Retrain Your Appetite

MILD HUNGER: Not a bad thing

DECODING your ‘appetite pendulum’ can help you lose weight – without the need to diet. This is according to psychologist Dr Helen McCarthy who believes we can retrain our appetites to recognize how much food we actually need in order to shed the kilos.

The author told Daily Mail that we have all be trained to eat at certain times of the day, rather than eating when we are hungry and stopping when we are full. She claims the ‘appetite pendulum’ starts at 0 when hunger is neutral, moves into minus when hungry and plus when we begin to eat.

Dr McCarthy advised eating should only begin when hunger gets to minus three – definitely hungry – stressing the importance of stopping at plus three – just full. The former NHS psychologist said that many of us eat too much either because we’re enjoying the food and don’t want to stop, or we’re eating mindlessly.
She encourages clients not to give up any foods they love and devise their own meal plans rather than be dictated by a diet. The weight loss psychologist, who is also training other professionals in this way of thinking, says hunger signs aren’t a bad thing, pointing out that ‘mild hunger in the hour or so before your next meal or snack is healthy’. She went on to say that ‘when you never feel mild hunger, your body may have been continuously digesting food, with no chance to stop and rest. Understanding and respecting mild hunger lets your gut work in the way that it evolved’.

According to her research, ‘the hunger message to the brain is our body’s inbuilt natural way of letting us know we’ve used up the energy from our last meal, and that we’re having to switch over to using our stored energy, i.e. fat, so the hunger signals are switched off.”

We can go a whole day, or month or lifetime, without actually getting hungry – and it’s one of the biggest reasons we put on weight.’

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