Follow the body’s clues and do what’s natural…
Eat when you’re hungry. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. A simple concept. Lost in the myriad of dietary advice nowadays is this ancient primal guidance system. Our own metabolic GPS. Granted, most people, Americans in particular, have spent some years bombarding our metabolic software with viruses (i.e. snacks every couple hours) to disresgulate it a bit but the instinctual hardware is still built into our bodies. Every human has within him or herself the ability to eat when they are hungry, not eat when they aren’t hungry and thrive while doing so.
A human can survive not eating every 3 hours. We all have many times over. We do it every night. A human can survive for several hours, a day or even many days without eating. When we don’t eat, we burn fat for fuel. Eating, in contrast, tells your body to stop burning body fuel (fat) and live off the energy you just took in. If you’re trying to lose weight, does it make sense to eat every 3 hours and stop your body from engaging in the fat burning process? There is no need to fear that not eating every few hours will slow your metabolism or cost you some of your previous hard earned muscle. There are many innate metabolic programs built into our biology to help us make it through periods (a few hours to a few days) with little to no food while suffering little to no side effects. There are in fact body programs that initiate and upregulate between meals that make us stronger creatures. We end up automatically recycling and strengthening the body during periods of famine. Humans have been doing this for thousands of years. We have known for quite some time how and that it does work. Modern science has recently validated it. We do not need to eat when we aren’t hungry. In fact, science, evolutionary and anthropological evidence is confirming many people’s common sense suggestion that it may even be detrimental to eat too often and when you’re not hungry.
People now (and often do) literally eat whenever and whatever they want. This is biologically unprecedented in the human species. It’s not a good thing, particularly when paired with supranormal food. We have a feast and famine biology. When we constantly feast with no famines it usually ends in too much intake. Humans are built to eat and then live off stored energy, no matter how long it might be. To me, this is very intuitive and makes more sense than the thought that humans need to graze like herbivores. I’m not suggesting everyone should only eat a meal every three or four days like a carnivore, I am suggesting we eat like omnivores, somewhere between the two.
So let’s take a step back and approach it a bit more naturally. When you are hungry, eat good, whole, real food and then don’t eat again until you are hungry. Every once in a while, skip a meal and see what happens.
Some ideas to reset your hunger GPS…
When you wake up, don’t eat until you are hungry.
Only eat meals, don’t snack.
Eat until you are full.
Skip dinner if you’re not hungry.
Drink water between meals.
Don’t be afraid to be hungry. It might even be good for you…
Thanks for reading, have a great eating whenever you’re hungry day.
P.S. If you’re literally hungry every 2-3 hours I would suggest you look at what you’re eating. If you are eating empty or inadequate calories you might be doing yourself a disservice and could benefit from an alternative food strategy…
Here are a couple of resources on fasting if you would like to read more…
Eat Stop Eat
Mark Sisson on fasting