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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How hungry are you?

Eat only when you are hungry or eat every few hours so you are never hungry, let yourself be hungry to burn fat, fasting is great. No wonder you are confused.

With so much access to food and snacks, it's easy to eat often and too much but is it really good for you? Not to mention that most of us aren't eating what is good for our body when we give ourselves permission to eat every two or three hours . So why not wait until you are really hungry? That can be a disaster because we then need to rely on will power over for control when we are ravinous. Our brains are not wired for will power.

There is an answer. Eat when you are starting to get hungry, not before you are hungry and not when you are starving. Foods vary in the time that they take to digest completely before your blood sugar drops and you feel real hunger - up to 5 hours but on average about 3 hours. Be prepared - carry a healthy snack with you so you don't ever have to feel more than a small hunger pain - just learn your body well enough so that you can differentiate between emotional and physical hunger and listen carefully. Your body is extremely intelligent and will tell you what you need as long as it is physical rather than emotional hunger you are paying attention to.

Eat your calories earlier in the day and lighter in the evening when your body is most awake and efficient rather in the evening when your body needs to slow down. Meal digestion needs energy and doesn't do well if it is competing for energy from sports or when your body is tired. Have a cup of tea before bedtime with a very small low calorie snack that is easier to digest in the evening - low in sugar with some protein and relax!

(Two key rules of thumb to remember 1) you will tend to believe anything you read or hear giving you permission to eat often because it often provides you with an excuse to eat what and when you know you shouldn't 2) Our innate senses rule over will power because this is the way we are hard-wired. Ask any brain scientist. Forming good habits is the best way to achieve success. Prepare to phase into your new habits to achieve good habits in the same way you gradually get into an exercise routine for better health - until you work up to a regular routine it might be a drag. You need to strenghthen your default reactions in favor of health so it's an easy path for you or you'll take the easy way out.

Habituate yourself to your new goals and listen to what your body says and what you tell yourself, Beware of the latest to good to be true message out there.

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers led back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make better food choices that you enjoy and gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions to marketing healthful food and food practices.