Wait, what? Did that title throw you off? Shouldn’t we eat when we are hungry?
Well, let’s first define what I mean by “hungry.”
When I am working with my clients on understanding how to use food as fuel and to ditch the concept of depriving ourselves with diets, we talk about what it means to be hungry.
I like to think about it in 3 stages…
Stage 1: Huh, I could eat…I’m feeling kind of hungry.
Stage 2: Yeah, I need to eat.
Stage 3: I’m gonna rip someone’s head off. I’m not hungry, I AM HANGRY.
Everything we need to know about losing weight, getting healthy and having a long term, sustainable nutrition approach has to do with one thing.
Blood Sugar Stabilization.
What is that? Well, your body functions optimally when your blood sugar is balanced and it will do so in one of two ways. Either through food or on it’s own. Doing it through food is WAY more efficient and longer lasting. When we do it on our own, it does so by pulling nutrients from our muscles…and when it does that, as a result, it will slow down your metabolism, causing you to store fat when you eat instead of burn it.
So when you are at Stage 1 of hunger, your body is saying, “HEY YOU…Yeah YOU! I burned off the excess food that I didn’t store and now it’s time to FEED me again because your blood sugar is gonna dip soon”
When you are at stage 2, your body is communicating with a bit more “firmness” in its voice. “Yup, okay, it’s time! I’m ready for you to stabilize my blood sugar…NOW!”
And then, at stage 3, picture yourself telling your kids for the 4th time to PICK UP THEIR CLOTHES OFF THE BATHROOM FLOOR. Because now your body is yelling at you with something like “How many times do I have to tell you to EAT FOOD? Huh? How many times? I am SICK and TIRED of you not listening to me the first time I tell you that it’s time. Don’t make me have to start pulling nutrients from your muscles…because god help me, if I have to knock on Muscle’s door again…..”
(Omgosh, can you tell I am a mom of TWO TEENAGE GIRLS?!?!?)
Here’s the thing. Once you get to Stage 3, your body and your brain aren’t in sync. It’s like when you upload documents to Google Drive and you keep checking your phone to see that they are there and THEY ARE NOT.
When only you eat when you are really hungry, your blood sugar is really low and your brain is starting to disconnect because it hates the pain that the hunger feels. So, when you finally do eat, you NEED carbs….I mean, there aren’t enough FRENCH FRIES in the world for my hangry body to consume when I get to that point.
But let’s say you eat the right portion of nutrients, just like I train my clients to do….you have eaten a balanced meal and…
You. Are. Still. Hungry.
That’s because your brain hasn’t caught up to your stomach. You still feel crazy, unbalanced, hangry, and you need more food.
So you eat more. And then, finally, when your brain recognizes that you are full, it’s too. darn. late.
Yeah, by then you are now so stuffed that you say the phrase, “Put a fork in me, I’m done.”
And you know what your body is saying, “Well, I don’t mean to say ‘I told you so’ but dang it girl, I TOLD YOU SO. I told you that we needed to eat and you waited until it was too late…I was off getting my muscle sandwich on so by the time I realized you were feeding me, it was too late and by the time I saw what you had done, you already stuffed me to oblivion. So, I hope you are proud of yourself…your blood sugar is now really high and as a consequence, I am going to have to just store all that food as fat because I cannot risk you doing this to me again. Therefore, if I store it as fat, if you decide to play this game again, I will be prepared with lots of excess to draw from the next time. Do you hear me? I am storing fat with this excess food you just ate because I am done with your attitude.”
So, the key here, folks? Eat at about Stage 1 to 2…but what should you eat? Well, that is a topic for another day but lucky for you I already wrote about that HERE so go at it.
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