Dealing with appetite while dieting
Hi, I have a question! My weight totally yo-yos and I am not a dieter. I have in my closet clothes from size 2 to size 10 and everything in between. My best size is a 4, but in the past few months I have gotten to where 6′s are tight and that’s making me feel unhealthy and flabby. But whenever I *try* to lose weight, it never happens. I tend to lose weight when I am depressed or stressed for long periods of time, and my appetite diminishes. When I am trying to cut back on calories, I just feel hungry ALL. THE. TIME. Even more so if I am exercising. Does this happen to anyone else? That is, do you find it hard to lose weight when you’re actually TRYING to, and/or do you feel hungry ALL the time when you’re trying to eat better? (I was reading Linda’s “gut check” entries and finding myself thinking, “That would totally not fill me up!”)
– question sent in by Ashley
I know there are varying schools of thought on the subject, but I never let myself get super-hungry when I’m trying to cut back. If I’m noshy, I eat; I just try and pick things I know will either fill me up (lean proteins and fiber in particular) or occupy my food-hole until the urge to snack has subsided (ie, raw veggies).
I find that actual hunger is a very different thing from a craving, and I almost always experience the latter rather than the former while dieting. If you’re in the early days of changing your eating habits, your brain may not be on board with this new business of portion control and avoiding unhealthy foods, and will send you messages like OH MY GOD FEED ME. The trick is to deal with those moments without diving headfirst into a feed-bag of M&Ms, and to that end there are some great suggestions in the comments of Jennifer’s post over at Deserting Desserts.
Without knowing what sorts of things you tend to eat when you’re trying to lose weight, it may be that you need to adjust your diet. If you’re honestly starving all the time, I’d ask if you’re including enough healthy, nutritious foods in your eating plan. (Woman cannot live on rice cake alone!) I’ve found that carb-heavy foods, even in limited amounts, are often a bad choice for me—they satiate me briefly, then I just want more—while low glycemic options make me feel like I’m running on a higher quality fuel. Foods like almonds, low fat cheeses, beans, cruciferous vegetables, eggs . . . they keep me from feeling hungry much longer than, say, a bowl of pasta.
Finally, I’ll say that I am a HUGE proponent of exercise, and find that it is key to my own success with healthy eating. I also firmly believe that fitness makes a big difference in my mental health as well as my physical health, and helps immensely during those times of depression and stress. So my .02 is to step up the workouts. You may soon find you’re feeling better in your skin and clothes without losing a single pound.
What do you think, readers? Any advice for Ashley?