"I love feeling famished and like I'm going to pass out!" said no one — ever. If you're on the quest to drop pounds, you might be gearing up for constant hunger pangs and feelings of deprivation. But does it have to be this way? Is feeling hungry essential to losing weight?
We turned to Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of the New York Times bestselling book
Mild to moderate hunger doesn't mean feeling starved, light-headed, or hungry all day, so you should never skip meals or dip below 1,200 daily calories. Cynthia assures us that "this pattern of hunger is normal, and it's a good way to know that you're in balance." It helps prevent the habit of overeating, so you're no longer feeding the extra pounds you're trying to shed. But it also helps avoid under-eating, which starves the lean tissue you need to nourish, and can cause ravenous hunger that leads to bingeing. Cynthia adds, "If you're always hungry, you're not eating enough, which could, in turn, trigger a breakdown of calorie–burning muscle, slow down your metabolism, and compromise your immune system."
Hunger definitely has a piece in the weight-loss puzzle, and it'll take time to play around with your diet to figure out how much you need in order to feel hungry at mealtimes and satisfied afterward. If you're not used to feeling hungry, this will also take some adjustment, but take it as a sign that lets you know your body is using up the calories you're consuming instead of holding on to them. That natural feeling of hunger a few times a day could be the missing key to unlock the new slimmer you.