“Conscious Eating” – Appetite vs Hunger


Contributing Writer
Carolyn Wilcox
V.I.E. Fitness Owner

Spring Break and Easter are behind us, and summer season is upon us. Now is the time to get serious about shedding our vacation weight gain and winter flab by cleaning up our diet and getting some daily exercise.

Let’s start with diet, and the difference between appetite and hunger. Appetite can trigger mindless eating when we see displays or smell aromas of enticing foods. This is the main cause of over-eating in the USA. Hunger is a biological response reminding us to replenish depleted energy reserves within our bodies. Although hunger and appetite are totally different, they are often confused when we try to lose weight. If we skip meals or greatly reduce daily food intake, and ignore hunger, our metabolic rate will slow down and impair any weight loss strategy.

Portion sizes have increased by 15-70% over the past 40 years in America. We have lost track of standard size and now consume more calories than ever before. You can reduce caloric intake and not feel deprived. You can reduce your portion size by up to 30% by simply serving your meals on smaller plates and your drinks in small glasses when you eat at home. A reduction of only 100 calories a day will result in a healthy, long-term weight loss of over 10 pounds a year!

Another effective strategy is making the convenient foods that trigger cravings in the absence of hunger, more inconvenient. Mindless overeating – giving into cravings – sets us up for feelings of guilt and disappointment at not having willpower to resist. Instead of feeling guilt we should adopt a strategy of ‘control and concede’.

Step 1: Learn what triggers unhealthy eating by becoming more aware of your thoughts, emotions that stimulate cravings, and log them.

Step 2: Intense thoughts and emotions that trigger cravings are usually short-lived. If a craving occurs, distract yourself by doing an activity, calling a friend, playing with a pet, anything that doesn’t involve food.

Step 3: If the craving still persists, then control the food choices. This strategy is beneficial when dealing with junk food and candy. Only choose from 2 drinks, appetizers, desserts or candy.

It takes 21 days for a habit to form. Try these simple strategies for that period, then longer periods. Before you know it you will be on your way to curbing your appetite and winning your weight loss battle.

Statistics courtesy: NASM (National Academy Sports Medicine, USA)

To read more of Carolyn’s advice on healthy eating, fitness, and living visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Fast Track to Fitness page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.