Hunger is in Your Mind

A long but brilliant article on why the mainstream approach to weight loss is bullshit.

Here’s what happens when you interfere with your hypothalamus – when medical advice collides with psychology. Let’s say you decide to cut back on calories. You eat less for a day. The result? It’s like picking up a stick and poking a tiger. Your hunger mood rises and for the next five days you’re eating bigger meals and more snacks, perhaps only vaguely realising it. People tend to judge how much they’ve eaten partly by how full they feel afterward. But since that feeling of fullness is partly psychological, if your hunger mood is up, you might eat more than usual, feel less full than usual, and so mistakenly think that you’ve cut back. You might feel like you’re making progress. After all, you’re constantly vigilant. Sure, now and then you slip up, but you get yourself right back on track again. You feel good about yourself until you get on a scale and notice that your weight isn’t responding. It might go down one day and then blip up the next two days. Dancing under the surface of consciousness, your hunger mood is warping your perceptions and choices.

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4 thoughts on “Hunger is in Your Mind”

  1. “Hunger is always n the background” I loved that! :)

    To me (this is not by any way related to any medical, psychological, behavioural or any other evidence :D) hunger is a function of how well you eat. How well you eat can be thought of as a processual activity. There are inputs, processes, and output. In the case of losing weight -for example- it is not enough to concentrate on the input (quality of ingredients, method of cooking, time(s) of food consumption, etc.) in isolation of the processes that occur once we finish putting the food in our mouths. If we focus on the digestion part (input) and ignore the absorption part (process) we are not going to be so pleased with the results we planned for (output). Also, I think along with the processual view we need to remember, as with everything else I suppose, that there are primary elements and secondary ones in each of the three main components of a processual activity. If I want to lose some weight and I eat wisely by preparing healthy food, eating it on regular times, strive for nutritions snacks, cut down on salt & sugar, etc., but during my eating (activity) I do not munch it quite enough, eat while checking my work-related voice msgs, and/or while watching TV (opps, I mean scrolling down my smart device! :D) then the results will not be as I expected or within the range my nutrition advised will be.

    I think it is important to watch what we eat, regardless of the claims that today’s food (industry) is way worse than 200 years ago. Each era had its concerns. I think if we lose a balance with regard to what we eat then we will not lead a comfortable life, at least not for the long-run. Keeping track of such a balance needs (urgh) a system. It doesn’t have to be a complex perplexing one but one that is followed through and amended when deemed necessary. If one eats -relatively- the best food ever, with the best surrounding environment ever, but her/his body is absorbing it wrongly then it will not work. If one is eating mainly junk-food but nothing is happening to his/her body then it means the body is young (or lucky enough) not to show signs of collapsing (good absorption) but even so the signs shall surface. AND if I focus on losing weight (for example) just for the wrong reasons/pressures then I might nail it but definitely it will be on the expense of the inputs/processes or worse yet, on the expense of some other major circle of life, other than food/eating one.

    *** haitham finished blabbing

  2. Haitham, I think you should write a book on nutrition! :D

    I agree with you. It is very important to have a culture of mindfulness in eating and living in general, because it’s so easy so stray these days.

  3. Haha, maybe a mini-series scary book.
    Here are two clips for documentaries that speak my mind. I have seen the first but yet to watch the second in full.

    There is no hidden info in them -I suppose- but we tend to overlook it and do almost nothing to “fight” back

    P.S. There was a notification for a post entitled (transforming our social life) or something like that. Sounded interesting but seems it is not available now. A draft post? :)

  4. Thanks for the links Haitham! I’ll check them out :)
    As for the post, it’s a just a simple quote – scheduled for later this week.

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