How to Tell If You’re Truly Hungry Or If It’s Something Else

by | Dec 12, 2016


“It’s been the easiest 33 lbs I’ve ever lost.” ~Angela

Angela just discovered Foodist a few months ago after a lifetime of being overweight and chronic dieting. By changing the way she approaches food and health, she’s been able to lose 33 lbs in what she calls the easiest weight loss of her life.

Despite her success, Angela still has progress to make and is trying to figure out some of the more subtle aspects of her healthstyle. Today she asks a question that every foodist must grapple with at some point along their journey, which is how to know if an urge to eat (or skip a workout or other healthstyle behavior) is coming from a place of physical need or some other impulse that should be resisted?

This question is particularly difficult for people who have spent a lot of time dieting, since by its very nature dieting teaches you to ignore your body’s basic signals and use willpower to stick to your plan. As Angela explains, it can be very difficult to trust the different voices in your head that are pushing you to care for yourself, especially if you believe they were what caused you to be overweight in the first place.

There are several things to consider when you’re learning to answer this question for yourself, including what situations are the most important to get right, how to learn from your mistakes when you get it wrong and how not stress out when you find yourself in a position of uncertainty.

Wish you had more time to listen to the podcast? I use an app called Overcast (no affiliation) to play back my favorite podcasts at faster speeds, dynamically shortening silences in talk shows so it doesn’t sound weird. It’s pretty rad.


Related links:

Bonnie Transforms From a Junk Food Speed Eater to a Mindful Vegetable Lover and Loses 40 Lbs

‘The Myth of Willpower’ (chapter from Foodist) and free starter kit

The Worst Thing You Can Do if You’re Trying to Lose Weight

Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting

Way of Life app



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2 Responses to “How to Tell If You’re Truly Hungry Or If It’s Something Else”

  1. Hilary says:

    Hi, just another foodist over here but I’m a dietitian too! I was listening to this podcast during my workout and had to chime in. First of all I love that you guys worked out that it’s always a learning process and it’s not always about following “when you’re this hungry – do this____” ugh just more rules that way!
    But for Angela: I think that you actually discovered how hungry is too hungry because without the mini meal you were making poor decisions before dinner. So you are already good at listening to your hunger and remedying any problems.

    However I get the sense you are getting a lot of variety in your meals, which is great but sometimes I tell my patients if your hungry really soon after a meal (rather than normal hunger 4-6 hours after eating) you may want to check to make sure the previous meal had a good source of protein and fibre. Because those are the nutrients that satiate us. If you look to the foodist plate on page 85, there is a purpose for all of those things, intact grains and veg are giving you fibre and filling you up and the fish/beans/meat is giving you protein. So even though that may not fit for all meals, make sure you have a source of protein, carbs, and fruit or veg at your main meals.

    Also you may want to read Daryas article on not skipping two exercises in a row.
    One great way to keep that going is to make sure you truly enjoy your workouts – even if that means abandoning the traditional gym. Ever meet an avid golfer that skips a day golfing? They go because they like to golf not to go for a walk. Use that same idea! Even if it’s not true “enjoyment” but an alternative benefit (stress relief, time to yourself, socializing etc)
    Thanks for sharing your story and good luck!!

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