Hunger is the most overused word I hear in my profession. I am not sure if the general public is even aware of what hunger really is. Most people spend most of their time trying, subconsciously of course, to elude hunger at all cost.
For most Americans, their eating pattern goes something like this:
- Breakfast is generally eluded, like hunger. The eggs and toast type of course.
- A sugary, creamy coffee drink, although not considered breakfast, is generally consumed in its place. Hunger will not catch me.
- The “I haven’t eaten anything all day so it’s okay” high calorie, high fat morning treat is the next device we use to prevent hunger. Lunch of choice, “I’ve hardly eaten all day so I’m going to splurge” happens next.
- By the time this has digested many of us are eating bits and pieces of dinner ingredients while we prepare it so we can make sure we are nowhere near hungry by the time we sit down and devour the oversized plate of food that is our actual dinner.
- Next we do dishes, homework , laundry and put the kids to bed. Your internal doorbell in ringing. Is it hunger? Do not answer the door.
- Go directly to the freezer with spoon in hand and grab the first carton you see. Dig in. That was a close one. High on sugar and stuffed to the max you are safe from hunger and ready for bed.
Hunger can be eluded in a healthy manner. This manner, if desired, can allow for weight control or loss without hunger. Small meals of high fiber foods coupled with healthy protein choices will keep you satisfied and will help you take control of your fear of hunger. We all fear hunger. I tell my patients to prepare for famine because when we get in a spot where there are not healthy foods to eat, things go south quick. If whole grain pretzels and a mozzarella cheese stick are not available then a family size bag of chips will keep hunger at bay. “I’m sorry but this was all they had” should be on my stationary since I have heard it so often.
Let me be honest with you. Hunger should not be feared. It should be controlled. We all get a little unsettled if we do get hungry. I am sure we have all experienced it once or twice in our lives. Let’s be real. Here is my advice. This comes from a woman who at one time could have been crowned the Queen of Hunger Avoidance. Make good choices for meals, eat frequently, and snack. Snacking is okay. Enjoy your food. Let it nourish you. Reward yourself with a manicure, not a candy bar. Yes, you do deserve to treat yourself with a brownie but you also deserve to be healthy. In the long run healthy will reap the most benefit to you as you age. You may be surprised at how well you manage the rest of your life once you manage your appetite. The hunger monster will not get you. I promise.