A few weeks ago we talked about mastering hunger and the six hunger types that cause you to eat. There are other elements to consider in addition to this that can create real and substantial change. I write this after just completing two 36 hour fasts over the last week. I found them fairly easy to do which shows what is possible given time.
In 2005, while working near Gatwick in a private personal training studio I remember being so hungry!… All of the time! I used to eat around 8 times a day. I would train 35-40 clients a week and would gulp down a sandwich in the 30 seconds between clients while ‘dying’ of hunger. Fast forward three years and I had massively controlled hunger down to a more normal threshold. Ten years further on again and I had done a 5 day fast where I ate no calories for nearly a week! You do not need to do such extreme fasting but the point of the story is you can master, control and change your body around hunger and food. 
While the six hungers cover all the reasons you or anyone would want to eat, the following elements merit their own special consideration. 
Re-kindle Your Body’s Ability To Not Eat – You are a human, therefore you have an inbuilt ability to not eat food and survive short term and more on-going food shortages and restrictions. This is exactly what would have happened when we were hunter gatherers living at the mercy of mother nature. As a modern adult though, you have probably lost this ability. 
This is a little like what the Ice man Wim Hof, talks about, he says we have lost our innate ability to resist the cold because we wear clothes and live indoors. As it is inbuilt within our system, you need just 10 days of cold exposure (cold showers, ice baths) to train the capillary system to be able to handle the cold once again. I feel not eating is probably on a similar timeline to this to retrain your brain and body. It is important to note that the body and it’s physiology is a large element of this process, it is not just mind over matter. 
Disconnecting Your Hand to Mouth Movements – When I gave up drinking I went to the pub to watch Wales play rugby and to my surprise drunk 6 pints of water during the game… the exact amount I would drink if ‘I was on the beers’. It occurred to me that my arm was acting almost on automatic and this was my drinking speed during a rugby match. I decided for the next game to have no water to see if I could break this pattern. I found it fairly easy to not drink the water that day and I have never gone back to this habit. 
We live in the world of eating regularly to be healthy and drinking your water every hour to optimise hydration. While there is plenty of merit to this advice, it also supports the problematic habit of continually moving your hand near your mouth. Eventually healthy snacks become high calorie treats and water becomes a beverage, much of it powered by simple habitual arm to mouth automation. If you break this pattern, you may just find it solves a good portion of your hunger and eating problems. 
Disconnecting Eye to Mouth Patterns – Another problem we have is how what you see can create an instant desire or hunger for food. We still believe that most of our hunger is based on a genuine desire of food but in reality a large percentage is simply what your brain makes up after seeing something it likes. It is important to not impulsively react to any visual stimulus of food, or to build it up in your mind. The massively popular ‘food porn’ Instagram pages are testament to the mind and the desire it can evoke. 
Another form of this is the tendency to finish everything on your plate, regardless of hunger. This “clean plate” mentality is often ingrained from childhood and most people will push through a host of ‘I have had enough food thanks’ signals to get to the promised land of a clean plate. 
Both of these methods can easily be readapted through a few simple tasks such as pre planning meals for a short period of time or leaving a little bit any time you consume something. 
Disconnecting Social to Mouth Responses –  Social situations you could argue are another form of eye to mouth to connection. Some people are unable to not join in when others are eating or drinking, this of course leads to a huge increase in times and events you feel a desire to eat because you are at the mercy of other people’s habits. Like the previous connections this is also a simple, neural based behaviour patterns and as such can be broken over time with a surprisingly few number of targeted reps and practice behaviours. 
Using Carb Re-feeds for Hormone Support – While I spend a lot of time talking about non nutritional or biological causes of hunger there are of course genuine food and biology based hunger desires. If you have lost a fair bit of body fat previously, or currently in an agreesive calorie deficit you will begin to run into some potential issues around your hunger hormones. 
Incorporating carbohydrate re-feeds can help manage hunger hormones and support long-term fat loss. Bodybuilders have been doing this for a long time and I used it very well to lose over 70kg for my various body building shows. The key element here is ensuring you have high carbs in a re-feed and not high amounts of fat. Much of the foods people call carbs have more fat in them than carbs, e.g. pizza, chocolate. Some studies have shown that short term carb only overfeeding by 5000+ calories leads to very little to no fat gain. The high carbohydrate intake restocks your liver and muscle glycogen while rapidly influencing your hunger hormones Leptin and Ghrelin positively.
What Does This Mean For You?
Mastering hunger and eating habits involves more than just understanding the types of hunger. It’s about reprogramming your body and mind to break unhelpful habits and form healthier ones. By rekindling your body’s ability to handle not eating, disconnecting automatic food to mouth patterns and strategically using carb re-feeds, you can gain greater control over your eating habits and improve your relationship with food. These steps can lead to more sustainable and enjoyable weight management and overall health. The only missing element is emotional based eating which I will delve into in a future newsletter. 


Photo –  I have signed up to the Essex games in September and Hyrox Pro in Poland so I’m back on the heavy sled push and the Friday Hyrox fitness group, we have had 5 new people down in the last two weeks, all ability levels are catered for so come down!



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