One sciency fact I learned during my weight-loss journey really surprised me: being hungry is good for you. Like… really good for you. (Which is why intermittent fasting is such a great thing to add to any well-planned diet).
From an evolutionary perspective, the human body was never designed to have food in our stomachs 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. The advice to “eat lots of small meals throughout the day” has been thoroughly debunked. We now know the benefit of skipping 1 to 2 mealstimes a day (just like our ancient ancestors used to). The production of all the good hormones goes up, we sleep better, our energy levels increase, cellular aging slows, brain function improves, our immune system ramps up, overall inflammation goes down, and yes, we burn more fat.
The benefits of being hungry for a few hours a day (intermittent fasting) are so good. Many people now make it a way of life, even if weight loss isn’t their goal.
Of course, like all good things, you can over-do it. Be sure you’re still eating the same number of calories, and don’t get caught up in the multi-day fasting trends. Both of those will ultimately slow your metabolism.
As a starting point, try going 16 hours without eating every day. Then, eat all of your food in an 8-hour window. (For example, you might choose to “fast” from 8 pm until noon the next day, basically skipping breakfast). You’ll find it’s challenging for the first week. You’ll feel quite hungry, but after that, most people find they really like that style of eating. As you progress, you can get even more benefits by tightening the eating window even further. (Can you eat all your calories in 6 hours? 4 hours?)
As an added benefit, many people struggling with food addiction report that this approach makes them feel more in control because it draws parameters around their eating that are easy to adhere to while still allowing them to indulge in (what will seem like) a crazy amount of eating once a day.
Next time you feel hungry, reflect on all the good things it’s causing to happen inside your body. The misery factor isn’t nearly as bad once you realize what’s going on behind the curtains!