I need to start this out by saying that I have never in my life been hungry. Not truly hungry. I’ve never gone a day without food – not even fasting for religious reasons. Each day of my life I’ve acquired or been given enough food to sustain myself quite nicely, and in fact I’ve obviously sustained myself too much over the years. Out of respect for the millions of people who do suffer true hunger in this world on a daily basis, I just needed to state that and how grateful I am for what I have before I begin.
That being said, Weight Watchers is currently running a commercial that features an adorable, furry, orange Muppet like monster to represent hunger chasing a woman around to torment her. He looks like this:
I would like to humbly disagree with the fine folks at Weight Watchers’ assessment of what hunger looks like. From my perspective, this would be a lot more accurate:
Hunger is neither pretty, nor cute. And the simple truth of it is – as you loose weight you are going to live with it peering over (and possibly drooling on) your shoulder for awhile. If you’re like me and have a hundred pounds plus to remove – it’s going to be your companion for a good long time indeed. So you better take a close look at that ugly mug, and learn to love it.
Why is that?
Well the body wants to maintain a status quo – that’s how it’s built. Drastic changes generally aren’t so good for it, so it works in ways to keep them from happening. The metabolism isn’t like your brain, it can’t logically realize that oh, being lighter is better for my health in the long run and I’ll just shut off that hunger impulse for now. No, it’s going to fight to try to stay the way it is – and as you are losing weight you are taking in fewer calories than you need in a day so that you go to your storage lockers (those fat cells again) and burn them instead.
The result here is that your hunger is going to kick in. At first it’s going to kick in a lot. It’s going to try to get you to consume more calories so that you can stay the weight you are. Because in an ideal situation staying the weight you are is good for you.
This is why a lot of diets fail, because let’s face it – hunger sucks. All the ones that try to tell you you’re going to loose weight and never feel hungry? They’re lying to you. You’re going to feel hungry, and you’re going to have to learn to live with that at least while the weight loss process is occurring.
Okay, now that I’ve been depressing – here’s the upside… it won’t be forever. When you achieve your goal weight, you can start letting your body maintain itself as it should – which means you’ll no longer have a need for hunger. When you feel it now, when it’s getting big and ugly RIGHT in your face… remind yourself that it’s a temporary process. I guess sort of like Childbirth (not that I’ve ever done that) you’re having pain now, to achieve a positive goal for the future.
When you feel it gnawing inside of you try to picture tiny builders going in and gathering up all the reserved energy you’ve been storing – taking it out, and using it to build nice things for you like new skin, hair, fingernails… try to associate it with something positive. What you are feeling is your body rebuilding itself. It’s going to be a little painful, but ultimately it is good.