Welcome back! In the last part of my Raw Food Weight Loss Series, I talked about the importance of counting calories, whether you are aiming to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain weight. It’s one of many key aspects to reaching your ideal weight. So… for those of you counting calories, have you realized that you might be eating more than you really need? Making it hard to lose those unwanted pounds?
Today’s topic: Hunger! Are you REALLLLLLLY hungry?*
Coming off the last blog post about counting calories, if you’re in the plan where you need to create a calorie deficit for weight loss, hunger can be an issue that isn’t fun to deal with. Here is what I want you to consider when you “think” you’re hungry for snacking or late night (after dinner) eating… Are you really hungry? Is it true hunger? *Note: I don’t typically apply this exercise to routine eating of meals such as breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner… it’s important to keep your blood sugar balanced and I’ll address normal meals in a future post. Rather, this exercise of finding out if you’re really hungry is one to help prevent you from eating excess calories as usually happens with in-between-meal-snacking (save for the one you should/could have between lunch and dinner) and late at night munching.
In my experience, I differentiate true hunger by a simple question of “What sounds good to me right now?” If the answer is that lettuce (or a tomato or a simple salad) sounds super good(!), then most likely I am really hungry. However, if I go through the same quick mental exercise and a plain tomato (or celery or carrot) doesn’t sound yummy, and instead I want a snack bar or almond butter with dates or a sandwich or something that is touching upon my cravings, then I’m probably not really hungry.
Many times, I find that people aren’t really hungry, rather they are looking to food because of emotion, boredom, cravings, mindless eating, or stress. It’s during these times that eating can be a bad thing. You end up consuming too many calories and for all of the wrong reasons. This is an important distinction, but it’s an easy one. Basically, every time you’re headed to the kitchen or vending machine for food, ask yourself… Am I really hungry? Am I seriously hungry? Am I truly hungry? Or… am I headed toward food because I’m stressed, emotional, bored (this used to my challenge), or craving something unhealthy? Many of my clients find it useful to put a note on the refrigerator with the question: Am I REALLY hungry?
Once you determine whether you’re really hungry or not, take the next step. If you’re really hungry, then assess your calories for the day and determine what you need/want to eat. However, if you determine that you’re not really hungry and instead you are looking to food for something other than what it’s intended for…. then go do something else. Go for a five minute walk or read a book or get on facebook and say hi to your family and friends or read some raw food blogs for inspiration to not give in to eating when you’re not really hungry. *Note: if you’re in a mode where you need to gain weight, then eating when you’re not really hungry may be in the cards for you. Just keep in mind that when you reach your goal weight you’ll need to adjust your mind and realize that you no longer need to eat when you’re not really hungry so that you don’t end up gaining weight beyond your goals.