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Differentiating between hunger and cravings?


EmilyK

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So, I know I'm early and my body has not even really begun to regulate yet, but I'm "done" eating on Day 2 now and while things have been going pretty well, I have been struggling with being able to tell actual hunger from just wishing I could eat.  Does anyone have any hot tips on how to tell the difference?

I think I've mostly been craving, but I am a habitual snacker and am coming off a moderately-processed diet and I don't want to not eat enough because I'm mixing up cravings with hunger.

 

Thanks!

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Our litmus test is generally asking yourself if you would be happy to eat some steamed fish and brocoli at the moment.  If you are up for something as bland as that, you're probably actually hungry and should then eat something with protein, fat and veggies (we discourage straight up fruit and/or nuts as a snack).

 

If you have just eaten a large meal and you know you're not hungry, change up your scenery.  Turn the TV off and read a book or go for a walk or take a bath or, sometimes, just go to bed.    

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Hey Emily, great question! I'm new to Whole30 myself (I'm on day 11) and I was attracted to doing the reset because I realised that I was eating less mindfully and more out of cravings and other ill-formed habits. It added up to a few too many pounds over 2 years, alongside an appetite and palette that were out of whack.

Being able to differentiate between genuine physical hunger vs psychosomatic triggers (stress, sugar/carb addiction, boredom, comfort) is really important. So be patient, make sure you try to take the time to cook delicious meals for yourself (you deserve it!), and be patient with yourself and the Whole30 process. This is as much a physical experience as a mental/psychological one. I think most of us have a broken relationship with food and this reset offers us a chance to begin mending things. ie. I was surprised that my body could tolerate zero snacks or treats and that 4-6 hours between meals was more than do-able for me.

 

I echo ladyshanny in her advice about a litmus test. When you're hungry/craving something (off-hours or between meals), ask yourself if you'd eat a hardboiled egg or piece of poached salmon. If the answer is, umm I was hoping for something a bit sweet/salty/crunchy then you have your answer. The former is genuine hunger, the latter is a craving.

 

Best of luck. :)

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Thanks, everyone.
 

I'm doing better today, seems that afternoons and evenings are the hardest for me.  Today is my first day back at work since beginning the whole30 and I was really worried about battling the boredom hunger that seemed to plague me every single day forever sitting at a desk but overall, it's been going well.

Enjoying lunch now--the real test will be about 3:30 in the afternoon to see how badly I think I want a cupcake.  ;)

 

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Hey Emily, great question! I'm new to Whole30 myself (I'm on day 11) and I was attracted to doing the reset because I realised that I was eating less mindfully and more out of cravings and other ill-formed habits. It added up to a few too many pounds over 2 years, alongside an appetite and palette that were out of whack.

Being able to differentiate between genuine physical hunger vs psychosomatic triggers (stress, sugar/carb addiction, boredom, comfort) is really important. So be patient, make sure you try to take the time to cook delicious meals for yourself (you deserve it!), and be patient with yourself and the Whole30 process. This is as much a physical experience as a mental/psychological one. I think most of us have a broken relationship with food and this reset offers us a chance to begin mending things. ie. I was surprised that my body could tolerate zero snacks or treats and that 4-6 hours between meals was more than do-able for me.

 

 

Right there with you.  I come from a long history of disordered eating and while I did a fantastic job of clean eating and responsibly indulging 3 years ago, a huge amount of stressful changes sent me down a less positive path.  I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired now, and I'm finally at a place where I can give my nutrition the focus it really needs.

 

I have been planning and cooking very well for myself--I've really been loving what I've been creating, although right now I still think most of it would be better with cheese and after dinner I get really resentful that herbal tea is not ice cream.  But I have really enjoyed the aspect of this that allows you to not track/count/obsess over anything and that's already been really freeing for me.

 

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