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Weight Loss Basics -- Hungers

(Fourth in a Series) Seeing Clearly One of the main problems in long-term weight loss is hunger. They key to domesticating this particular beast is to recognize that there is not one him, but many. ...

(Fourth in a Series)

Seeing Clearly

One of the main problems in long-term weight loss is hunger. They key to domesticating this particular beast is to recognize that there is not one him, but many.

Listen Closely

Yes, the voice seems unmistakable, and so is the message: Feed Me! But who is asking?

This is where you should take a nice, deep breath along with a mental step back—perhaps even count to ten—just to give you sufficient space to actually look, to actually listen. What sort of hunger is talking?

Physical Hunger

There are telltale signs of physical hunger: your stomach is growling, you feel lightheaded, you might even shake a little, feel a little weak. If these symptoms are present it’s physical hunger speaking.

Solution: Eat something sensible.


A good way to flush out physical-hunger impostors is to rate the hunger on a scale from one to ten—one being full, ten being starving, literally. When examined closely enough to rank, the non-physical hungers tend to slink away, tail between their hind legs.

Unsure = Water

If you are unsure whether the hunger is physical or not, you might in fact be thirsty.

Solution: Drink about 8 ounces of water and see if that settles things.

Salad or Fries

Another way to tell who’s talking if you are unsure: picture a salad or non-fat yogurt, rather than fries. If you find yourself hungry for the salad, then it is physical. If only the fries appeal to you, you might need to reevaluate

Other Hungers

If, upon inspection, you see that the hunger is indeed not physical—though it nonetheless refuses to go away—then take a look at what kind of hunger it might be.

Boredom Hunger

The best cure for boredom is to do something (other than eating). My favorite suggestion is to go out for a walk, not to exercise, but to divert your attention from the internal land of mental hunger and French fries to the external world of trees and clouds. Look at things, touch things, be aware of external things.

It doesn’t have to be a walk though. Keep a list (even if just a mental one) of things you love to do. Read a book, listen to music, or call a friend when boredom hunger sets in.

Emotional Hunger

If you’re stressed, upset, sad, or angry, try to pinpoint the reason why before you reach for the bag of chips or rush out to McDonald’s. Food self-medication may take your mind off the problem for the moment, only to have it return—and with interest—a little later.

Movie Hunger

Okay, I admit it; I cannot watch a movie without eating something. It’s outright un-American. Knowing this, the best way around it is to smuggle in a protein bar or some other wholesome snack, and eat that rather than the large bucket of pop corn with extra butter.

Socializing Hunger

If you’re going to meet friends for dinner, or lunch—especially thin ones—realize that you should not order the same as they do. Be sensible. A salad, small portions. Lots of water.

Celebration Hunger

We always eat and drink to celebrate achievements. Try substituting these culinary jubilations with non-food celebrations. Reward yourself with a game of miniature golf, with a massage, or with a movie.

Television Hunger

We eat while we watch television. It’s the American thing to do. And most of the time we’re hardly aware that we’re doing it; that is part of the television-watching ritual.

First of all, recognize it as such. Bring water or juice instead, and sip as you watch. Should you find yourself unable to not snack while watching, I would watch less television (which brings other benefits as well).

Silence the Beast

As covered in the previous Weight Loss Basics article, physical hunger is for both nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids) and energy (in the form of calories). You can keep hunger in manageable check by making sure that the body receives sufficient nutrients to not feel deprived, especially when your diet calls for a deficit of calories.

The multiTRIM Diet

All diet plans—except for the outright fraudulent onesFeature Articles, and be warned: they abound—have only one goal: for you to burn more calories than you consume.

Possibly the most sensible plan we have seen in recent years is the multiTRIM diet which supplies all needed nutrients to maintain health while easing hunger in a fifteen calories meal-replacement drink.

A multiTRIM Journal

A friend recently set out to shed 143 pounds over 18 months with the help of the multiTRIM diet. The blog-record of her journey can be found here.

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho based Ulf Wolf writes about health and weight loss for various clients and publications.

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