Have you been working toward weight loss goals? Have you been eating wholesome foods, and making healthy food choices, but still aren’t getting the results you want? Do you feel like you are always hungry, even when eating high fiber foods? It may be a good time to evaluate your hunger cues. Appropriately listening to your hunger cues is a huge aspect of successful and lasting weight loss, and overall health. Although, listening to our hunger cues is not hard, it can take a little bit of getting used to. The best way for me to think about it, is to put my hunger level on a scale from 0-10 – with 0 being STARVING, like so hungry the tree bark that the deer are eating is looking pretty appetizing, and 10 being so FULL that if you make a wrong move you are going to throw up. The goal would be to stay right around 4-6 on that scale (5 is when you feel just right). If you are starting to feel hungry, and have been hanging out around a 4, you would probably want to consider eating. Either a small snack, or a balanced meal. If you are eating, and feeling satisfied, you would want to call it quits when you are right around a 6. Simple in theory, right! The hard part can be implementing the practice…but if you follow this simple chart, you will be more successful toward your weight loss goals. Go ahead and give it a try…
Now that you are proficient at recognizing your hunger cues, do you feel like you are always around a 3 or a 4, and feel like it takes A LOT of food to get you to a 6? This particular scenario is not uncommon. A lot of people get “messed up” hunger cues, meaning their body thinks they need way more food than they really do…so what do you do, go hungry? No, the good news is, re-setting your hunger cues is actually pretty easy, and our bodies typically respond really well to a simple re-set. There are two techniques that can help you reset your hunger cues:
- A 24 hour fast – a 24 hour fast is a simple and effective way to reset your hunger cues. If you fast for a full 24 hours, and then try to eat a huge meal (because you will want to – you will be hungry), you will get full way faster than you think…so the idea behind re-setting your hunger cues is to fast for 24 hours, and then when you start eating again, pay really close attention to your hunger cues while you eat, and stop when you feel satisfied. Most likely you will be surprised at how the smaller portions fill you up.
- A 3 day juice cleanse – a juice cleanse is a little bit more involved, but could be a better choice for those that cannot fast due to health reasons. A cleanse applies the same principle when you start eating again…really pay attention to your hunger cues.
A Few words of caution. Do not partake in a 24 hour fast if you have health issues preventing you from doing so. If you want to do a juice cleanse, I highly suggest doing a raw juice cleanse. I don’t recommend a store bought apple juice cleanse, that is basically drinking sugar for three days, without the added nutrient benefits. If you do not have access to a juicer, there are a couple of options…buy a pre-packaged juice cleanse (such as the one here – as a heads up, they can be pricey), or just eat raw fruit and vegetables, and only raw fruits and vegetables for three days. Finally, by re-setting your hunger cues, I am not suggesting dropping your caloric intake drastically. I am only suggesting it, if you are eating more than you feel you should before feeling satisfied, and remember, active people will require more food to fuel their bodies, so please keep that in mind. This is NOT meant to be a quick fix, this is simply meant to help you with portion control!