EFFECTS OF DIETING - HUNGER CUES
I often have clients who tell me they are not hungry.
Typically they are not eating much at the start of the day, say they can't stomach breakfast , they may or may not have lunch and if they do it can be an odd combination of foods or what I hear a lot is that they just have a salad.
These salads or typically what I would call "boring" and by that I mean lettuce, tomato and cucumber with a bit of chicken, hold the dressing! Keep the croutons OUT I can't eat carbs! Now, I am not going to talk about any pros and cons or fasting here as you might be expecting, but rather, I am going to talk about the psychological and physical side effects of dieting or restricting. Sometimes when people say they are not hungry it is a lie. It is because there is a fear of food or eating, a fear of weight gain. Eating can be extremely overwhelming for this person and so they will say anything to convince themselves it is fine. You may find that this person will often talk about food, make food for others or just generally be around food, touching it, smelling it, looking at it but never seen eating it. This is a warning sign of a serious eating disorder and should be addressed. The more common reason for the clients I work with, is that they have managed to lose their hunger cues. The internal mechanism of the body that tells us it is time to eat. Hunger cues disappear when we force restriction on the body, eat when we are not hungry, under eat or over eat when we do have food. In short and over simplified - when we stop listening to our body it feels like it has just stopped talking to us. Clients in this category will also have the opposite going on at the other end of the day. The classic evening binge. Hunger can feel insatiable, the desire to eat for comfort, habit, stress relief can all kick in. One bite is never enough and then guilt and shame can creep in as this person feels like they have ruined their day. Sometimes the feeling that they have failed and now it's so bad it doesn't matter what they eat now as they can start again tomorrow.... or Monday. The cycle never ends and the confusion over when to eat grows bigger. Restriction can be tightened to mitigate the binge but as is often the case this equates to a larger binge or longer period of time as they would describe as being "off the wagon". You might be reading this thinking..... oh god that's me! So, please be aware that this can also be the slippery slope to an eating disorder. Logically when you cannot restrict any more or cannot mitigate, something else has got to give and as is true of all eating disorders, the thing that kicks it off is not the problem, it is the whirling cyclone of new problems that maintain the behaviour which causes the descent. Eating disorders classically evolve but they are almost always fuelled by a desire to change your body shape or rid your body of food/calories. Just think about that for a moment. Now, the good news is, if you have lost your hunger cues - with proper nutrition and coaching, you can learn to listen to those hunger cues again and start to fuel your body in the way that it needs. Proper nutrition can make you feel alive again, and proper coaching can help you break free of the thoughts that hold you a prisoner. If you have read this and it sounds like you then contact me or book in for a free chat to find out how I can help you learn to read your hunger cues again and get off the roller coaster of yo yo dieting.