Early April in Wisconsin is as unpredictable as mealtime for some people. I feel strongly about the importance of eating before hunger gets out of control. If I had a nickel for every time I have emphasized why it’s a good idea to cooperate with a hungry body . . . . Ignoring hunger leads to the equivalent of a boulder picking up momentum on a steep incline – don’t mess with it!
So, why did I ignore my own advice today? It was an unusually warm day – absolutely beautiful! – and I got carried away with a few errands. Fast forward 3 hours – well past my usual lunchtime – and all I could think about was getting home and eating. I am not talking about the usual kind of manageable hunger that I usually have. I’m talking about the kind of hunger that leads me to whatever is fast, easy, and HIGH VOLUME. I inhaled whatever I could get my hands on – luckily some healthy leftovers were available within minutes. In the time it takes to order an extra value meal at McDonald’s, I managed to super-size my way to a hearty helping of calories, without even realizing that I was full.
Do you notice that the “full” sensation can come too late when you eat quickly? I know all these things, but still I need a little reminder every now and then. Note to self: Human bodies do not like to go without food for too long. The normal response is to feel a little desperate to eat – I think that’s called lack of willpower!
While physical hunger is not the only reason we eat, eating when hungry certainly is a way of gaining more willpower. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think well when I get over-hungry, so I am just less willing to stop and think about what would be a good choice at that moment. Since it’s a good bet that we will all continue to be human for the rest of our lives, the best strategy for good health AND maintaining a healthy weight is always going to include working cooperatively with our bodies, not struggling to resist normal healthy signals.