Losing weight can be extremely overwhelming with the sheer number of exercise routines and dietary recommendations out there. Some studies say eat 5 small meals daily, others suggest limiting calories after 6 PM, and now intermittent fasting is gaining popularity. Other research suggest only consuming food when you are actually hungry and not at set times during the day. So this brings up a major question, how do you know when you are TRULY hungry? There are a variety of factors that may influence our desires to eat, and true hunger isn’t always the case.
Have you ever gone between meals for more than 5 hours, 8 hours, or even 12 hours? Some of us may answer “sure I have”, other may say “on occasion”, and a few might say “no way could I last that long!” If you answered no, there might be an underlying reason for your proposed hunger pangs.
One of the easiest ways of determining if your hunger is actually hunger is to fill out a detailed food log (available soon from Fiteeza’s Pro Resources http://fiteeza.com/pro-resources). I always suggest clients include time of day, mood, energy level, hours of sleep, and any other pertinent daily details. A food log not only gives you clues about macronutrient ranges but can also give you clues about dehydration, emotional eating, boredom eating, and even stress eating.
If you mainly drink coffee, consume high sodium foods, and hardly ever pick up the water glass it is safe to assume dehydration is potentially causing your hunger. Did you know that women should drink approximately 90 ounces of water a day, and men should consume 120 ounces of water per day? A classic nutritionist trick is to drink a glass of water when your belly begins to grumble. If you are still hungry 20 minutes and 20 ounces later, you can assume your body needs food.
That food log can also give us Pros details about stress and boredom eating too. If you notice you always hit the cookies after your morning meeting then stress may be causing your cravings. If you find yourself always needing a snack around 3:00 PM, then maybe you are bored and using food as a pick-me-up. Once you identify your patterns, surround yourself with the healthy stuff if you have to eat to appease your emotions. (search “snacks” on the blog for specifics!)
The easiest way to lose weight is to just not eat right? Well there might actually be something to that, and it’s called intermittent fasting. This eating “style” is gaining popularity, and every single person does this daily believe it or not. You fast daily from the time you eat your last meal, all the hours you sleep, and until you have breakfast. This style suggests extending that fasting time so you eat twice during an 8 hour window and fast the other 16 hours.
This approach of eating is not recommended for everyone especially those with blood sugar issues. A lot of people enjoy fasting because it is less to plan, less to cook, and they feel they fret less about food. Another major factor of intermittent fasting is the mental fortitude it takes to sustain the fast. Some people feel they become more in tune with their bodies, break their bad food habits, and train their will power. If you think about it, if you don’t use your muscles you lose them. If you don’t train your brain and exercise your control over food you will most definitely lose it.