If you ever find yourself in the place where you feel like you are constantly absolutely starving for food and you simply can’t think of anything but what you are going to eat next, this article is the one for you.
Trust me, I’ve been there. You wake up hungry; you eat a breakfast larger than you ever do; yet, you’re still on pins and needles hungry waiting for lunch, only to eat a larger lunch than normal and find yourself no less satisfied than when you started…
When You Can’t Get Enough
And on it goes all day into you fall into bed, starving, disgusted with the day and dying for tomorrow’s breakfast. It’s miserable, it’s depressing and it’s downright frustrating.
When I get to this stage, for whatever reason, there’s usually only one cure that works for me. I call it the One Food at a Time Eating Plan. I don’t call it a diet, simply because the goal here is not weight loss (though it can be, if you decide to cut your calorie intake as well), it’s simply to retrain hunger cues and eat naturally.
What This Looks Like
This is the simplest idea you’ve ever heard of, probably so much so that you’ll laugh at me. But, when you get to this point, you need to pick a food (yes, just ONE) that you’re going to eat for 7 days straight. I suggest picking something that’s really high in fiber and as high in protein as you can find, but more important this time around is the protein.
My personal favorite is plain oatmeal. I usually buy the instant packets of just oats, nothing added. Other options include the high fiber whole grain tortilla wraps, high fiber whole grain pancakes/waffles, etc. You get the idea.
If you want, you can combine two things to make one “item,” say one egg and one piece of toast. That’s fiber and protein. But, in my mind, I have more luck with this diet picking one food only and sticking with it. Don’t pick a food you love, because you don’t want to ruin it forever.
Also, the idea is not to eat a lot, so obviously, picking something like “pizza” as your one food is an absolute no go. The blander and plainer, the better. Think whole foods. Nothing added, or at least not much.
Why It Works
You can only eat so much of one food at any given time, especially when it’s this type of food. You may love toast, but after 6 pieces of it, pretty sure you’ll have enough for that meal. And, the best part is that the more days that go by, the less and less you will want that piece of toast, until gradually, your appetite naturally starts to curb itself.
By day 5, you will find yourself far, far less hungry than you have been in ages. By day 7, you’ll likely have to gag down your toast.
But this works for one simple reason: when you’ve hit that point, you’re eating because you’re really hungry, and you have been training yourself to eat only when honestly hungry. When you were in that stage of starvation, you were eating because you felt hungry, not because your body necessarily needed that food. Right? Right. Because you knew that two weeks prior you were full off of a 400 calorie breakfast and had been for ages, suddenly now an 800 calorie breakfast won’t cut it. That’s a feeling of hunger, not sincere hunger. It just takes some simple re-training to re-boot your hunger cues.
When to Stop
I don’t suggest going any longer than 7 days. At this point, you need nourishment and your food coming in from a variety of sources, that’s just common sense and healthy. You’ll also be choking down your one food at this point and, in my experience, should have successfully curbed your appetite and re-trained your hunger cues.
How to Stop
How to stop is crucial to this plan. Don’t go on an all-out free-for-all on day 8 or you’ll likely undo all the good you just did. Gradually (emphasized!) add back in other foods, tending towards the whole food side, as in a protein, a fruit, a vegetable. Not a casserole or a piece of pizza or a piece of cake.
If you were cutting calories while doing this (not necessary unless you wanted to), your body has likely been in a bit of starvation mode, so overloading it now can trigger it to take that sudden influx of food and store it as fat incase you try another diet. That’s the last thing you want to do.
Your goal, bottom line, should be: normal eating. Eating when hungry, till satisfied and then moving on. End of story. When you feel confident for a couple days of reintroducing a few more foods and are sure that your appetite truly has been reset, than go back to your usual, healthy eating pattern. And, of course: enjoy eating without that constant starvation again!
About the author: Freelancer Jocelyn is passionate about healthy living, especially when it comes to living. She’s on the constant lookout for ways to simplify her eating and improve her health. When not writing about food, she writes for her company Air & Water and encourages the use of eco-friendly heaters for home.