I recently received this message from a book reader of mine. She gave me permission to blog about it to help others who might have similar issues managing hunger.
Dear T & T,
I just finished your book, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books and thought it had a lot of great tips. I have started journalling and have set some 3×3 goals for myself. I have a question about how to strike a balance between only eating when I’m hungry and eating to ensure I won’t be too hungry at a later time (to ensure no pig outs happen when serious hunger hits). For example, I tend to workout after work but before dinner. So I will have a snack around 4pm to give me plenty of energy for a solid workout and I’m not dying for dinner right after. But sometimes I am not really hungry when it’s snack time. One of my goals, is to focus on what actual hunger is, and I worry that snacking like this may impede that. Any thoughts?
You bring up an excellent point about managing hunger with a busy routine. First of all major props to you for working out, keep up the good work on that! Being active is beneficial for you on sooooo many levels. Learning about your own hunger and fullness cues takes time and is a huge balancing act AND certainly worth the effort to work on.
If you’re not hungry at 4pm I suggest you forgo having a snack. It is, however, totally trial and error. Keep yourself equipped with fruit for afterward – a perfect post-workout and pre-dinner snack so you’re not ravenous when you get home. I think marketing ingrains in our heads that we need a pre and/or post workout snack even though we’re not elite athletes. Follow your cues and act accordingly.
Also I find different times of the month like when I’m PMS’ing I feel more hungry. If that’s the case I’ll have a snack. Fruit is my go-to option or a handful of unsalted nuts if I need more staying power. Boredom can do the same thing with playing funny mind tricks disguised as hunger when it isn’t! Reviewing the 3 R’s (review, reflect, reframe) from your journal and observing the patterns will help you figure out true hunger. Plus it will help you with to how better you manage hunger. I find when I’m ravenous it’s too easy to automatically overeat so my personal trick is to avoid getting to that point. Easier said than done, but an ongoing goal. It’s a true balancing act and takes time to figure out and manage.
It’s a worthwhile effort to discern what actual hunger is for you as well. There are times when my tummy plays gypsy music disguised as hunger, esp post vacation and what I actually need to do is to get back on track, ensure I drink my fluids (water at my workstation), eat more fruits and veggies, choose a balanced diet including enough protein at each meal while I retrain those stomach stretch receptors to snap back to normal. As I like to say: Awareness is bliss! Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you have further questions.
T & T