Recently, I’ve heard an increasing chorus of, “AHHH… if only I weren’t hungry right now” (and I’ve been guilty of this myself). Now that “Bikini season” is under way, more and more fad diets are popping up and people deciding to try different methods of losing weight. Amongst all the confusion, liquid cleanses, and body wraps–how does our appetite play a role? Should we suppress it or indulge it?
Well, your appetite–like thirst, is a built-in body mechanism that is there to tell you, “hey, you’re lacking some nutrients to feed my awesome body processes!” much like how you feel the urge to drink water when you’re dehydrated. Many people begrudgingly think that the appetite is an enemy–but it’s really there to help, that is–if you listen to it and feed it in a healthy way.
If you suppress your appetite, here’s the bodies initial response: increased stress hormones (cortisol) and insulin. What do these guys do? They tell your body to store fat. So while you may think skipping a meal will lower your calorie intake for the day, and in essence help you lose weight–this may be working against you.
However, word of caution: feeling true hunger is not an all access pass to eating a bunch of donuts or nutrient deficient foods–your body is telling you that you’re LACKING nutrients in the first place so feeding it sugar and empty calories will also help you pack on pounds (and your appetite will only bug you again in an hour or so once it realizes it didn’t get the nutrients it needed).
So how do we befriend the often under appreciated appetite?
Feed it healthy, nutrient foods. A small meal with some healthy fats, protein, and complex carbs should do the trick. My rule of thumb is to always have some clean protein in your meal. Some snack ideas? Apples and almond butter, hummus and carrots, chicken and guac, a small protein filled salad, beef and veggies, a whey protein shake (as pure of form as possible) with all natural peanut butter and bananas, or eggs and fruit.
At the end of the day, our bodies are our friend. They are intuitive and know WAY more about what’s going on in their complex systems than we do. So to honor that, it’s best we feed it with kindness and nutrient dense foods (tho indulging on occasion, is totally fine too! That’s part of the human experience after all).
Until next time, J out.