If you have ever dieted before, you’ve experienced hunger. But, there are many different types of “hunger” and there different reasons for feeling hungry.
One thing I have learned lately, is my hunger and cravings haven been more than just a sign of being low in calories. They were a sign of missing nutrients. After I changed my nutrition this year and started making superfoods a part of my daily diet, I noticed a huge shift in my cravings and hunger. Although I am still low on calories in order to lose weight, I noticed I’m not as hungry as I normally am when I’m dieting. The only conclusion I could come up with that makes sense is that my body isn’t starving for nutrients so it’s not starving for food.
Macros and Micros Defined
“Macronutrients are energy-providing chemical substances consumed by organisms in large quantities. The three macronutrients in nutrition are carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.” Defined by Study.com
“Micronutrients are dietary components, often referred to as vitamins and minerals, which although only required by the body in small amounts, are vital to development, disease prevention, and wellbeing. Micronutrients are not produced in the body and must be derived from the diet.” Defined by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
Sadly, most people are overfed but malnourished. We eat a ton of food lacking real nutrition. This is even true when we diet. We limit calories while trying to get all the macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) we need to reshape our body, but the more we cut calories the more we are also cutting essential micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from our diet. As a result, our body yells at us to get more food, so we can get more nutrients. That yelling is the hunger we feel.
Since most people don’t realize what their body is really telling them, they go fill their belly up with more food, without any thought to what they are actually feeding their body. This would also explain why people who have a weight issue are constantly battling hunger if they aren’t getting proper nutrition. They aren’t starving, they are starving better nutrients. They eat more food lacking in the right nutrients, so the vicious cycle continues.
Deficiencies Linked to Obesity
Carlton Nutrition explain it like this; “Obesity is deceptive. Although obese people may appear well fed, they are often deficient in essential nutrients, leading to poor health and disease. The list of micronutrient deficiencies associated with overweight/obesity includes vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, B12 C, D, E, K, calcium, chromium, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, omega-3, alpha-lipoid acid and CoQ10. These all play a role as essential cofactors in proper carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism, and in assisting neurotransmitters and other hormones in regulating hunger.”
We also see this in the underfed (AKA: Dieters). Both types of people can be malnourished. Ironically, since most overweight people attempt dieting at some point and time, it is almost a double wammy. They start a diet already malnourished, and continue to stay malnourished, but now they are also not getting the calories they were used to. The end result is a very hangry dieter and a hangry dieter often turns into a rebounder; falling off the wagon yet once again.
Less Food, More Nutrition
“A lot of people concerned about good nutrition are just watching for what they can’t eat — whether it’s fat, or sugar, or whatever,” says Tara Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
I’ll be honest. I have lived with the illusion of being healthy and eating healthy because I eat whole foods and workout. Quite honestly, I was in that group Tara Gidus was talking about. I thought I was eating healthy simply because I avoided unhealthy foods most of the time. All the while, I was not getting all the healthy foods and nutrients my body needed.
I have found it is nearly impossible for me to get all the nutrition I need in whole foods and maintain the weight I want to maintain. And, with soil that has been so overused, and many of our fruits and vegetables being grown without all the nutrients they need, it makes it even harder to get everything we need from produce.
Unless you plan on growing all your own stuff or going completely organic (which can get expensive quick!), you probably will need to supplement. (Below is a great infographic on what is required for healthy produce and a healthy life).
Fill In The Nutritional Blanks
While I’ve always encouraged our clients to take a really good vitamin pack when they are dieting, as we have always known they need that support more than ever, I’ve never really experienced the positive affects of what quality nutrition can do you for you until just this year.
Of course I am still learning, but I can see a huge difference in my body’s health, energy, mind clarity, mood, digestion and cravings – and it’s all because I’m focusing more on getting the micronutrition I need for my healthy while sticking to my caloric budget and macros I need to reshape my body.
If you are working to lose weight, I can’t encourage you enough to invest in good nutrition – from getting the proper macro nutrition as well as quality micronutrition. You don’t need good nutrition to lose weight, but good nutrition can sure make losing weight so much, easier, healthier and happier.
I know it’s easy to focus on the outside (believe me! I’ve done it for all my life), but don’t neglect what your body needs on the inside. It could change your life forever, like it has changed mine. #slowlearner #ishouldknowbetter 🙂