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What Are You Hungry For?

Losing some weight seems to be top of our minds at the moment doesn’t it… so common for many people this time of the year.

After a busy and indulgent Christmas (sometimes with very little exercise) we can find ourselves a few kg’s over and feeling every bit of it… Not fun!

So if this is you… I wrote this post some time ago, but thought it would be perfect to give to you again to read.  It’s a reminder of a really important aspect that we can overlook when we’re trying to get ourselves back to our normal weight or lose even more!

Weight loss and working out what actually ‘works’ to lose weight would be the holy grail don’t you think?

Part of what I do, is sift through the overwhelming world of health and nutrition and try to bring you the best stuff, the things that actually work!

As you know I’m a huge fan of Dr Chopra’s work (endocrinologist) who’s turned his medical research into an ongoing quest for what really works when it comes to our health.

Dr Chopra’s theories on weight loss are really refreshing and I hope you also find this.

His theory is If we want to return to our ideal weight, we’ve two choices.  Go on a diet or do ‘something else.’

I’m pretty excited to talk about the ‘something else’ as we all know how well diets are working… they’re not!

Now of course it has a lot to do with WHAT foods we’re eating and this is what I can help you with) but here, we’re talking about the ‘Quantity’ of food and the ‘Reason’s’ for why we choose to eat.

In dieting, (limiting calories kind of diet) we’re taking the route of self denial and ‘doing without.’  Every day as you may well know, a diet involves struggling against hunger and fighting for self control.

Isn’t there a more satisfying way to live?

Weight loss needs to be satisfying if it’s going to succeed – this is the ‘something else’ that works after the diet has failed.

If we bring our body’s hunger signals back into balance, our impulse to eat becomes our ally instead of our enemy.  It’s all about getting the messages straight that connect mind and body.

Medically speaking, hunger is analyzed in terms of the rise and fall of certain hormones which influence that brain.  When our blood sugar falls below a certain level, messages are sent to the brain.  It then secretes hormones to make us feel hungry, and when we’ve eaten enough, the hormones reverse, making us feel full.

This feedback loop has operated on its own for millions of years.  But it can be interfered with quiet easily by e.g. long term stress.

Yes we’ve always had stress, but ideally stress should naturally reduce back to ‘set point’ regularly through the day.

In primitive times, the lion chased us (our stress hormone, cortisol goes up) then if we get away and stop running from the lion (our cortisol goes down again.)  These days, it’s common for our cortisol to stay up long term, and messing up many areas of our health.

So when we eat, our self image, habits, conditioning and memories are all involved.  The mind is key to loosing weight and when the mind is satisfied, the body quits craving too much for food.

Why does normal eating start to slide into overeating?  One simple answer is: lack of fulfillment.

We start overeating to makeup for a lack somewhere else in our lives.

We can be distracted and forget to eat, or we can be obsessed and think about food all day.

However we are always in search of satisfaction.  There are lots of thing we can fill up on besides food, but we need to go back to basics and make sure we feel fulfilled in the general areas of our lives.

For example we all need to feel safe and secure, nurtured, loved and appreciated and that their life is relevant and meaningful.

If we fulfill these needs, food will be just one delight out of many.  But countless people turn to overeating as a substitute for what they really want.

It’s the story of ‘missed fulfillment.’ We have the best foods in the world available, but we gorge on the worst.  We have blessed opportunities to grow and evolve, but instead emptiness is a common feeling.

So the goal is to bring ourselves back into a state of fulfillment.  Once that begins to happen, we will stop eating for the wrong reasons.  

The first thing to realize is that overeating is commonly caused by ‘triggers.’

Anytime you’re about to eat outside mealtime, try these steps:

1. Pause and take a deep breath

2. Ask yourself if your hunger is being triggered by a familiar pattern, such as feeling bored, restless, or sad, or wanting a distraction.  

3. Once you’ve identified a trigger, ask yourself if you really need to eat?  Maybe you can find something else to do, one that simply postpones reacting to your trigger, such as: calling a friend, answering some emails, reading a book, having a glass of water.  

Your goal is to insert a ‘pause’ before you automatically react to a trigger.

If you still feel hungry, go ahead and eat.  But get into the habit of noticing your triggers this way – it’s a basic step toward overcoming them and will give yourself more freedom to choose.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions on our own personal situation, head over to the Nutrition For Life Community and ask me a question in the forum.

P.S. And don’t forget to sign up here for Empowered Women’s Health Here, where I’ll be devoting a whole Clinic on we

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