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Why you can’t stop thinking about food

*** Disclaimer, I am not a nutritionist

On Instagram and Linkedin you voted to know more about how the modern world is affecting our natural hunger hormones. By the end of this blog, you’ll know the answer to these questions:

  • What kind of foods do most people eat?

  • How do these foods hijack our hormones?

  • Can you trust your hunger in the modern world?

  • How do you know when you’re hungry? (appetite vs. hunger)

  • Five easy tweaks I used to lose 20 pounds sustainably

This is still embarrassing for me to share but...

On a personal note, weight and weight loss is a topic close to my heart. I struggled with my weight for many years, and have only recently found a sustainable approach that works for me.

Through my years struggling with food, I am so sympathetic towards others who struggle to maintain healthy weights, or people who just don’t feel good healthwise even if the scale says they’re fine. Please know your weight does not determine your worth. I struggled for a long time to not judge myself for my addiction to food and my behavior around it, and I would never judge you.

This article is a culmination of what I've learned about ultra processed foods over decades of dieting, and my hope in writing about this topic is that I will help someone reading gain their life back the way I finally have.

If you want to know more about my journey, my nutritionist recently interviewed me here:

What kind of foods do most people eat?

I actually asked Chat GPT for this one.

As you can see, America’s most popular foods are primarily ultra processed versus the rest of the world, and I’ll tell you why this is contributing to Western society’s obesity epidemic.

How do these foods hijack our hormones?

As humans, we gain pleasure through activities that promote our survival, so it makes sense that we love eating. Eating fats, salt and sugar releases happy chemicals in the brain. Our brains naturally promote the consumption of high calorie dense foods because for most of human history - the most common problem we faced is there wasn’t enough food.

The problem is fats, salt and sugar used to be found in isolation. Think nuts, seaweed and fruit, but food manufacturers combine these elements to create hyper palatable calorie dense foods low in fiber that are easy to overconsume and mess with our hunger and fullness hormones - and enough is never enough.

Not everyone who eats ultra processed foods will be overweight or addicted, the same way some people can drink alcohol or coffee every day and not get addicted, a lot of it comes down to genetics. Specifically the FTO gene or ‘fat gene’. Everyone has this gene, but some mutations of it cause people to be more likely to be overweight or obese because it inhibits fullness hormones, especially if you’re eating too many ultra processed foods.

Can you trust your hunger?

Despite how it might feel to some of you reading this, your body is not broken. Your body wants to be healthy and be at a healthy weight. You don’t have to be obsessed about food and there is another way.

When it comes to hyper palatable food, it’s likely your hunger fullness signals will be off, the degree of which will increase steadily as we age, but hope is not lost. You don’t need to be obsessive about it (although I admit I am), but eating mostly whole foods will help your hormones keep your body running.

How do you know when you’re hungry? (appetite vs. hunger)

I struggled for a long time understanding the difference between appetite and hunger.

For me, I ask this questions to determine if what I’m feeling is hunger or if what I’m experiencing is appetite caused by boredom, sadness or any other emotion.

The million dollar question is simple:

“Would I eat vegetables right now?”

Don’t over complicate it, it’s a yes or no. I learned this from Emmie, my nutritionist and it’s the best indicator I’ve found for determining if I’m actually hungry. You see, cravings only have one fix, but hunger can be solved by any food.

Five easy diet tweaks I used to lose 20 pounds (sustainably)!

  1. Ask yourself the million dollar question

  2. Eat veggies before eating your other food

  3. Don’t eat until fullness, aim to eat until hunger goes away

  4. If you’re a fast eater, stop half way and wait 10 minutes

  5. Eat without distractions

Thanks for reading!

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