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Why Eating When Hungry Is The Most Effective To Lose Weight

Barbara Katz May 2023

Permanent Weight Loss: Dr. Barbara L Katz

The most effective strategy to lose weight permanently without dieting is to eat when you’re hungry.

And not eat just because you’re stressed, bored, angry, happy, everyone else is eating, or it’s time to eat. Our bodies let us know when they need food. We can notice those signals, if we pay attention. And when we pay attention to our bodies, it’s much easier to reach and remain at our natural weight.

Monitor Overeating:

At the supermarket, a lot of space is devoted to snack foods. Snack foods are often processed, non-nutritious, salty, sweet, and/or fatty and are usually designed to be challenging to resist and easy to overeat. Even when snack foods are “healthy” (such as nuts) when we habitually eat them while watching TV, movies, or socializing with friends, we usually do not pay attention to how much we are eating and tend to overeat. Drinking alcohol while snacking makes us even more likely to overeat.

“Our bodies let us know when they need food.”

Insulin is a hormone that helps our bodies use glucose (sugar). Which a lot of our food is broken down into for energy. When our bodies have more sugar than they need for energy, the excess sugar is sent to the liver to be stored as fat. Our insulin levels rise every time we eat. So that when we eat frequently throughout the day, it becomes easier for our bodies to store glucose as fat. When we eat less frequently, lower insulin levels allow our bodies to use our stored fat for energy.

When we lose excess fat, our bodies function better, we often lose weight, and our clothing fits better. By eating when we’re hungry and not for other reasons, we help lower our insulin levels.

Be Sure You’re Really Hungry:

If you become hungry in the middle of the morning or afternoon (and you’re not just eating out of habit), then you should eat something small and nutritious. If you’re not sure you’re hungry, drink a glass of water, wait 10-20 minutes. And check in with yourself and your hunger.  

Moreover, if you know (or think) you snack from habit or “emotional hunger”, practice pausing before snacking. Check in with yourself. Perhaps you can put a “STOP” sign on the cupboard or the refrigerator as a reminder to check in with yourself and your hunger.

Most food cravings subside in several minutes. If you’re hungry, that hunger will continue to return in waves – even after 20 minutes. You’ll gain an essential skill when you’re able to listen to your body. I’ve become a woman who “does not snack after dinner” (most of the time).

“Most food cravings subside in several minutes.”

Even if I have the urge to eat something when I’m not hungry, I can (usually) allow that urge to be present without acting on it. I’ve also become more comfortable attending social gatherings while not feeling like I need to taste everything just because someone baked or spent time making those foods.

How To Handle Urges:

If you get frequent food cravings, “tapping” or EFT often helps to decrease those cravings. I have a short free video available which demonstrates a fast-tapping technique to reduce cravings. 

If you have children or grandchildren, it’s never too soon to teach them that snacks are usually unnecessary. By teaching young children to snack only when they’re hungry and not just because it’s “snack time,” we’re helping them learn habits that will serve them well as they age and protect them from becoming overweight. 

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Barbara Katz

About the Author:

Dr. Barbara L Katz is a physician, an Advanced Certified Weight Loss Coach and a Life Coach for women over 50. She is CEO of Dr Barbara L Katz, Coaching and specializes in helping women over 50 to lose their excess weight for the last time without dieting or excessive exercise. She, herself, lost over 40 pounds in her 60s with the help of coaching.

In her free time, she participates in dog obedience, agility, and therapy dog visits to the local children’s hospital with her 2 pugs.

If you’d like a free copy of “How to Handle Urges” , you can request it on her website. You can find her, as well as subscribe to her weekly posts about weight loss, at: Dr. Barbara L Katz Coaching.