficult to transport) ahead of time. In the morning, don’t eat at 6am on autopilot if you aren’t hungry. Wait a bit…but not too long, I’d say up to 2 hours. Try to use the 1-10 hunger meter throughout the day.
There are days I’m upper super early and it’s 11am and I decide it’s lunchtime.
Or, if breakfast is a substantial smoothie, it may be 2pm before that mid day meal comes. Don’t push intervals between meals or snacks more than 4 hours at first but learn that your appetite isn’t fixed. And now tell me the diet advice that bugs you the most or if you’re scared of getting too hungry.
“If you pay attention to when you are hungry, what your body wants, what you are eating, when you've had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist.” Geneen Roth
And, the winner of our Smoothie Giveaway/ Socal Detox Powder is Randi