Cravings versus physical hunger
This is probably the MOST important thing to understand in order to lose fat effortlessly!
So what’s the difference?
Well, let’s start with physical hunger.
Physical hunger is felt in the stomach after a person goes a period of time without food. Usually 5 hours after a meal. It is a complex signal that is derived from the interplay between the hormones ghrelin and leptin.
Cravings, however, have no identifiable source. They are thought to originate in the brain so you can’t feel them physically. What exactly causes the craving signal is unknown.
Okay, you with me so far?
Here’s the thing, physical hunger is a great signal. It is like our internal calorie calculator. It tells you exactly when your body needs fuel, and enhances the sensation until you finally provide food to the body.
Turns out, the body is on 5 hour physical hunger cycle.
Let’s switch over to cravings now.
Why exactly they occur isn’t known, but it’s my opinion they occur for three core reasons:
1. After intense mental focus (creative work, multitasking)
2. Addiction to sugar/carbohydrates
When you follow your body’s physical hunger queues, you will likely be lean and trim, eating every 5 hours or even longer. It is cravings, or rather, intense mental focus, that leads to cravings for sugar.
These can cause eating at any time — even shortly after your last meal. The body is a complex machine that, under normal circumstances, tightly regulates your fat storage. If you have a lot of fat, in an ideal setting you won’t be hungry much each day, and fat will be used up.
But that’s the problem.
Only in “ideal settings” does the body properly control weight and hunger queues. In the presence of mentally draining focus, sugar addiction, or stress, cravings will obscure true hunger, and lead to a person easily over eating.
I have seen it many times with clients: the kids finally move out and wham, down 30 lbs, or a client’s business starts taking off and becomes less stressful, bam, down 20 lbs.
As soon as the mental focus ceases, the cravings cease, and then physical hunger is easy to follow.
Now don’t go kicking the kids out of the house just yet! Here are some tips to reduce cravings:
1. Master a to-do list app on your phone to keep track of all the urgent and long-term items your brain is constantly ruminating on. As soon as you get them down and recorded, the brain will happily forget them and let the to-do list do the remembering.
2. Reduce carbs under 50g per day to break a sugar addiction. It’s painful in the start but after a few weeks you will have dramatically reduced cravings.
3. Make time for yourself being alone. Honestly, people are mentally exhausting unless taken in doses. Go ahead and take some “me” time to disconnect and recharge. If you have cravings, start your fat loss journey there.
Once it’s just physical hunger you feel, it’s so, so easy to lose weight.
As always, we’re here to help you out – book your free consultation and learn more about what we can do for you!