Respect your hunger (but ask to see ID)

Chronic dieters often tell me that one of the hardest things about losing weight is constantly being hungry.

In the Weighless program, we don’t go hungry.

The correct response to the biological cue of hunger is to seek food. We don’t override or suppress this response.

But we also don’t eat constantly, either.

What we do instead is learn to recognize whether we are truly hungry–or just feel an urge to eat for some other reason.   And if we realize that the impulse to eat is actually out of boredom or stress or habit, we practice responding to those needs more appropriately.

We tackle this skill in month 2 of our 12 month program and many of our alumni look back on this as one of the most transformational parts of the program.

Want to give it a try? Here are some tips to help you decide whether it’s actually time to eat:

  • Consider when and what you last ate. If it’s been several hours since your last meal, or your meal was very small, you may actually be hungry. But if you just had a meal an hour ago or just ate a snack, you probably don’t really need food. Try drinking a glass of water and see if that removes the hungry feeling.
  • Consider your emotional state. If you’re feeling bored, anxious, stressed, lonely, or if you’re procrastinating doing something you don’t want to do, be skeptical of that feeling of “hunger.”
  • Consider what you want to eat. If you want to eat a bag of chips or a cookie, but you don’t want to eat a salad or chicken with broccoli, you’re probably not really hungry.
  • Try distracting yourself. Call a client, do a little work, or take a short walk. If you still feel hungry after 10 minutes, it might be time for a (healthy) meal or snack.

With a little practice, you’ll get a lot better at distinguishing true hunger from the urge to eat–giving you the opportunity to respond more appropriately.  You really can weigh less without ever feeling hungry, deprived or resentful.