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Old 01-22-2016, 03:45 PM   #1  
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Default Hunger is Psychological, Dieting Only Makes it Worse


Excerpt (annotations are my own):

At the end of all my self-observations and meditations, the time had come to put the theory to a test. I tried a simple formula. First, moderately low-carb. The Atkins and Paleo diet purists would scoff. I reduced my carbohydrate intake by about 90 per cent and in doing so came nowhere near a low-carb diet. I wanted to avoid the super-high death-carb diet that most of us eat most of the time. Second, a little higher fat. I know some people swear by high fat and snack on entire sticks of butter. I donít know what the research is on that kind of thing, but all I wanted was to avoid the extremity of a diet stripped of fat. Third, I could eat as much as I like at each meal. That last proposition was the hardest. When you want to lose weight, itís hard to wrap your mind around the concept of eating more. I simply had to trust a bizarre psychological twist: if I try to eat less, Iíll end up eating more.


And it worked at a slow drip of about two pounds a week, trailing off finally to a much more comfortable weight.


My message is this: your weight is in large measure about your psychology.


Put yourself in a place where your automatic systems can operate correctly. Donít put a plastic bag over your head. Likewise, donít eat the super-high death-carb, low-fat diet. Donít micromanage your brainstem by counting every calorie. You might be surprised at how well your health self-regulates.
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Old 01-30-2016, 07:01 PM   #2  
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I started reading it but stopped when I realized he wasn't citing much. So I skimmed the rest of the essay and found only two citations and, while they are peer-reviewed, the actual studies don't offer much to the author's claims. And since this is only an anecdotal account and not actual research I'm less inclined to read it in its entirety.

I hear a lot of claims on what does and doesn't as far as weight loss. So I decided to only look at real, peer-reviewed research, and ignore the rest. The problem with anecdotal articles like this is they rely only on one person or a small group. There is a vast variety of people and body types out there. Statistically you can't apply a small amount of data to a larger population. That's why I look for studies with a large and diverse population that is qualitative (actual numbers) and not quantitative (self reporting). This helps even out the bias and gives a more standardized view. Unfortunately there isn't much out there as far as that goes.

For example: I could find research that says coffee is good for weight loss. I can then find another that says coffee harms your weight loss. And then even another study will say coffee has no impact on your weight loss. Each of these claims can be statistically true within the context of their study. However this does not make them fact in reality.

Sorry, I'm a nerd and I love research.
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Old 01-31-2016, 02:04 PM   #3  
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I understand that there is such a thing as psychological hunger, but not everyone has that. Some naturally thin people only eat when they experience true hunger. There is real physical hunger when your body runs out of fuel and you need more. We just don't always know the difference.

I think everyone is different in what will help them lose weight and what won't. People can tell you what worked for them, but you have to listen and then figure it out for yourself. The word "diet" in a sense of a weight-loss diet has pretty much disappeared. It is something that you do until you reach your goal weight then you stop. We all know that will end in disaster. The word "diet" actually means what you eat. If you eat only when hungry, stop when satisfied, and eat only nutritious food you will lose weight. But if I knew how to do that I wouldn't have gained all this weight in the first place.
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Old 01-31-2016, 03:45 PM   #4  
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...I think I am going to write an article...the title will be:

Dieting is psychological; Hunger only makes it worse.
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:10 PM   #5  
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Read the title and bullsh!t.

Go for a 5 mile run and tell me that hunger is psychological.


Hunger exists. You just have to eat right when you get it. And not wrong.

And the right for my body in terms of maintaining a healthy weight (or losing) is probably different to yours.

Move on.

Celebrate hunger and just eat right.

Last edited by IanG; 01-31-2016 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 01-31-2016, 08:07 PM   #6  
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...well....I certainly had a few fun thoughts regarding the article; however, especially in the context of eating disorders, I would not want to minimize the impact of psychology on hunger. We all don't deal with hunger (or pain, or other biological process) in the same way, and the spectrum has its extreme ends. Balance and equilibrium.
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Old 02-11-2016, 03:19 AM   #7  
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Zoned out a bit while reading but I find there's a huge psychological component in dieting. So none of the things some studies offer to take the edge off one's physical hunger are any good for me ~ I cannot remember the last time I overate because I was actually hungry when I began. I've overeaten because of being sad, happy, excited, bored, any emotion you can name, often when I was physically full enough to start with.

The solution for me is not to not diet but to have a strict framework, a weekly plan of meals that I can commit to. I'm neither a saint nor a martyr, and there has to be a little wiggle room within it but my psychology responds well to rules and guidelines ~ in most fields of life, to be honest.

As in everything, "whatever works" ~ with the caveat of "first do no harm", of course!!
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:40 PM   #8  
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Loving all the comments guys. I think we can all agree that there is a difference between physical and psychological hunger, and that line is in a different place for each of us as individuals.

I shared this, not to promote ANOTHER 'diet' idea (which is what he concludes with), but to spark a bit of a conversation about how we define hunger, and how we react to it.

Peer reviewed studies and psychological approaches are always important to look at - but at the end of the day, solutions are different for every person.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:17 PM   #9  
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A lot of people don't run 5 miles, IanG I had that experience while cycling long distances. You almost cannot eat back 6 hours of cycling. The hunger!!!

A real hard look at 'What is hunger" would really be something!

I think everyone benefits from examining their own psychological state and food is a great place to start observing - and then slowly changing - our habits. I firmly believe our complexes with food and our bodies have to do with other areas of our life - feeling loved &supported, showing love to others, satisfied with our careers...
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Old 12-26-2016, 11:16 PM   #10  
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I rarely get physically hungry because I usually eat before I ever get to that point. I usually snack because I'm procrastinating from doing something else that I should be doing, but don't enjoy doing. Then I keep eating because I know that when I finish, I'll have to be getting back to my unwanted task! Wow, sounds pretty pathetic. I have to get my act together! I'm going to start doing something that involves portion-control for my meals, and some other procrastination strategy that DOESN'T involve food!
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:44 PM   #11  
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lol not agree with you
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Old 06-28-2020, 10:53 AM   #12  
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Interesting discussion
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