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Eat Only When You're Hungry

Welcome back my Top 100 weight loss tips and another post in the series that is article number 20. These articles are all about providing useful tips to help people lose weight naturally using everyday stuff and common sense.

This post looks at something that at first glance couldn't be more obvious, but upon closer inspection is a little more complex than it first appears!

Eat Only When You're Hungry

Well duh! Why would anyone eat if they weren't hungry?

Sure, that sounds so glaringly obvious to anyone intent on losing weight, it's enough to make you laugh! But is it really so obvious? Do people not eat, even when they're not hungry?

Of course they do and people eat when they're not hungry all the time and that's often a major contributing reason for their being overweight on the first place! It's generally known as snacking between meals for no better reason than the snack was available and the person wasn't so much hungry but bored. And when you're bored, one way to relieve that boredom is to eat snacks.

And what are most snacks but high calorie, high sugar/salt/fat laden no-nos. They are lying in wait in larders, pantries, fridges or stashed away in handbags, desk drawers etc just waiting for you to reveal their presence so they can whisper their siren call for you to eat them!

This is counter productive when you are trying to curb calorie intake.

Eating to The Clock

It doesn't stop with snacks either. People often eat at meal times whether they're hungry or not. They eat because the clock says it's time to eat, not when their bodies say so. And that's a habit you are going to have to break very firmly if you want to succeed in losing weight.

To do that, you have to observe your hunger patterns and alter your eating patterns accordingly.

If the clock says it's your usual dinner time and you are not really feeling hungry, then put off eating dinner an hour or so. When you eat because you're hungry, your body is in a better state of readiness to digest the food more efficiently and deploy the energy (measured in calories) to the places that are asking for them.

However, when you eat because the clock says so, your body is not ready and will simply deploy the excess calories to fat cells for storage for when it will need them later. Unfortunately for anyone who is gaining weight, that "later" never comes, because the clock always gets there first. So you eat again, continuing the vicious circle and piling on more stored fat without giving yourself a chance to burn it off before adding more.

How do you break the cycle?

One way is to choose a bedtime that's earlier than usual and brush your teeth early. That way you avoid after-dinner snacking. Stick to that bed time for a week or so and you'll find that you are more likely to be hungry when it's time to eat breakfast next morning.

Drink Water in the Morning

A really powerful weight loss tip here is to not eat as soon as you get up. Instead, drink a glass of plain water first, then get out of the house. Either take the dog for a walk (if you have one) or go for a walk yourself. Better still, go for a run! When you get home, shower and get dressed and then eat a good, hearty but healthy breakfast. You'll really be ready for it! The best part of that is that you'll go right the way until lunch time without feeling hungry and therefore you'll avoid snacking mid morning.

The next thing is lunch time itself. Is it a set time? If it's set through your job, then there's not too much you can do about it, so you're stuck with eating at that time.

If you can be more flexible, it's better to wait another half hour or more if you can and then eat because you'll be hungry. The meal will be more satisfying. That will set you up for the long afternoon and again, you are far less likely to feel like snacking.

When you get home, if you are feeling hungry then eat. But of you don't feel hungry, then don't just eat because it's time to eat. Put off that meal until you do feel hungry. It may be that you don't want a big meal either. If you only feel like eating a small meal, then only eat a small meal!

That's common sense but something too many people ignore and go ahead and eat the big meal anyway even when they don't want it all. That leads to weight gain, so by avoiding that temptation, you will be less likely to pile on any extra weight.

Then go to bed early and the good cycle starts again!

100 Weight Loss Tips number 19 follows in the next post!


Posted on Tue, 10 Nov 2009 in Top 100 Weight Loss Tips | 2 Comments

2 thoughts on "Eat Only When You're Hungry"

Megan Millz says:

Hi, I'm a great believer in only eating when you're hungry, so this post was exactly what I needed to read right now to keep up my motivational push for sustained weight reduction until I reach my ideal size. Thanks!

Barb says:

I couldnt agree with you more. Why do we feel that we need someone, or some program telling us when and what we should eat. I have a 4 year old and no matter what....if he isnt hungry.....he wont eat. We should take a few lessons from the children out there we havent damaged with obesity.... My child has taught me a thing or two .... Learn to eat to live....not live to eat.