Lose Weight By Appreciating Mild Hunger

When attempting to lose weight most nutritional guidelines limit the amount of calories consumed in one day. To help cut down on snacking and build self-control, consider challenging yourself to maintain a state of mild hunger until it is time for your next meal.

Personal finance blogger Mr Money Moustache points out how to trick yourself into turning mild hunger into a tool:

It's an unusual feeling for a rich-world person, but once you get used to it, having a slight craving in your tummy can make you feel invigorated and warriorlike. When you are really hungry, eat a good meal. But if you're just slightly hungry, imagine that your body has moved its suction tube from the usual "stomach" setting, over to "stored fat reserves". It is now a positive challenge to maintain this mild hunger as long as possible, because you want to keep that suction going for many hours each day.

Keep in mind that this technique should not be confused with anorexia, but if you have a visible beer belly a little mild hunger won't hurt you. Also consider that many eating plans revolve around several small meals instead of the traditional breakfast-lunch-dinner paradigm, and this technique won't be the best for that.

If you do want to try it out you can always supplement with very low calorie snacks such as celery, cucumbers, or carrots. These add nutrition and can dull the sharpness of a hunger pang without disarming it completely.

How to Be Slim [Mr Money Moustache]


    I think one of the most important points made here is that of supplementing normal meals with healthy snacks; not only for the immediate benefit of keeping the metabolism going and relieving some level of hunger, but also because it can be invaluable at teaching a person about snacking healthily, which is often the hardest part of cleaning up ones diet.

    In my own experience I found that creating the right snacking routine for myself was the key to understanding my own energy levels, which is so important when you're talking about an exercise routine that requires a trip to the gym after a full day of work.

      Unfortunately, "keeping the metabolism going" is bad science and misinformation. Your metabolic burn only increases by the amount that it takes to consume the food (Thermic Effect of Digestion or TED - usually between 1-10% of the caloric value). The increase in energy/vitality felt is usually an indicator that your body is not that well adapted to using body fat as a fuel source.
      As this is obviously a bad thing, especially for those trying to BURN body fat, it can be a good idea to expand the time between foods as much as comfortably possilble, on a regular basis. This gives the body a chance to adapt to lower insulin levels, which "selects" fats as a more preferred fuel source. Then you can run more comfortably on less fuel, meaning faster fat loss!

    Intermittant Fasting and other protocols that refamiliarise you with how tolerable hunger can actually be have been very successful lately. I have experimented with both LeanGains and Eat Stop Eat with positive results.

    Apparently there is a hormone called ghrelin which increases as we feel hunger that also increases mental focus (amongst other things), so that can aid with that feeling of "sharpness" when hungry.

    Let me suggest cottage cheese as an addition to the snack list as well. The protein content holds it in the stomach longer then food without, stretching out the feeling of satisfaction, and it is very low in both carbs and fat calories.

    I found I am more successful in not getting hungry with the 3 main meals a day because several meals a day requires spacing out and I cannot be bother to wake up to eat.

    I found that a good meal will tie me over till the next one without having to snack. I notice hungry most easily at work and because of that, I keep a food diary. I have a meal, fullness after meal, fullness at 3.30pm. I also make sure the meal roughly meets 45-60g carbs, good amount of protein etc. I lost 15 kgs in over a year with that and I surprise colleagues when I don't do regular morning teas and afternoon teas.

    Sorry, should have proofread my last post, the "meal, fullness after meal, fullness at 3.30pm" are categories in the food diary.

    The other advantage of allowing yourself to feel hunger is an increased appreciation of food when you eventually eat that meal.

    If you also develop a habit of eating slowly and stopping when you're no longer hungry (instead of when you feel too full to continue), you've made a damn good start to a sustainable diet.

    Add some regular exercise and a reduction of (especially high GI) carbs and you'll be buying new, smaller clothes in no time!

    This is not possible for me. I cannot not eat in the face of even the slightest drop in food levels in my stomach! Physiologically, my body can't stand it to the point where I can't sleep, sudden onset of ADHD, etc.

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