I feel like I am hammering and harping on this a lot lately. I often read posts that say, “I’ve hardly eaten today -but I haven’t reached x-amount of calories yet.” “I hardly have an appetite but I haven’t met my macros so I forced myself to eat….” “I’m not hungry in the morning but I ate breakfast because I wanted to get my metabolism going.”
Sigh. The diet and nutrition dogma is strong.
One of the biggest problems our overweight and unhealthy society has is they have no idea what is going on with their own bodies. Or the other extreme – they think they have every ailment and allergy known and unknown to man – you know the type.
For years my body was numb. I knew when I didn’t feel well, but I never knew why I didn’t feel well unless I had a cold or an infection.
I had no idea what real hunger was, I only knew cravings because most of what I ate was carb and sugar-laden frankenfood.
Getting to know our bodies is no easy task, but it is definitely doable once we have gone Keto and gotten the carb and sugar “toxins” our of our system.
When we first begin, tracking/paying attention to carb count or the other macros can definitely serve a purpose. It can make you aware of portion/serving sizes and it gives you a reality check at the end of the day to see everything you have eaten.
However, nobody should feel like they HAVE TO track the rest of their life. I certainly don’t. I like the freedom of not tracking.
Listening to your body and eating ONLY when hungry, stopping when satisfied (not full or stuffed), is the key to being free from counting/tracking macros. Your body knows better than the nutritionsists, charts, or macro calculators. Trust it.
Here are some suggestions that can help you learn true hunger and make listening to your body easier:
- Don’t eat by the clock.
- Do a fast
- Don’t snack.
- Stay away from fake food.
If you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, I submit you are possibly eating too often and too much. Society tells us this is how we should eat, not our bodies. When you become fat adapted you should no longer have cravings and you certainly won’t have true hunger 6 times a day.
If you are unsure what real hunger feels like, and chances are if you are recovering form carb/sugar addiction and insulin resistance, you don’t know what real hunger feels like. You know what sugar withdrawl and cravings feel like because that is what you have likely mistaken for hunger for years. Learning real hunger during the fat adaption stage is tricky because you are still fighting pseudo-hunger and head hunger. You still have bad habits with food that you are likely transferring to keto food. This is why the adaption stage is perfect for tracking and for trying fasting. Do a fast for as long as you can go – it should be at least 16 to 24 hours. Drink only water, broth (no added butter) or black coffee during this time. No BPC, nothing with more than 5 calories. Break your fast with a high fat meal. When you start to feel a craving for food drink some broth or coffee and ride it out. You will not die without food for 16-24 hours – you will let your body burn off glucose and it will help stabilize your blood sugar.
Snacks are unnecessary – and are just filler. If you ate a decent meal, a meal that included healthy fats, you should be satiated a minimum of 4-6 hours so there is no need for a snack. Snacks are something you do out of habit or because all your life you heard from the experts that we need three meals AND snacks. This is just not true. Snacks are a form of entertainment and since we have learned that food is fuel and not comfort, reward or entertainment, that takes snacks off the table. If you are snacking you are adding unneeded fuel to your tank and thus stopping your body from being able to alert you to true hunger. Most of the time, snacking results from boredom, not actual hunger. Examine your desire for snacking, and you’ll probably find that it’s not from hunger. And if you’re not hungry, don’t eat.
Fake food gives you fake hunger. Cravings are not hunger. Quest or Atkins bars, artificial sweeteners, diet soda, flavored waters, etc. can all make you have cravings and make you think you are hungry. If you want to experience true hunger, stick with eating real foods. Real foods satiate better anyway. Real foods give you nutrients you need.
Once you experience true hunger, there is no longer the need for planning meal times or tracking macros to the “T”. You can rely on your own body to tell you when it needs fuel. If you give your body fuel only when it asks for it then all those numbers will work themselves out.
I can already hear the chorus of , “but, but,…..if I don’t track I don’t lose!” Or “If I don’t track I will overeat.” Look, not tracking doesn’t mean throwing common sense out the window. Put reasonable portions on your plate, put them on your plate only when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied, which means you can leave some on the plate if need be.
Listen to your body, it’s really not more complicated than that.