Picture this: you’ve been eating healthy and everything was going along well. Even the numbers on the bathroom scales made you smile.
But suddenly you start having days when you are sooo hungry you could eat a day’s worth of food in one sitting.
Once in a while, that’s totally normal and we just roll with it.
We’ve all been there. Especially before a period, when the munchies arrive.
But if this happens regularly, you might be wondering how to get back to eating standard portion sizes that used to keep you satisfied.
What on earth could be the reason for this sudden hunger spike?
One of the reasons can be your weight loss.
Weight Loss can increase our hunger hormones and decrease satiety hormones.
It’s one way your body signals to you to start eating more to regain lost fat reserves.
And sometimes it even appears as if we might have a ‘set’ weight that our body doesn’t like to fall below.
You might break through it for a couple of days and start celebrating. But alas, often it’s short-lived.
And before you know it, you’re back to that previous ‘set’ weight you were so happy to leave behind.
Although researchers are trying to work out the theory of ‘set-point weight’, there’s no scientific proof that it exists. On the other hand, it is supported by many observational studies, including my own experiences.
There are even experts who noticed that eventually, in some cases, the normal body set point keeps slowly adjusting upward. 😲
Senior Exercise Physiologist Carol Harrison says; “The set point theory says that the body will settle at a specific weight where it likes to be and it will work hard to defend itself so that it stays there. Why? Because your body is wired to regain weight”
That sounds depressing! But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
We can alter our weight destiny! 💪
Here’s what experts recommend:
It can be done using time [patience], support, and a few tweaks.
1) Lose weight gradually [no starvation type dieting!]
This allows your body to adjust to the new circumstances. It is theorized that eventually, your body will ‘get‘ that your new lower weight is permanent and will try to keep you there instead.
“Your body can adjust to the new food intake level,” says Ms.Harrison. “Those systems like nutrient intake, hormone levels, and neurotransmitters have had a chance to make slow adaptations, so the set point of your body can change.”
Some fitness gurus suggest ‘cycling’ or alternating your calories and carbs levels on a two-weekly or monthly basis to prevent increased hunger hormones to be activated.
This would mean creating a calorie deficit for a certain period only and using a maintenance plan during the next cycle.
2) Eat a nutritionally balanced diet.
Include high fibre carbs, protein-rich plant foods, and some good fats. If you don’t, your body will signal you to eat more so it can replenish its nutrients.
For instance, if you eat only ever eat raw foods, you could miss out on certain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Although we should eat raw foods each and every day, no matter what the outside temperature is, they also contain some anti-nutrients. Think spinach, cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, etc. By lightly cooking these vegetables you can reduce their antinutrient content.
They can hinder mineral absorption which may mean that eventually, you’ll start feeling tired and you’ll get cravings and …..you begin to eat more.
And did you know that cooking can actually enhance some nutrients in certain vegetables?
To break down the cell walls and release more antioxidants, from time to time do include cooked varieties of tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, asparagus, celery, green beans, red bell pepper, and kale.
So let’s get the best of both worlds: let’s eat a ‘mixed’ diet: both cooked and raw. 😋
3) Eat a variety of foods.
To prevent deficiencies, don’t omit entire food groups, like whole grains, starchy carbs, legumes or good fats, etc. [See portion suggestions in our Vegan Weight Loss Café on Facebook]
The takeaway message for avoiding getting back to your perceived set point weight is the importance of being aware of the potential pitfalls.
“If you make it only about eating fewer calories and doing more exercise, you will likely miss something that could be the key to maintaining a healthy weight for you,” says Harrison.
And perhaps the most important thing is to acknowledge that you’re in this for the long haul. So you better sit back for the ride and don’t beat yourself up if sometimes you fall off the wagon. There are 21 main meals per week. If one or two were not as helpful as they should have been, no worries. You have 19-20 more meals to set it right!