Ok, so this is Part 2 – basically a follow up – to what originally was meant to be a stand alone article – It’s Simple But It’s Not Easy. Turns out that as much as it was liked by many, it wasn’t by some others. Such is the nature of not being able to please everyone. I think some points needed a bit more fleshing out and clarification as I assumed that most would ‘get’ what I was saying.
First off, let me clarify the audience. While much of what I say can be applied to anyone trying to drop bodyfat, the term ‘enviable physique’ for me represents a very lean physique. Not just average by normative standards (ie. not overweight/fat). Additionally, the main point was in the title – simple, but not easy. And as I clarified, the physiology of fat loss is simple, the psychology often is not. (although one is not entirely separate from the other).
Let’s address the issue of my saying “it’s supposed to be hard”. The word, “hard” is a word of degree. Hard relative to what? Harder than what? Quite simply, this is just another way of saying, don’t be surprised if it’s not easy. Why? Because it’s not easy. If it were so easy then there wouldn’t be so many overweight people, there wouldn’t be so many fad diets created with quick, unrealistic promises, there wouldn’t be so many fat-loss supplements marketed by supplement companies who basically are selling you hope in a bottle.
It’s a part of dieting. I say to accept it. Sure, you don’t have to accept it, but it’s going to come anyway, whether you accept it or not. Is hunger synonymous with starving? Of course not. Again, it’s simply another way of saying, don’t be surprised if you get hungry. Does that mean that you shouldn’t look for methods to minimize the hunger? Of course not. Is eating in a caloric deficit the only time anyone gets hungry? Of course not. There are phases even in a deficit where you’re not hungry, but on the average, the leaner you get, and the longer you diet, the more your body is going to get pissed off at you and the more hunger is going to pop up. It’s normal. Or rather, it’s not abnormal. That’s my point. Accept that it’s going to happen – again, that is to say don’t be surprised when you get hungry when you start eating less than you habitually were for a prolonged period of time. Should be pretty much common sense.
To offer some scientific support, remember that human bodyweight is regulated – completely undebatable – and the Captain of the Regulatory team is the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus responds to change in bodyweight and bodyfat . What happens when bodyweight and bodyfat decrease? The hormones downstream are affected in such a way that … yep, hunger and appetite increase. Why? In an effort to stabilize your bodyweight. Anyone who denies they’re not more hungry eating less the longer they diet and the leaner they get is lying to you. Note – I didn’t say people are only hungry when they’re dieting.. I said dieting is generally associated with increases in hunger and appetite. Another way of saying once again, don’t be surprised when you get hungry.
And another key point, and here is where that lovely word context comes in – we’re talking about achieving an ‘enviable physique’. Not just not being overweight. Not just having a part of you in shape. Enviable. Now the phrase ‘enviable physique’ is admittedly subject to interpretation, so I’ll offer up some additional context – I’m referring to being very lean, low bodyfat; let’s just call it the bodyfat levels of a physique competitor.
So the degree to which the above happens is largely determined by how lean you are. Obviously the leaner you are, the more your body can end up royally pissed off at you and the more the regulatory hormones respond in a negative fashion. End result? MORE HUNGRY. Again, we’re not talking about being ‘not fat’. We’re talking about low bodyfat.
If you say you’re never hungry and you’ve been dieting for a while, you’re either not anywhere near lean, or you’re lying. If you’ve adopted hunger-fighting strategies, you were still hungry, otherwise you wouldn’t have had to adopt any strategies to fight it off. And note, nowhere did I say that we shouldn’t look for strategies to alleviate hunger. That should be obvious as well. If you can find ways to alleviate the degree of hunger you’re experiencing, by all means, provided it’s not a bag of cookies, put it in practice.
It’s a physiological fact that increased hunger and appetite is associated with falling bodyfat, lowered calories, etc.
Hard. Back to that for a minute.
Actually, more next time.