E is for Emergency.
I really wish I could remember which blogger wrote a post about how “Hunger is NOT an emergency” because I wanted to plug it here. That post really resonated with me; it was a lightbulb moment for me. I thought, “YEAH! Hunger is NOT an emergency!” So why do I treat it like one?
Recently Lori discussed her thoughts on hunger and I related to that post too. She talked about how she often has to wait an hour in order to feel “full” after eating before she decides if she needs second helpings. My post is about several things. First: HUNGER IS NOT AN EMERGENCY and second: I eat too fast.
When I was 250 pounds I wasn’t ever really hungry. It’s not like I ate all the time because I didn’t. I know that’s sometimes a stereotype about obese people but it was not case. I didn’t eat all the time but I definitely ate TOO MUCH all the time. I ate about three meals a day–breakfast, lunch, dinner plus I was a snacker. I wasn’t a constant snacker but if I ever felt a twinge I’d eat something.
Tackling the hunger while losing 100 pounds was surprisingly a lot easier than I had expected it to be. After I reached my daily calorie limit the kitchen was closed. I had surprising steel willpower (that I never knew I had before) and to tackle the hunger pains I started splitting up my food throughout the day. Instead of eating 3 meals, I ate 5. I’d save something from my lunch to eat as a snack later. Smaller meals, more frequently helped me a lot ad it’s something I still do now. I also drank water or sparkling water (which helped a LOT) whenever I thought I was hungry.
After I lost the weight and was working out a lot–training for races–I started to have the Hunger Emergencies. For me I wasn’t eating the right kind of food for a long time (bananas for example) and I was crashing hard. This caused me to go into a frenzy. I’d be irritable, cranky, jittery, foggy, I couldn’t make a decision to save my life, and the only thing I could think about was food. It was an EMERGENCY.
The feeling is uncomfortable. My stomach feels hollow, my moods radically change. It feels desperate. And I hate that. It’s hard for me to pull the plug on my hunger emergency and be calm and rational. I need to realize that it is NOT the end of the world, I’m not going to die if I wait 30 more minutes to eat.
It’s funny–I can go from zero (“I’m okay) to 100 (“MUST EAT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!”) in about 5 minutes. It’s like when the hunger kicks in it kicks in full-throttle instead of a gradual creep of hollowness.
One of the ways I tried to battle the emergency hunger was to carry snacks with me. I rarely eat them but just having them handy seems to make me feel better. I have snacks in my desk at work (to hopefully keep me from the Candy Room). I have snacks in my car for after the gym.
I carry a small protein bar in my purse and in my gym bags. Sometimes it feels silly to carry snacks with me but it seems to work.
How I Stop the Hunger Emergency
1. Drink a ton of water and sparkling water (the carbonation helps my brain think it’s full instead of wanting to snack).
2. Eat slower. I eat too fast. But if I slow it down it helps.
3. I eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of three big ones.
4. I eat one of my snacks right before I work out because I know I’ll be famished when I’m done and getting into that “frenzy” mentality if I don’t.
5. Keep small snacks handy (like a tiny ziplock bag with nuts in your purse) just in case.
7. I eat more satisfying foods. I found that I was hungrier after eating processed foods than when I ate whole foods.
8. Remind myself that it is “not an emergency.”
QUESTION: Is hunger an emergency for you? How do you tackle that?