Tactic: Embrace the Hunger

The US Marines have a saying: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

I thought it was a weightlifter thing. Regardless, it can be right some of the time. I have my own version of this for dropping weight:

“Hunger is weight leaving the body.”

A lot of the time, dropping weight is about hunger management. There are lots of tips on how to stave off hunger (e.g. by snacking on nuts), or how to avoid it altogther (e.g. eat a big breakfast). This absolutely helps. If you prevent the hunger from coming, then you can keep yourself from overeating.

But sometimes, hunger is unavoidable. Eating less will make you hungry. And when hunger does strike, you'll have two choices: give in and eat something, or embrace the hunger.

Embracing the Hunger

People who lift weights talk about “the burn”. The burn is a sensation in the muscles caused by lactic acid buildup. This buildup is the result of the muscle workout. In moderate amounts, “the burn” can be a pleasant feeling, likely because you know it means your muscles are getting better and stronger because of it.

For people dropping weight, hunger is the equivalent of the burn. In moderate amounts, it can be a pleasurable sensation as well. (At least, that's what I tell myself.) When I am hungry, I know it means that I will be dropping some weight. I enjoy knowing this, and therefore I embrace it.

Case in point: I am super hungry right now. I've barely eaten anything all day. But as uncomfortable as it is, I'm happy to feel this way because I know that I'm dropping weight. I also know that I'll be able to eat happily tomorrow morning (or maybe the day after).

Hunger Can be Good

Most have probably heard of the line that Steve Jobs used in a commencement speech he gave at Stanford: “stay hungry, stay foolish”. He was talking about ambition and idealism.

I think the line can also be applied literally: stay hungry. When you're hungry, food tastes better. When you're hungry, you are losing weight. The world today is mostly designed to make people overweight. Stay hungry to keep an edge and stay healthy.