From the desk of Laura Foresta, RD, LDN…
When you are hungry, you deserve to eat.
Yup, that’s right. When you feel hungry your body is telling you it’s low on fuel. When your car’s gas tank is empty, do you continue to drive it or do you stop at a gas station to fill it up? Eventually it will stop going without fuel. When your body’s tank is empty, do you stop to refuel? The reality is, if we ignore our hunger, our body responds by slowing down and conserving energy. When we ignore hunger cues long enough, we don’t get them anymore and stay in energy conservation mode. That means we are burning fewer calories throughout the day, making weight loss even more difficult. Eating when hungry helps your body stay in calorie-burning mode.
Some people feel anxious when they feel hungry. It might help to know hunger is a normal physiologic signal that your body needs fuel. Some people don’t feel hunger – especially chronic dieters. The good news is you can reset your hunger thermostat by eating regular meals. Eating breakfast is a great way to get your metabolism revved up. Breakfast skippers might notice they can go all day without eating, but then feel hungry in the evening and night. If you experiment with eating breakfast, you might notice you are hungry for a midmorning snack and for lunch, but end up eating fewer total calories for the day.
What does hunger feel like in your body? Does your stomach growl? Do you get a headache or get cranky if you wait too long to eat? What do full and overfull feel like? Do you feel uncomfortable or sick if you’ve eaten too much? If you wait until you are extremely hungry to eat do you tend to eat beyond comfortable fullness?
I invite you to experiment with eating when you are hungry (whatever time of day or night that is), and stopping when you are comfortably full (could go for 3 or 4 hours without eating again). Consider tracking your hunger level before you eat anything and your fullness level when you are finished eating. Do you notice any patterns? Get curious about what is behind your eating patterns, and use nonjudgmental language when thinking about them.
These experiments will help you on the path to the land of the non-dieter. Welcome!
Want to learn more about the non-diet approach to weight management? Sign up for Enjoy Every Bite – a 6-week nutrition series beginning January 12th. Space is limited so call 617-447-2222 or complete the form at http://ombecenter.com/contact/ today to reserve your space!
Laura Foresta is a registered, licensed dietitian and nutrition coach with more than 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. Laura provides individual and group nutritional counseling, community nutrition workshops, and corporate lunch-and-learns and wellness programming.
Many of Laura’s clients come to her after having ridden the weight loss roller coaster for years, only to come off the ride at a heavier weight and more confused than ever about what to eat. Balancing nutrition, exercise, work, and family is challenging in our fast-paced, stress-filled world. Imagine how different your life would be if you made peace with your food and your body.
It is possible to achieve your natural, healthy weight and improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, all while enjoying the foods you love. Laura is passionate about helping you feel more confident about your food choices and trust your ability to eat healthfully.