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Podcast: Do You Really Need to Eat Only When Hungry to Lose Weight?

 

Transcription of Podcast

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena. Are you feeling fabulous? I hope that you are. , quick question for you. True or false? In order to lose weight, you must only ever eat when you are hungry. What do you reckon? Yes or no? I hear so many people say this to me. I need to only eat when I'm hungry and that means that I am going to lose weight.

I personally do not think this is true and I'm going to spend the next 10 15 minutes explaining to you why. Let me start by telling you, it is Tuesday. Oh my goodness, it is so windy here in Spain today. We do the whole windswept, like, thing in a totally new dimension. The gales are howling. And it's Tuesday morning, and I have a habit of eating nuts when I know that I am not hungry.

Am I hungry? No, I've eaten my breakfast not that long ago, I know I'm not hungry, I am just work avoiding, you can call it boredom eating if you want, I know that I have a habit of basically getting up, doing a little bit of exercise, I just went and hung out the washing in the howling gale, and I grabbed some handful of nuts on the way through.

Was I hungry? No, I was not. As a side note, a lot of people say to me as well, Oh my goodness, like, I eat too many nuts. Nuts are going to help me put on weight. And the answer to that, again, is no, that's not true. There's a lot of evidence to support that actually eating nuts is good for you. And they have lots of healthy fats.

Now, I eat loads and loads and loads of nuts. But, I don't eat very much meat at all, and so nuts is a good source of protein for me. What I would say is, if you're thinking, you know, Oh, I eat too many nuts. Actually, I would look, take a step back and look at your entire diet. Because if you're eating a lot of meat and a lot of nuts, then I suspect that you aren't eating as many vegetables as you could do, and you could reduce, ideally, the meat and not the nuts.

, just a few thoughts to you. But I definitely know that I eat because I am bored and not because I am hungry, but here's the big, but in a 24 hour period, I am not eating more than my body needs. So those nuts, I may not actually be feeling hungry, but they are still going towards nourishing my body and fueling my body as opposed to, oh, this is just extra.

And I. I don't need that energy. It still counts towards the energy that fuels my body in a 24 hour period. Now, a little bit about hunger. And I think there is a common misconception it's not an entire misconception there is a common misconception that when we get hungry, we need to go and eat. Now, actually, hunger is very much on a circadian rhythm.

Our circadian rhythm is that 24 hour rhythm, you know, like I wake up at 6. 30 in the morning or whatever time you wake up, and I normally eat breakfast at this time, and I eat lunch at this time, and I eat dinner at this time, and then I go to bed. And if you have a strong circadian rhythm and you're doing it regularly, Every single day, your body gets into this rhythm, and it will get hungry at those periods of time.

, I eat breakfast normally at around 7 o'clock on the days that I go swimming. I don't eat it until later on, around 9, 9. 30. But I'm busy swimming, so my body isn't feeling hungry. But normally, if I don't go swimming, and I, instead of eating breakfast at that time sorry, 8 o'clock, not 7 o'clock. If I don't eat breakfast at that time, my body is going to start feeling hungry.

Not because it can't go and get some fuel. Of course it can go and get some fuel. Everybody has got fuel in their body. , it's not like, oh my goodness, I feel hungry. I have to eat something. No, what happens if you don't eat something? Well, then your body goes and starts breaking down some fuel and going, Ah, okay, there's no food coming.

Let's go and break down some fuel. And that is an automatic process that your, that all bodies will do. And that is kind of the idea of weight loss, actually, is that you want to be breaking down that stored energy and using it as to fuel your body, essentially. Like, there's basically only two ways of getting rid of that energy.

And one of them is to use it up, and the other is to have it chopped out by a surgeon. , going back to this idea of this circadian rhythm, your body gets used to eating at a certain time. It's breakfast time. I feel hungry. It's lunch time. I feel hungry. It's dinner time. I feel hungry. Except, of course, if you have been grazing all, all day, then perhaps your body isn't going to feel hungry.

But that is normally what happens, and this is one of the reasons why your body actually really likes it. If you have a structure, if you have a routine to your day, so your body likes to know, Okay, it's breakfast time, this is when I'm used to being hungry. And it's lunch time, this is when I'm used to being hungry.

Now obviously that doesn't work for everybody. People who do shift workers or shift patterns and, you know, different things. It doesn't always work in exactly the way it's basically designed to work. , If you want to change your routine, and you say, Okay, instead of eating breakfast at 8 o'clock, I'm going to eat breakfast at 11 o'clock.

Well, for the first couple of weeks, your body is going to be going, Hey, it's breakfast time! I'm hungry, let's eat breakfast. After a couple of weeks, your body's like, Okay, we have breakfast at 11 o'clock now, that's perfectly fine. I'm just totally, totally used to that. So I hope that explains a little bit about hunger.

And yes, hunger can sometimes indicate, you know, I haven't eaten for a period of time. And therefore my body's kind of saying, I want some fuel. But please remind yourself that your body does not have to get that fuel externally. Your body has lots of stored energy that it is perfectly capable of using up.

For example, I get up in the morning. I go, I cycle to the swimming pool or to the sea, depending on what time of year it is. I swim between two and a half to three kilometres, and then I cycle back. And I haven't had anything to eat or drink before I do that. Now, why can I do that? Is it because I'm Superwoman?

No, I'd like to say yes, but it's not true. I'm not Superwoman. I just know that my body is perfectly capable of using the energy that it has inside it. I know how it works and that it can swim and it can do all of this stuff and make it back home in time for breakfast. Now if I wanted to do a longer swim, longer exercises, I might make sure I have some breakfast to, you know, not because I need it, but because that's gonna enhance my performance when I'm doing it.

It was gonna make me go a little bit faster and stay the course a little bit longer, but for an hour easy, absolutely easy. You can exercise for an hour without needing any extra energy that you've got enough energy easily available to your body to be able to do that. Now, there was one more thing that I really wanted to bring up in this conversation as well and that is this idea of If you say I'm only ever going to eat when I'm hungry, what you're also saying, in my opinion, is there are never any treats, because let's be honest, treats like cakes and biscuits and candy and stuff like that, we don't really eat them to fuel our body, they're full of sugar and we can get that sugar.

in various other places that isn't just pure sugar. We can get them in fruits and vegetables and things like that. But that does not mean, Oh my goodness, I must never ever eat the cake, the candy, the whatever. There are more sensible ways of getting your sugar hit and enjoying your sugar hit and still being able to lose weight.

, for example, my mum came and stayed with us at the weekend. We have a lovely time and she bought some chocolate brownies. You know, pure sugar chocolate brownies. Made out of sugar and flour and sugar, basically. A bit of chocolate with some sugar in it. And of course, my kids absolutely loved these brownies and the minute she arrived they were like, yeah, yeah, we want to eat the brownies.

Now, I didn't eat the brownies at that time because I knew they were full of sugar and I didn't want to spike my glucose levels. But I did want to enjoy the, the brownies at some stage. , after dinner, and we had a big dinner, a bigger dinner than I would normally have, but you know, it was a special occasion, and that's perfectly fine.

Now the kids wanted more brownies, so what I did was I chopped the remaining brownies up so that they were just tiny little bites. And that meant that everybody could have two little bites. And in that bite of brownie, oh my goodness, richness, sugariness, amazingness. But two of them were perfectly enough.

If you slow down and eat a small amount and really savour it, you get all the impact of the goodness, the enjoyment. And what I did was not push my glucose levels up heaps unnecessarily. Yes, of course it pushed my glucose levels up a little bit, but in the context of a big meal, as opposed to an extra spike.

, you know, thinking about snacks and snacking during the day, I started off by telling you that I snack on nuts. Nuts do not push your glucose levels up. When you're thinking about snacking, if you are snacking during the day, try and stick to things that aren't going to push your glucose levels up.

Nuts are a great, a great thing and ideally I would say nuts without any flavour in them. So just plain raw nuts. The ones that I eat are almonds. Obviously I live in Spain and that's what we have, lots of almonds here and I love almonds with the skin on. Full of fibre as well. Other things that you can snack on.

Vegetables, carrot sticks, celery, things like that. Fruit even. You have to be a bit careful of fruit. You don't want to eat too much fruit. But, for example, an apple is probably not going to spike your glucose levels much. You can eat it with some nuts and it's definitely not going to. , try and avoid spiking your glucose levels unnecessarily during the day.

But I hope this has clarified a little bit about, Oh my goodness, I must only ever eat when I'm hungry. That is not true, in my opinion. What you do need to look at is how much you are eating in a 24 hour period and that needs to be the amount that you need to fuel your body and not more. And if you are losing weight, you actually want it to be less.

Now that does not necessarily mean, Oh my goodness, I have to have, go on a really strict calorie diet. First of all, I would say, no, start by eating healthily first, and try the healthy eating first, and then, when you've really nailed that, there are some other tweaks and things that you can do. But number one is eat healthily as much as you want.

You shouldn't feel hungry in any way at all. You shouldn't have to feel hungry. You should just feel full up and satisfied the whole time. I hardly ever feel super, super hungry. I feel like I eat a big breakfast, a big lunch, I snack on my nuts. I don't snack on my nuts in the afternoon actually. I always feel totally full up after lunch.

And then I have a reasonably big dinner too. And my weight maintains itself. Obviously I'm not trying to lose weight right now. If I wanted to lose weight I would have to eat a little bit under that. Give my body a little bit more chance to use up some of that fat as energy. But my opinion is that you do not have to only eat when you are hungry in order to lose weight.

Okay my friends, have a lovely day and I will see you next week. Bye bye.

 

 
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