Many traps lie in wait to trip us up, foiling our best-laid plans. One of the biggest hurdles to conquer with weight loss is dealing with feeling hungry. It’s miserable. For me, it means being grouchy, frustrated, and irrational. Physiologically, it’s against our nature for our bodies to cut back on calories. We’re programmed to consume to survive and crave fat and sugar to store up for future shortages. Fast forward to the age of mass consumption and we’ve got a problem.
Before my lifestyle change, my body was accustomed to getting loads of calories. Sure, I went through bouts where I deprived myself out of guilt, desperation, or sheer will-power, but I only set myself up for future binging. Cutting back calories results in feeling hungry; there’s no way around a body rebelling against suddenly getting shortchanged and screaming in retaliation. Surviving calorie deprivation has got to be one of the most difficult challenges to overcome because of this biological resistance to a lifestyle change.
But it’s possible to make it at least more bearable, and eventually overcome it, with some planning, without dying of starvation or caving. The best part is coming to appreciate what being hungry is and how it can be useful for managing a healthier lifestyle. As an obese person, I often felt like my body was always working to digest food, while at the same time feeling unsatisfied with whatever I was eating. It wasn’t until I started my lifestyle change that I began to appreciate the value of being hungry. I enjoyed meals and snacks more. I looked forward to eating the foods I’d planned for the day. I traded in grazing on foods that only ended up being mildly satisfying for stuff that truly tasted much better because I was hungry.
Soon after I started my blog, I wrote a series of posts with strategies to deal with being hungry. If you haven’t checked them out yet, or want a refresher, hopefully you’ll find at least some of them to be as useful as I have:
- Battling the Hunger Demon: Tip #1
- Battling the Hunger Demon: Tip #2- Air is mean to be inhaled, not food
- Drink Water: Battling the Hunger Demon, Tip #3
- Drop that Bag!: Battling the Hunger Demon, Tip #4
- Grazing is for Animals: Battling the Hunger Demon, Tip #5
- EGAD! I Caved! Battling the Hunger Demon: Tip #6
So as you embark on changes you’ve decided to make in your life, decide on a strategy, be realistic in your expectations, and remember to cut yourself some slack when you lapse. The key thing to remember is that each day presents a new opportunity to do a better job than the previous one. One slip-up doesn’t have to result total failure.