" For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. " Song of Solomon

May 16, 2008

Dealing With The Hunger Obstacle

I weighed today and discovered I've lost another .9 pounds. That puts my total loss since the end of September 2007 at 13 pounds. Yay!! Slow going, I know, but better than not losing at all, or worse, gaining.

In my previous post I wrote about two of my big diet obstacles that hindered me losing. The hunger issue is always a biggie and usually a deal breaker for a lot of people.

The biggest mistake I made, and I believe many make, is going too low calorie wise. A good diet plan will tell you to keep track of what you normally eat for several days, take an average of your calorie intake, then reduce that amount by 500 calories per day to lose a pound a week on average. And most caution you to never go below 1200 calories.

So what did I do? Skipped that step and went right to the 1200 calories thinking I'd get my losing done pronto and then go back to eating "normally". Whoa...normal meant gaining weight up to a set point that was way higher than I wanted to be and probably should be. (Note: On Weight Watchers my weight slotted me in the lowest points range--on which I was starving all the time.)

After years of repeating this same failure and, as would be expected, getting the same result, I decided eating a little more would be better---I could last longer...endure---stay the course.

I settled on 1600 calories a day. Mind you, I'm just 5"3" and only get light activity routinely. But guess what? I've been slowly but surely losing weight.

That being said I must tell you that the foods that comprise the 1600 calories can hugely impact hunger. Foods that satiate vary from person to person, so you'll need to figure out what "fills" and satisfies you.

But here's what I've found works best for me. At each meal I have a small amount of protein, a small amount of healthy fat, and the rest is carbs...lots of the high fiber, slow to digest ones.

That fiber stays in my stomach longer and as a result, the hormone that signals hunger is not released. This explanation is pretty simplistic and you may want to Google it and get a more detailed explanation of how your body works when it comes to food and hunger.

A great side benefit of eating high fiber complex carbs is that besides being very filling they are generally low in fat and calories.

It took me awhile to figure out the combination that worked best to stave off my hunger. Initially I thought eating lots of protein was the key. Then I upped my fat intake to around 40% which meant I had to lower my carb intake to stay in my 1600 calorie range.

The point is---keep tweaking what you are eating until you find the combination of macro nutrients that help you keep from being hungry.
"....there have been many times when I have shed bitter tears, when if I had understood the situation better, I would have celebrated my good luck instead."


I am not a doctor and all information, suggestions, etc are my personal opinion only.