People often ask me about tips to lose or maintain weight, sometimes assuming that there is a secret that they are yet to hear. In my opinion there is no magic bullet, but there is a central theme that I use in my own life that I think is part of the answer.
It is ok to be hungry.
Now I’m not saying that we should be starving ourselves in order to fit into our skinny jeans, I’m simply saying that hunger is an important part of a healthy life. As an example, being hungry in the lead up to dinner is a good thing. Smelling food cooking before a meal can actually stimulate digestive enzymes with the anticipation of eating, and thus assists digestion.
If we snacked every time we felt a pang of hunger we could end up eating all day long. Choosing quick food on the run can also lead to unhealthy, high calorie choices, further hampering our efforts.
We live in a fast paced world where we expect our needs to be met immediately. If we want information it’s right there at the touch of a button. If we want dinner we can order in and get it delivered in the brief click of an app. If our kids are hungry we put food in front of them to keep them happy (and quiet!). We don’t have to wait long for things anymore and so anticipation can be minimal.
In my opinion hunger helps ignite the joy we can get out of not just food, but life. Think about how great it is to look forward to a holiday and then finally get on that plane. Being hungry for something can make it all the more enjoyable when we finally get it.
My one caveat though, is this. There can be a fine line between hungry and starving. Starving people often don’t make good choices. Desperation for something, be that food or other, can make us short sighted and impulsive. Everyone who’s ever eaten more than their fair share of the pre-dinner cheese platter, or gone grocery shopping while ravenous, can relate.
So don’t be afraid to be a little bit hungry, it keeps the fire alive in your belly.
Just don’t let the fire rage out of control.