- I thought weight loss was about willpower
- Being hungry makes you gain weight
- Eating natural food helps you lose weight naturally
For the 10 years I tried to lose weight I thought I had to be hungry to lose weight. But feeling hungry does NOT help you lose weight!
Respecting your body’s needs helps you lose weight.
When you’re itchy, scratch. If you have to go to the washroom, go. When you’re cold, put your coat on. And when you’re hungry, eat!
Why I thought you have to be hungry to lose weight
I thought you have to be hungry to lose weight because the diet industry stresses:
All these words are used in relation to food. For instance, if you restrict what you eat, people will say “You’re so disciplined!”
Growing up I also noticed that anyone who wanted to lose weight complained they were hungry. These conversations took place in everyday life and also on tv, over the radio and in movies.
Feeling a sense of starvation was tightly tied to the idea you have to be hungry to lose weight.
What happens when you think you have to be hungry to lose weight
Believing you have to be hungry to lose weight got me thinking that weak people eat too much and thin people have inner strength.
For 10 years I was disappointed in myself. I thought I’d lost my ability to put in the work that’s necessary to reach goals. Every time I ate I felt guilty; a terrible feeling that was followed by shame. I was sure my body was a moving placard announcing I had no self control.
The most frustrating part of thinking you have to be hungry to lose weight is that this approach is self defeating. Being preoccupied by hunger for 10 years interrupted my school work, social life and ability to train and compete in all the sports I loved. It also lead to more weight gain.
In short, thinking you have to be hungry to lose weight worked against my body and mind.
Why trying to be hungry to lose weight makes you gain weight
You feel hungry when you haven’t met your body’s needs. Hunger pains are your body’s way to signal for the energy and nutrients it lacks.
If you don’t meet your body’s needs regularly, your metabolism slows down. Then it’s harder to lose weight and easier to gain it!
Your body’s job is to keep you alive. Your body wants to keep your:
- heart pumping
- lungs passing oxygen into your bloodstream
- kidney’s extracting waste
… and so on. So when your body lacks the energy and nutrients it requires to function properly, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy.
Respecting your body helps you lose weight
You lose weight when you meet your body’s needs.
When you meet your body’s needs you feel full. It’s important to feel satisfied. It’s important to be comfortable! But the foods you fill up on can be the difference between being a healthy and unhealthy weight.
Processed foods have lots of empty calories. In other words, food that’s made in factories can lack nutrition. Unnatural food is often stripped of fiber, water, nutrients and other natural ingredients and then salt, sugar, sweeteners and other artificial ingredients are added. The result? You’re left with fake food, full of calories that go into your body but don’t actually serve a purpose. Therefore you can eat a lot of processed foods and still feel hungry.
Processed foods don’t meet your body’s needs.
People who eat processed foods regularly, often have low energy. Which leads to eating more processed foods and weight gain.
Alternatively, natural foods are packed with:
Whole foods are full of the energy and nutrients your body requires to function properly. Natural food meets your body’s needs. Thus you get full on fewer calories. Additionally, because natural food is in its natural state, your body has to do all the processing. Therefore whole foods take longer to break down, so you stay full longer.
Natural foods fill you up naturally and keep you full longer. Then you don’t eat more than you need. The result? You reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally.
How do you meet your body’s needs?
Eat roughly balanced meals made mostly of whole foods.
If you’re feeling hungry between meals eat a balanced snack made mostly of whole foods.
But, of course, it’s healthy to feel hungry leading up to a meal. If you’re eating a meal shortly, have a piece of fruit or peel a carrot (!) to tide you over. You want to be hungry enough to eat a full breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.The body never lies— Martha Graham, dancer
The beauty of meeting your body’s needs, rather than trying to feel hungry to lose weight, is that you can concentrate on the rest of your life. When you’re full you can focus on your friends, family, pets, neighbours, schoolwork, career and everything else that gives your life meaning.
Whether you’re cold, itchy, tired, have to go to the washroom or hungry, listen to your body! Give it what it needs. Eat! Scratch. Sleep. Go to the washroom. Put on your coat!
Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.
Now you know why trying to feel hungry to lose weight doesn’t work. And you know that meeting your body’s needs helps you feel full and reach a healthy weight. But that’s just the facts. You need to know how to get from A: eating the way you do now, to B: making eating balanced meals made of whole foods a habit. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive one of the best strategies I learned.
You don’t need to be hungry to lose weight. That approach is wrong. “It ain’t right!”
Every diet I tried I was sure: “I thought you were different, I thought you were cool …”.
I lost weight when I stopped dieting and focused on building healthy eating and exercise habits.
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
Do you associate determination, sacrifice and willpower with weight loss? How long have you been trying to be hungry to lose weight?