Why Are We So Scared of Feeling Hungry?

When did we decide that hunger was something to be feared? Pick up any popular diet book or magazine (usually geared towards women, but that’s a post for another day) and you’ll likely see tips like these:

  • Make sure to eat every 2-3 hours to stoke your metabolism, or else you’ll get hungry and binge later!
  • If you’re going to a party or event, eat something before you go so you’re not hungry later…when you might dig into unhealthy food there.
  • Eat something when you first wake up in the morning, even if you aren’t hungry, to get your metabolism going for the day.

We are fortunate enough to live in a place and time where there is luckily no shortage of food — so why are we so terrified of being hungry? We are so out of touch with true hunger cues, so royally fucked up from years of dieting and bad science telling us to snack all day so we don’t get hungry…WHY?

More frequent eating has been shown to lead to more calories consumed by the end of the week. The body needs time between meals to finish digesting, so if we are constantly piling more food in, that’s not ideal.

So what do we do?

Wait until you are hungry to eat. Our bodies are these incredibly complex, sophisticated machines. They keep us alive and breathing 24/7, so why would we be so silly to think that we need to control our hunger, when our bodies are perfect at doing nearly everything else? When you eat only when you are hungry, the central nervous system can accurately measure and send the right signals in order to maintain our ideal weight on the right amount of calories.

But problems begin when we start screwing with our natural hunger cues…eating when we aren’t hungry, not eating when we are hungry because it’s not a time when we “should” be eating, eating too much, then compensating by eating too little. Enter, the binge and purge vicious cycle that many women are all too familiar with.

And we’re certainly not doing ourselves any favors in this department by loading up on artificial ingredients, scarfing down foods scientifically engineered to prevent you from feeling full (I’m looking at you, Doritos), and eating an embarrassingly little amount of fresh produce. Is it really any wonder that you feel “hungry” even after devouring a bag of chips? You consumed little to no fiber or protein, just a shit ton of refined carbs.

We need to reconnect with our bodies; to relearn what is it to feel truly hungry. Next time you think you are hungry, eat a piece of fruit or some veggies. If you were truly hungry, then you should be satiated. If not, then it’s entirely possible that you’re bored/tired/sad/some other emotion and are simply looking for something to make those feelings go away.

And if you’re interested, I just compiled a list of Good Health Guidelines that I strive to follow, and that I credit with helping me to lose and maintain a 50 lb weight loss. Read up, and let me know what you think!

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