It took Glenda quite a while to get the hang of eating on time and having enough good food around to eat when she got hungry. Working as a veterinarian assistant and attending college, Glenda had some significant schedule obstacles to work through. At first, she kept trying to gauge her eating by the clock—a habit she’d had for many years. So, tuning in to her hunger as the primary “eat” signal was her first hurdle. It took a while. Then, Glenda had trouble with eating mid-morning, even though she discovered that she was hungry an hour or two before lunch. It just didn’t seem “right” having two meals before lunch, plus it was nearly impossible to fit in two meals in the morning. She took food to eat for this trouble spot and behold, her lunches got smaller and her nighttime hunger signals quieted down. By this time, she felt she was on her way, although the problem of food availability was still an issue.
Glenda was so used to avoiding food that she said the idea of actually bringing it with her was pretty weird. At first, she just figured she’d use the vending machines at work to get snack foods when the urge struck. But after a few weeks of this method, Glenda knew her food quality wasn’t so hot. She decided to actually shop for some decent snacks and have them with her in her car, her desk at the office, and in her gym locker. This shift made all the difference. Not only was it more convenient, but also the quality of her overall diet improved significantly.
Dr Oz Weight Loss Tips Habits Can be Confusing at First Glenda Photo Gallery
There was one other problem Glenda had to solve: how much to eat “between meals.” Glenda had been on many diet programs and was programmed to eat, say, 10 almonds, as a snack. That was the limit. It had nothing to do with her hunger satisfaction but with calorie control. We discussed this and Glenda decided the only way to break her habit of “medicating” her hunger instead of satisfying it was to consider each experience of hunger that was more than about three hours after the last meal as a “meal-level” hunger. Medicating hunger is eating when you’re hungry but limiting the amount so you just take the edge off your hunger. Sometimes you may need a meal followed by a meal and then a snack followed by a snack. Don’t get rigid about how much to eat when. When you are meal-hungry, medicating that hunger with a snack can leave you hungry again soon after.
Glenda had an up-and-down experience in her recovery but she persisted because of the dramatic changes in sensing her hunger and fullness. She had never really felt full before, as far as she could remember. Glenda wasn’t perfect in applying the principles but she lost 25 pounds six years ago and gained the freedom to eat and satisfy her hunger all day, every day. She does wrestle with food availability from time to time, and has to keep working on that, but now she knows what to do if she gets off track; just get back to basics. She has maintained her original weight loss, with small fluctuations, for nine years.
There are situations where “medicating hunger” is appropriate. For example, when you are very close to eating a meal and you find yourself quite hungry, have something light to keep yourself from becoming over hungry. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, or some cheese and crackers are fine. This will help you to eat moderately at the meal. Never let yourself get to the starving point. Also, as you move through the stages of recovery, you may experiment with satisfying your hunger by eating less food than you are accustomed to eating. This is a form of medicating your hunger. When it is ready, your body will tolerate a lower food intake to accommodate weight loss. As long as you don’t develop cycle symptoms, this is the way to support your body in using up excess fat and achieving your best weight.