To control hunger and lose weight requires only a bit of discipline – and a complete paradigm shift. We can all agree that eating is awesome, after all. It’s just awesome. It’s tops. And, more than being enjoyable, it’s necessary. Hunger developed, evolutionary speaking, to let us know when our bodies need fuel; to let us know when it’s necessary to eat.
However, particularly in a food-obsessed society with portion issues and trans fat dependencies, hunger can be a deceiving threat. For those of us who eat for emotional reasons, who eat out of boredom rather than need, hunger can confuse us into thinking we need food when we actually do not. Hence, these handy tips to control hunger and lose weight:
The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
When you find yourself hungry, your absolute first course of action should be to stop in your tracks and think. Think deeply. Are you actually hungry? When did you last eat? What did you last eat? Is it plausible that your body needs food again – or are you bored, sad, and in need of that euphoric chemical boost in the brain induced by good food? Taking just a moment to consider the source of your hunger – its authenticity – may stop you from taking in unnecessary calories out of habit.
It Covers 71% of the Earth’s Surface, You Know
You’ve heard it before, and there’s a reason: Because it’s true. I speak, of course, about water. Water, as we all know, is the miracle solvent. It benefits the hair, the nails, the skin, the digestion, the bones, the organs…and I’m sure I’ve left a few vital bodily systems off that list as well.
It should come as no surprise, then, that water can serve in controlling hunger as well. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water before meals – a big one. It will fill your stomach somewhat, resulting in less calories ingested. By the same logic, drinking water when you feel hungry between meals may just satisfy the unrelenting grumbling in your stomach.
Freud Would Have Called It an Oral Fixation
For some, it is the hand-to-mouth action of eating that we find so comforting; just like with smoking, it is a habit which tends to soothe. Therefore, sometimes a conversation with your inner monologue or a glass of ice water won’t fulfill that emotional need for the comfort of eating.
Hard candies – particularly the sugar-free kind – can often provide an outlet for that oral craving. Many former smokers have discovered that just such a substitution reduces the need to smoke; similarly, hunger – the unnecessary sort, that which is emotional rather than physiological – can be averted with the familiar sensations of working one’s mouth. Gum, Tic Tacs, small lollipops and Jawbreakers are all good methods to trick one’s hunger into submission.
Freud Would Also Have Called It Sublimation
One of the best methods for controlling hunger and losing weight is also the simplest. Once you’ve determined that you may be hungry for reasons other than true physical need, take that urge and sublimate it – that is, channel it into something positive.
Craving M&M’s? Take out the Swiffer Wet Jet! Can’t stop focusing on potato chips? Break out your latest home improvement project and make some headway. Feel like you can’t think about anything but your hunger? Cook an extravagant meal – and DON’T sample the ingredients along the way. Anything which gets you moving is an obvious plus; anything which will leave you slightly better off than you were before is the goal. Eating when you don’t need to eat is destructive; turning that compulsion into a clean kitchen, a scrapbook, a tree house, or a novel is constructive.
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To Control Hunger and Lose Weight
At the end of the day, it takes true self-reflection to achieve a fitness or weight loss goal. You must be intimately aware of your body’s needs and signals; you must learn to identify true hunger from that born of emotional need or boredom. If you’re truly hungry, eat – but eat well. If you’re not, get your mind off the concept of eating in any way you can.
Ultimately, the body can be conditioned in any way we choose, and you can overcome the sort of hunger that equals unnecessary calories. Weight loss will follow naturally – particularly if you’re choosing to vacuum up and down the stairs instead of eating ice cream out of the container with a spoon – and will have happened in a controlled, healthy, and manageable manner.
Remember, however – you’re wonderful. Just as you are. If you need to lose weight, you should do it simply because the world would be a sadder place were we to lose you to an obesity-related illness. If you don’t need to lose weight, you should celebrate your body and the living experiences it has given you. You are not your hunger, and you are not a number on a scale. Just be you. Just be.