You shouldn’t be hungry all the time

by Ali on January 28, 2009

I was getting changed at the gym, and overheard one woman saying to another:

“I’m constantly hungry. But it’s working.”

(She was a slim woman, certainly not someone who needed to lose weight.)
I wanted to say to all The Office Diet’s readers that it is NOT okay for a diet to leave you feeling hungry all the time. Healthy eating never means starving yourself: you need enough food to keep your body healthy and fit. It’s especially important to eat enough when you’re exercising.

How Much Is Too Little?

Nutritionists recommend not dropping below 1,000 calories per day as an absolute minimum (and many say 1,100). If you’re tall or male, your minimum is likely to be significantly higher than this. It’s always a good idea to have a chat with your doctor before going on a diet, to find out what’s right for you. If you don’t want to visit your doctor, you can work out your recommended daily calorie intake yourself.

Those are figures if you’re not exercising: if you’re doing a daily gym session or an hour’s walk, you’ll ned to add at least 200 – 300 calories to fuel your body through the activity.

Is Hunger Bad Or Good?

Many of us (myself included) are prone to eating when we’re not hungry. If you’ve been overweight for a while, you might find that you need to get used to the sensation of hunger again. It’s normal and good to feel hungry before a meal, and I personally enjoy my food a lot more when I’ve got an appetite for it!

Many dieticians advise thinking of your hunger on a scale of 1 – 10, where 1 is “absolutely stuffed” and 10 is “starving”. You should eat when your hunger level is about 7, and stop when you’re at about a 3.

Hunger becomes a bad thing when you’re feeling hungry hours before a scheduled meal or snack. If you eat breakfast at seven thirty and you’re feeling hungry at nine, you’re not eating enough. Don’t suffer through hours of hunger pangs – have a healthy snack instead.

Persistent hunger tends to make you irritable, unable to focus and tired: it’s not good for you, or for your work. If you’re feeling hungry on your calorie allowance, try adding an extra 150 – 200 calories per day. You’ll lose weight a little more slowly, but you’ll be far more likely to stick to it long-term.

Don’t forget that the Dieting Basics ebook is just $4 until the end of January – grab your copy now, the price will be going back up to $12 on February 1st!

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