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Allaboutappetiteregulation

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AllAboutAppetiteRegulation

Part2

ByRyanAndrews

InPart1ofthisseries,welookedatthephysiologicalpartofappetite.
Welearnedthatmanyhormones,neurotransmitters,glandsand
organsregulateappetite.Nowweregoingtolookattheinteractions
betweenbiologyandenvironment.

Whatiseatingtherightamount?
Ideally,ourphysiologyregulatesourappetiteperfectly.Weevolved
toeatwhenwerehungry,andstopwhenwevehadenough.

Ofcourse,itdoesntalwaysworkthatwayinourmodernsociety.

Appetitehasamassivereallifecomponent.Subtleeatingcuescan

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trumpphysiology.Thesecaninclude:
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Cuesfromourphysicalenvironment
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Forexample,thesizeofdishes,howclosethefoodistous,etc.One

studyfoundthatpeopleatemorefromacandydishrightinfrontof

thembutmuchlessfromacandydish6feetaway.Theyalsoate
morefromanuncoveredcandydishthanacoveredcandydish.

Cuesfromouroralenvironment
Welikecertaintastesandtextures.
Welikesweet,fatty,andumami(savoury)things.
Welikecreamytexturesandcrunchytextures.
Wealsolikemultipletastesandtexturestogether,suchassweetsalty.

Cuesfromothersenses
Asthesayinggoes,Youeatwithyoureyesfirst.Welikefoodthat
lookspleasing,andwefavourcertaincolours(everseencandywith
boringgraypackaging?).Oursmelliscloselyboundtoourappetites
aswellasourmemoriesandemotionalassociations.Theresa
reasonthatCinnabonsmellssodelectableitspartofadeliberate
strategytolureusin.

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Cuesfromoursocialenvironment
family,friends,peers
culturalmessagesaboutwhenandwhereitsOKtoeat

Cuesfromouremotionalandpsychological
environment
stress
anxiety
desireforcomfort
symbolicassociationswithacertainfood,e.g.bakingcookies
makesmefeelhappy

Cuesfromourfamiliarhabitsandroutines:
morningcoffeeinourspecialmug,ortheusualatthecoffee
shop
beingrushedinthemornings,sostoppingatMcDonaldsdrivethru
Fridaybeersafterworkwiththeboys
snackinginfrontoftheTVwhilewatchingourfavouriteshows
cakeatbirthdayparties
momscasseroleatholidays
etc.

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Sometimesthesecuesarehelpful.Mosthaveanevolutionary
purpose.Forexample,knowingwhatfoodlooksandsmellsgood
canpreventusfromeatingsomethingthatsgonerotten.Eating
whenwewerenthungry,butwhenfoodwasavailable,wouldbe
helpfulinacontextwhenwecouldntbesurewhereournextmeal
wascomingfrom.

However,in21stcenturysociety,ourevolutionarysurvival
mechanismsdontworkverywell.Now,weresurroundedbygoodlookingfoodthatisavailabletous24/7.Werechronicallystressed
andseekingcomfort.Oureatingimpulsesareoutofwhack.Our
biologynolongermatchesourenvironment.

Whenweareperfectlyintunewithappropriateappetiteandfullness
cues,weeatwhenphysicallyhungryandstopwhensatisfied(not
stuffed).Wemaintainahealthybodyweight.

Whenwearenotintunewiththesecues,ourhealthandweight
suffer.

Under-eatingandover-eating
Therearemanyreasonswhywemightunder-orover-eatmorethan
weneed.

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Under-eatingmightoccurbecauseof:

socialpressures(e.g.amongwomentobethin)
stress
adesiretorestrictfoodtofeelincontrol
over-preoccupationwithhealth
rigidrestriction/eliminationofcertainfoods

Over-eatingmightoccurbecauseof:

socialpressures(e.g.wantingtofitinatsocialevents)
stress
feelingoutofcontrol
adesireforcomfortorself-soothing
disruptedbiologicalroutinessuchaslackofsleeporshiftwork
highlypalatabletastessuchasfattyandsweetfoods
foodavailability:thefoodisthereanditaintgonnaeatitself!

Culturalovereating
Eatingwhenhungryandstoppingwhensatisfiedissomethingthat
nearlyallmammalsareprogrammedtodofrombirth.Yet,intheU.S.
wetendtounlearnthisandonlystopeatingwhenwearefull.
Manyculturesdiscouragethis.

ThroughoutIndia,Ayurvedictraditionadviseseatinguntil75%full.

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TheJapanesepracticeharihachibu,eatinguntil80%full.

IslamicguidancefromtheQuranindicatesthatexcesseatingisasin.

TheChinesespecifyeatinguntil70%full.

TheprophetMuhammaddescribedafullbellyasonecontaining1/3
food,1/3liquid,1/3air(nothing).

ThereisaGermanexpressionthatsays,Tieoffthesackbeforeit
getscompletelyfull.
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Drinkyourfoodandchewyourdrink,isanIndianproverbthat
encouragesustoeatslowlyenoughandchewthoroughlyenough,
toliquefyourfood,andmoveourdrinkaroundourmouthand
thoroughlytasteitbeforeswallowing.

WhensomeoneisfinishedeatinginFrancetheydontsayImfull,
rather,Ihavenomorehunger.

AndcountriesoutsidetheU.S.emphasizethateatingshouldbe
pleasurableanddoneinthecompanyofothers.

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Homeostasis:Thebodyssecret
weapon
Thebodylikesthingstostaythesame,akahomeostasis.When
homeostasisisinterrupted,thebodytriestoself-regulateandget
backontrack.

Withbodyweight,thereareinternalchallengesinmaintaining
homeostasis.Asnutrientsareused,theymustbereplaced.Our
bodiessayPleasereplenishthesenutrients,akaEat.Ourbodies
sayThankyou,thatsenoughforwhatIrequire,akaStopeating.

Whenwehonourhomeostatichungersignals,weachieveoptimal
health.

Ifweeatwhenwearenothungry,thedistractionandpleasure

areonlytemporary;consequently,wehavetoeatmoretofeel
better,feedingthecycle.
Ifwedonoteatwhenwearehungry,ourbodygetsusback

eventuallybycrankingupourappetitesignalsandsmothering
ourfullnesssignals.Thebiggesttriggerofbingeeating?Dieting.

Mindful/intuitiveeating

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Haveyoueverobservedaninfanteating?Theyeatwhentheyare
hungry,andtheystopwhentheyvehadenough.Iftheydontlike
something,theyspititout.

Mindful/intuitiveeatingiskindoflikethat.

Whenweeatthisway,itpromotesphysicalandpsychologicalwellbeing.Physically,itsgratifyingtonotfeeloverlystuffedorempty.
Psychologically,itsgratifyingtobeabletohonortheinternalcuesof
hungerandsatiety,muchlikeitspsychologicallygratifyingtodrink
waterwhenthirsty,getwarmwhencold,urinatewhenthebladderis
full,orbreatheafterdiving8feettothebottomofapool.

Yearsofmindlesseating,restrictivedieting,andthegoodversus
badfoodmentalitycanwarpthewaywerespondtointernalbody
signals.

Whentheideaofbadfoodisdiscarded,itoftenremovesthe
punishingcycleofrestrictingandgorging.Why?Becausewhenwe
acknowledgethatafoodisavailabletouswheneverwewant,we
canbegintoselectavarietyoffoodsweenjoyandbecomethe
expertofourownbody.

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Threekeycomponentsofmindful/intuitiveeatingare:
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Unconditionalpermissiontoeat
Eatingprimarilyforphysicalratherthanemotionalor
environmentalreasons
Relyingoninternalhungerandsatietycues

Whyiseatingtherightamountso
important?
Ifwedonteattherightamountforourneeds,ourbodieswilltryto
self-regulatetomaintainhomeostasisormeetevolutionaryneeds.If
weveunder-eaten,wemightcompensatewithabinge.Ifwereovereatingonhighlypalatablefoods,ourbodiesmightsayThisisgreat!
Havemore,justincaseoffamine!

Whilemanypeopleperiodicallyeatinresponsetosensationsother
thanphysicalhunger,thistypeofeatingbecomesdestructivewhen
itstheprincipalwayofdealingwithfeelingsorgoingalongwitheasy
foodavailability.Ifweeateachtimewegetlonely,sad,boredor
happy,oriffoodisaroundus,wereintrouble.

Theproblemofdieting
Fewnutritionprofessionalsquestionthewisdomofusingfood
deprivationasameanstomanageweight.Eatlessisthemost
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commonadvicegiventopeoplewantingtoloseweight.

Still,itdoesntseemtobeworkingforanyone.Somearebeginning
toacknowledgethatdietingasinsignificant,short-termfood
restrictiondoesntworkforsustainedhealthandweight
management.

Dietingcanincreasefoodcravings,foodpreoccupation,guilt
associatedwitheating,bingeeating,weightfluctuations,anda
preoccupationwithweight.

Wemightgetintoacycleofdeprivationmentality:werestrict,then
losecontrol,thenvowtogetbackonthewagon(ie.restrict
further),thenlosecontrolagain,thenapplyanevenmorerigid
control,thenlosecontroloverandoverandover.

Dietingcanworkintheshortterm.Peoplecananddolosefatand
weightforawhile.Butmorethan90%ofindividualswholose
weightwillregainitwithin2years.

Dietingdoesntaddresseithertheunderlyingdeprivation-binge
mindset,ortherealproblemsofwhyyoureoverfatinthefirstplace.

Mindful/intuitiveeatingasanalternative
Mindful/intuitiveeatingasksWhyamIeating?andAmItruly
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hungry?Thusitcanreducebingingandemotionaleatingepisodes.
Themoremindfulnessandmeditationsomeoneuses,themore
weighttheycanlose(andkeepoff).

Mindful/intuitiveeatersarentobsessedeaters.Rather,theysimply
appreciatethevalueoffoodasopposedtohurryingthroughameal.
Astheystopjudgingthemselves,theyaremorepresentandaware
ofwhattheyaredoing.

Whatyoushouldknow

Learningbodysignals
Figuringoutsatietycuesinvolvestrialanderror.Theleveland
intensityofhungercanvary,ascanknowingwhatfoods/amountswill
satisfyhunger.Howthebodyrespondstofoodisgoingtobe
differentforeveryone.Itcanalsobedifferentatdifferenttimesofthe
day.

AsImentionedabove,considerchildren.Kidsgenerallypushfood
awaywhentheyrecontent.Andtheyknowwhentheydontlike
something.Intuitive/mindfuleatingisabouttappingbackintothat
wisdom.

Beawareofhowyoufeelphysically,mentally,andemotionally.For
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example:

Physically
Isyourstomachgrowling?
Doyouhaveaheadache
Areyoufeelingshakyorirritable?
Doyoufeelstuffed?

Mentally

Areyouthinking,IwanttoeatthisorIneedtoeatthis?
Areyouawareofwhatyouareeatingorareyoujustplowingin
thefoodwhileyoudosomethingelse?
Ifyoureatingroutineisdisrupted,areyouupsetbecauseitsa
changeinhabit,orbecauseyouregenuinelyhungry?

Emotionally
Areyouanxiousorstressed?
Areyouhappyorsad?

Onewaytoapproacheatingmaybetostartwithatypicalmealand
thentuneintohowyoufeelphysically,immediatelyafterandevery
hourafterthatmeal.

Immediatelyaftereating:Ifyouveeatentherightamountfor

optimalhealth,youlllikelyfeelaslightlevelofhunger,butstill

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content.Ittakesabout20minutesforthesatietysignaltogo
fromtheguttothebrain.Thecompositionofamealcan
influencesatiety,soincludereal/wholefoodswithfiber,protein,
andfat(andbalanceomega-6withomega-3).
About60minutesaftereating,youshouldfeelsatisfiedwithno

desiretoeatanotherrealfoodmeal.
Whenyouapproachthe2hourmark,youmaybestartingtofeel
alittlehungry,andcouldprobablyeatsomething,butitsnota
bigdealyet.Ifyouarefeelingquitehungry,youmaynothave
hadenoughfoodorenoughofagiventypeoffoodtoholdyour
satisfaction.
At3to4hours,youshouldbefeelinglikeitsabouttimetoeat

again.Yourhungershouldbestronger,andwillvarydepending
onwhenyouexercisedandwhatyourdailyphysicalactivitylevel
is.Ifyouarenthungryyet,youprobablyhadabittoomuchfood
atyourpreviousmeal.
After4hours,yourelikelyhungryandreadytoeat.Thisiswhen

theImsohungryIcouldeatanythingfeelingkicksin.Ifyou
waitmuchlonger,chancesofmakingaknuckleheadfood
selectiongoesupdramatically.Itsimportanttohavenutritious
andappealingfoodsavailable.

Thereisvariabilitywithallofthis,butgettingtoapointwhereyoure
slightlyhungrybetweenmealsisahealthysign.Ifyouareeating
every2-4hourswithouteverfeelingalevelofhunger,youarelikely
eatingmorethanyouneed.
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ItsOKtobehungrysometimes
Ifyouretryingtogetorstaylean,itsOKandnormaltofeelhungry
occasionally.

Itsimportanttoacceptthisfeelingbecauseitsnotgoinganywhere.
Norwouldthatreallybeagoodthingsincehungerplaysavital
biologicalfunction.

Hungerisnotanemergency.
JudithBeck

Choosetherightfoods
Wedidntevolvewithhighlyprocessedfoods.Thesefoodsconfuse
ournaturalappetitemechanisms.

Eatingadessertonitsownwilloftenincreasethecravingformore.
Itsnotthatyounecessarilyneedmoreprocessedcarbs,justthat
youvetriggeredthebodyintothinkingitwantsmore.Processed
foodstriggerournaturalrewardsystems(think:opioidsand
dopaminereleasedinthebrain)andwewantmore(andmore).

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Unprocessedfoodshelpkeephunger/satietycuesclear,andits
easiertomakeadjustments.Remember,ifyourenothungryenough
toeatbroccoli,youreprobablynothungry.

Incorporateactivityproperly
Regularexercisemakesusmoreefficientatusingbodyfat,which
canhelpbalanceappetite.

Thetypeofactivitycandetermineourappetite.Intenseexercise,
suchasheavyweighttrainingorhigh-intensityintervaltraining,tends
tosuppressappetiteintheshortterm,whilelow-intensity,
endurance-typeactivitytendstostimulateappetite.(Ironically,many
peopledoalotofcardiowhentryingtolosefat,whichcanendup
makingthemmorelikelytoovereat!)

Still,somepeopleplaygameswhenitcomestoexerciseandeating.
Theymightallowthemselvesmorefoodbecausetheyexercised,
regardlessofhungerchanges.Thisrewardsystemcanbefickle
andcreateanegativerelationshipwitheating.Exercisebulimia
occurswhenweengageinacycleofovereatingthenoverexercising
tocompensate.

Practicingyogacanhelpwithmindful/intuitiveeatingandassistin
overallbodysatisfaction.Thismakessensesinceyogicphilosophy

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aimstounifymind,bodyandspirit.

Summaryandrecommendations
Dietingandcognitivecontroloffoodintakemayactuallyleadto
weightgain,disease,anddisorderedeatingpatterns.

Intuitive/mindfuleatinginvolves:

Slowingdownthepaceofeating(e.g.,breakduringbites,
chewingslowly,etc.).
Eatingawayfromdistractions(e.g.,television,books,magazines,
work,computer,driving).
Becomingawareofthebodyshungerandfullnesscuesand
utilizingthesecuestoguidethedecisiontobeginandend
eatingasopposedtofollowingaregimenteddietplan.
Acknowledgingfoodlikesanddislikeswithoutjudgment.
Choosingtoeatfoodthatisbothpleasingandnourishing,and
usingallofthesenseswhileeating.
Beingawareofandreflectingontheeffectscausedbynonmindfuleating(e.g.,eatingwhenboredorlonelyorsad,eating
untiloverlyfull).
Meditationpracticeasapartoflife.

Thegoalofamealistofinishfeeling:

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Betterthanwhenyoustarted
Satisfied
Abletomoveon(notthinkaboutfooduntilyouarehungry
again)
Energytoexerciseandstayactive
Mentalfocus

Eatingtoomuchortoolittlewillresultinvariationsofthenormal
responsesmentionedabove.Thismayinclude:

Lethargy
Fullness
Anxietyorjitters
Lowornervousenergy
Foodcravings,evenwhenphysicallyfull
Headaches
Mentallysluggish
Heavygut
Extremelythirsty

Extracredit
Whattypeofpersonismostlikelytoeatunhealthyfood?A
restrainedeaterdeprivingthemselvesofaforbiddenfood.Thisisthe
psychologicalphenomenonofdisinhibition.Habitualdisinhibition

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inotherwords,regularlyoverridingournaturalfullnesscuesisthe
factormostcloselylinkedtoweightgain.

Thegoalofmindful/intuitiveeatingistomastertheprocessofeating
andnotfocusonweightloss.Fordieters,thistaskisextremely
difficult.

In2006,AmericanIdolcontestantKatharineMcPheetoldthemedia
shewonherbattleagainstbulimiathroughintuitiveeating.Andyes,
thepopularityofintuitiveeatinggrew.

Onestudyfoundthatinfantscrymoreintenselywhenhungrythan
wheninpain.

Thosewhoeatintuitivelynaturallyareslimmerthanthosewhodiet.

Ifhungerdoesnttellyoutostarteating,whattellsyoutostop?

Ifyoueatwhenyourenothungry,youllneverbesatisfied.

Foodisacostlyantidepressant.

Ifyouhaveanydoubtsaboutwhetheryourehungry,youreprobably
not.

Hungerisphysical.Over-eatingispsychological,mental,and

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emotional.

Whenyourtrueneedsareunmet,triggerswillreturnagainand
again.

Deepthoughts

Ilookedatmyhistoryandsawclearlythatdietsand
exercisedidnotworkforme.Iwastryingtochangemy
outsides,whilemyproblemwasinsideIfocusedonmy
emotionalandspiritualdevelopment.Iput10%ofmyenergy
intoeatingand90%intospiritualandemotionalhealing.
WhenIchangedmyfocus,Ifoundmybodywasrestoredto
normalproportionsovertime.IdidntloseweightbecauseI
triedtoloseweight.Weightlossoccurredasaby-productof
workingonotherthings.AllenZadoff
Realhungerissatiatedwithahealthy,moderateamountof
food.Headhungerisinsatiable.AllenZadoff
Ifyoufocusonhowyoufeelasthegoal,ratherthanon
weightloss,youllfind,ironically,thatyoucanthelpbutlose
weight.If,insteadyoucontinuetofocusonweightlossasthe
goal,youllgettiedupintheolddiet-mentalitythinkingand
findthatpermanentweightlossislikeacarrotdanglingon
thatstickinfrontofyouyoureforeverdietingwithout

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reachingthemark.IntuitiveEating

Furtherresources
ToCountorNotToCount

IntuitiveEating

EatingMindfully

EatWhatYouLove,LoveWhatYouEat

ExpertProfile:VictoriaMoran

WhereTheyGrowJunkFood

References
Clickheretoviewtheinformationsourcesreferencedinthisarticle.

Eat,move,andlivebetter.
Thehealthandfitnessworldcansometimesbeaconfusingplace.

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Butitdoesnthavetobe.

Letushelpyoumakesenseofitallwiththisfreespecialreport.

Inityoulllearnthebesteating,exercise,andlifestylestrategies
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