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They'll all fall

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Three-Sentence Diet

Want to lose weight? It can be as simple as this:
  • Eat two boiled eggs as your breakfast
  • Learn to distinguish between your different forms of hunger
  • When you're hungry, eat to satisfy your hunger
That's it. If you follow it, you'll lose weight over time unless you've got serious nutritional deficiencies.

Let's detail it a little, so it will make sense to you and you'll remember it.

Eat two boiled eggs as your breakfast

Eating in the morning will start your systems, getting your body ready to feel hungry at the right times. Eggs are a source of protein (70 kcal/egg, approx) and fat (40kcal/egg, approx). Having protein available will help your body move towards fat burning mode, and starting this way will move your apetite in the right direction.

Learn to distinguish between your different forms of hunger

There are four (major) feelings that tend to be mixed up in the feeling "hunger". These are thirst, hunger for protein, hunger for carbohydrates, and hunger for micronutrients (which, for instance, can create cravings for peanuts or grapefruit juice or similar). When you listen closely to your body, these things feel different. How will you learn to listen? Easy. You'll just eat to satisfy the other hungers, and then you'll feel how the hunger that is left feels. This hunger will re-appear after a short while - for me, 15 to 20 minutes. It's not quite as easy to do the micronutrient part, as that's really a compound of its own - you'll notice this one as "The part that is not covered by thirst, protein hunger, and carbohydrate hunger."

So, it'll all go like this: You'll feel hungry, and then you'll drink lots of water and eat 3-4 eggs, and then you'll wait for 20 minutes. If you do not feel hungry again - well, the hunger was either for water or for protein. If you do feel hungry again, that's most likely carbohydrate hunger. Test by eating a couple of slices of plain buttered bread, and seeing if your hunger is still sated after half an hour.

Another time, you just drink water and see what difference that makes. When you do this, you'll easily learn to distinguish the "thirsty" feeling fully. Most of us think we know it, and find it a surprise to learn that it was mixed up.

The next day, you experiment with checking how it feels to satisfy just carbohydrate hunger and thirst. Drink enough water and eat buttered bread (again), and you should have fairly isolated protein hunger after a while. Notice that feeling. Test by satisfying it.

When you're hungry, eat to satisfy your hunger

Your body easily goes into "starvation mode". When it's in starvation mode, it tries to conserve calories, to avoid you starving to death. It's a really good intention - trust me, I'm speaking from experience when I say starving to death sucks. Fortunately, you're in the situation that you are unlikely to have to re-live my experience. So your body's effort is in vain. In fact, it's negative: Your body is getting rid of excess lean mass (muscles, inner organs) to avoid using so many calories, it's lowering the body temperature (making you less resistant to disease) and it's keeping fat to make sure you'll have calories available during the times of little food availability you're getting into.

The body does these adaptions fairly quickly. If you are hungry and do not eat, the body reasons, it's because there is no food available. Then, the body thinks, it's probably also a good idea to make you eat a lot when food becomes available, and store as much as possible for later use.

All of these things go together, so when you start eating when you're hungry, and you start noticing how different types of hunger feel, and you start eating towards satisfying that particular hunger, you'll lose weight. And you'll feel a lot better to boot.

Of course, to be able to do the above, you'll also have to read food labels for a while, noticing how much of each kind of food contains of each nutritient. This is easy; when you go down to the store tonight, you'll already be curious about these ideas and you'll start looking at the labels, noticing how the balance between carbohydrates, protein, and fat is for each food. It'll just be a fun game, some fun new trivias you'll learn easily.


  • Cool. Mind sharing your personal experience with starving? :)

    By Anonymous P, at 11:46 PM  

  • Starving? My personal experience is that in those periods I've tried to "Just eat less", I increased in weight, because I "broke" and ate myself upwards.

    That's a number of years and about 20 kg ago, though. Those 20 kg disappeared after I started doing things similar to what I wrote about in the post - know different forms of hunger, and eat to satisfy it.

    Today, the only form of "starving" I do is an occasional fast, and that's to give my body rest to get rid of contaminants.

    By Blogger Eek, at 11:46 AM  

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