#HungryAF: 5 Tips to change your eating habits for good
I hope all is well on your end! I've been away from blogging & social media for a week (or so...) to work on self. I'm the queen of personal to-do list that never get done, so it was time to "decide. commit. act." so that I can take this little life of mine to the next level. I've been keeping food & workout journals, collecting post for the month of march, working on my career, avoiding eye contact with Ronald McDonald, and suffering through Kayla Itsines BBG workout. It's been a productive time.
Studies suggest that by the two month mark of a new year, over half of us have forgotten or given up on our new year resolution(s). Not you? Oh me neither. ::Side eye:: Girl, I don't know who they talking about.
Truth be told, life comes at us fast. Goals are put on the back burner to deal with more pressing issues, and before you know it our "one day at a time" becomes 3 months gone by with no progress. That's the reality of life. Today I declare, it's time to change our goals into action plans! It's time to LEVEL UP!
I want to talk about hunger. More so recognizing the patterns you associate with hunger, so that you can make sustainable lifestyle changes and reach your wellness goals.
What is Hunger?
In the social justice/humanitarian/political arena the concept of hunger is defined by the lack of sufficient food supply to meet nutritional needs over long periods of time. If you're apart of the hunger games that is social media, hunger takes on a whole new meaning with #hungry, #hangry, and the extreme #hungryaf. Levels, man.
Signs of hunger a.k.a. hunger pangs (or pains) is the physical contraction of stomach muscles as a response to lack of food in the stomach, usually after digestion is complete. Accompanying the pangs are symptoms such as crankiness, weakness, and difficultly concentrating.
I'm eating because I'm hungry. Are youuuuuuuu?
Once upon a time being hungry was associated with the physiological sense of needing food to satisfy nutritional debt, fuel the body, and maintain balance. I'm talking homeostasis. With the change in our environments, technology advances, and the readiness of convenience foods, studies show that we no longer rely on physiological "cues" to trigger hunger, but more so the world around us. Our daily activities and habits trigger cravings.
Think about what you're doing when you suddenly realize you're "hungry". Are you watching t.v. while sitting on the couch? Did your co-worker bring back a juicy hamburger while you're forking through a dry salad?
Our 5 senses are on hyper alert when it comes to cravings. Going beyond sight or smell, just hearing a song or recalling a jingle/slogan can bring up a memory that leads to food. There are a variety of factors that contribute to making you "hungry". Research insinuates that we often eat because we want to, rather than we need to.
Here's an interesting article by the New Yorker worth the read: Why Do We Eat, and Why Do We Gain Weight
It's more than just self-control.
When starting a wellness journey that includes healthy eating & physical activity you need more than self-control to sustain you. The flesh is weak. That's bible.
To be successful long-term you have to take into account environmental temptations and common barriers. Habits will be broken over time, as you slowly incorporate healthy lifestyle changes. Anything quick is just a temporary fix. You have to change your mind. Change your behavior.
5 tips for changing patterns.
1. Understand what triggers your hunger. Keep a food journal.
It's more than what you eat. Recording the time of day, amount of time it takes to eat, the location, with who, and your mood will shine a light on your eating habits. Studies show that those who keep a food and exercise journal are more successful at changing their behavior.
2. Delay hunger, choose quality over quantity.
Choose foods rich in fiber and low in fat. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans are great sources of daily fiber, that will make you feel full. On the other hand, healthy fats like foods rich in omega-3 will last longer and promote heart health.
3. Make it convenient.
Stay ahead of the hunger by meal prepping and planning. Keep nutrient rich foods and snacks on hand.
4. Keep a consistent eating schedule.
Not only is your health effected by what you eat, but when you eat. Lack of sleep isn't the only thing that can effect our circadian rhythm or internal clock. Inconsistent eating patterns can lead to weight gain, elevated blood pressure, and risk of type 2 diabetes. Consistency prevents you from overeating, while also allowing your body time to digest and metabolize fats, cholesterols, and glucose in a timely manner.
5. Have a game plan.
Truth is we all fall short some days and have a doughnut (or the entire box). More often than not, it doesn't stop there. We then deem the day "cheat day" which can lead to "cheat week", then "oh crap, I really need to get my life together tomorrow", then "I'm hopeless, it doesn't matter". More on positive self talk and building a healthy relationship with food later. Having an action plan on how you will get back on track or overcome a barrier is the best way to be successful in reaching your goals. If we could rely on will power alone, we'd all be fit, multi-billionaires.
March's Workbook is coming! Subscribe (if you haven't already) to get it directly to your inbox. We'll dive deeper into food journaling, emotional eating, and working through the barriers.