One of the biggest struggles for sure in trying to lose weight, or even just trying to eat more intuitively, is fighting off the hunger pangs that go with it. Your body might be used to eating at a specific time, in a specific place, or a certain amount of calories. Seeing or smelling a favorite food of yours could even set cravings off. But here’s a good thing to remember: these may not be pangs of actual hunger— it might just be your brain thinking it wants food.
There’s a big difference between your brain thinking it wants food and your body actually needing food. Learning the difference between your actual hunger cues and your brain’s hunger cues will be essential in your quest to tone down. Perhaps you’ve been changing up your diet, only eating healthy, nutrient-rich foods. You’ve developed a consistent exercise routine, and you’ve been working at it for months now– yet you’ve lost no weight. You’re frustrated and confused. Angrily you reach for the natural, no-sugar peanut butter jar in your pantry to blow off some steam. And that, right there, is the reason you haven’t lost weight.
You’re eating when your brain wants, which is more than your body needs. Whenever you’re bored or upset you reach for a snack. You’ve developed a routine of eating when you first get home, so your brain always thinks it’s time for food when you walk through the door regardless of whether you’re hungry. You always eat lunch at noon, so you wait even if you’re hungry and it’s eleven-thirty to eat, making you eat even more when the time comes to compensate. You like to eat in front of the TV, but that makes you feel like a movie night isn’t a movie night without food in front of you!
When you indulge in this habit, you end up mindlessly eating a whole bag of popcorn all by yourself, or half of a pizza. Tying your eating to emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger, and creating lifestyle habits that are tied to eating food at certain times, are all making it extremely difficult for you to distinguish between actual hunger and mental, habitual hunger. It will take a conscious effort and unwavering discipline to stop yourself in these moments, and slowly break these habits.
Becoming aware of this is the first step to change. Notice the moments when you come home expecting food, or unconsciously reach for a snack. Then, try to change these moments. Your brain will protest at first– “Hey, I want food!”– but just remind yourself that it doesn’t need food.
You can stubbornly refuse to give in to these moments of brain hunger, or you can switch up your routine so that the habits don’t kick in. Just make sure you don’t insert new eating habits into this new schedule!
Then comes intuitive eating. Once you’ve broken these habits, you can learn to listen to your body for real hunger cues. Don’t eat at scheduled times or in scheduled places and circumstances– let your body decide when it’s hungry, and eat then, regardless of whether you’re eating lunch before or after noon. Drink a glass of water when your hunger pangs first start– often we get our hunger and thirst cues mixed up. You may be scarfing down food,
wondering why you’re still starving when all you need is water! Many times your thirst was the real reason they started, and after drinking your water they will go away.
However, if they are still present after the water, you know you are hungry and you should eat! Your body doesn’t make you experience discomfort or pain unless it needs you to listen! When approaching eating, you want to make your meals all about giving yourself the proper nutrients.
If you are, your body won’t keep asking for food because it will be filled and satisfied with a small, nutrient-packed meal. Make sure to fill your meals with protein, vegetables filled with vitamins and minerals, whole grains, and healthy fats. Eat slowly, and listen to yourself to know when your body is satisfied.
It’s hard to mentally curb your hunger pangs, especially as you’re training your brain that you shouldn’t eat in the habitual way you have before. It’s helpful to have something to curb those fake hunger cues, allowing your body to feel full until it needs food. Introducing the peptide Melanotan 2! Like all peptides, Melanotan is a compound chain of amino acidsfound naturally in humans. Melanotan has been found to curb hunger pangs by reducing your compulsive or addictive behaviors and encouraging leanness in your body mass.
Reducing these compulsive behaviors is essential as it will give you the self-control you need to stop yourself from reaching for the peanut butter when you’re sad, and possibly even forgetting about it entirely. Although peptides have not been tested on humans, keep an eye out for them as a solution for the future!