This is huge. Most people associate hunger with progress when they're trying to lose fat. And can you blame them? A lot of fitness experts still assert that you can't possibly get lean unless you get used to enduring hunger. This is bull.
So naturally, it leads people to think they're doing a good job at dieting when they skip meals, or avoid eating for long periods of time. And then when they do finally eat, they're so hungry that they overcompensate for the calories they omitted in the first place.
Then the next morning, when they wake up still full from the night before, they skip more meals and pat themselves on the back for being strict. Then the evening binge-fest begins again.
Okay okay fine, this isn't always the case. While it's possible for some people to skip meals and stay lean, it's definitely not a strategy that works for everyone. If it did, there wouldn't be so many studies on obese breakfast-skippers. And if skipping meals makes you insatiably hungry then it's probably not the right strategy for you.
The Problem With Insatiable Hunger
When your hunger is insatiable, you'll do anything to stop feeling it... and that means throwing caution to the wind and eating anything you can.
I first started fiddling around with intermittent fasting in 2009. I remember doing middle of the day fasts (skipping lunch), then at some point moving onto skipping both breakfast and lunch. It felt so hardcore and edgy to be going against the current and not eating. And while I was neither fat nor lean back then, I did have a chronically puffy face.
I actually thought that was just the shape of my face. Luckily it wasn't, and I now refer to what I had as "binge-face."
But I'm no anomaly. My intermittent fasting was essentially intermittent binging, and it's not an uncommon situation. Anytime someone talks about this scenario, other people pipe up and say, "Hey, same thing happened to me!"
Does My Story Sound Like Yours?
IF advocates will tell us we did it wrong. We weren't smart enough about not eating, and it's our fault that we screwed it up. But I don't think we're the mentally weak, bumbling idiots they'd like to think we are. People who worship their fasting routines (which are usually not intermittent, by the way) will never admit that it's just a bad choice for certain people.
And for me, it was a hellish cycle that I couldn't get out of because I thought meal skipping was the "right" thing to do if you're not truly hungry. But because I'd gotten used to overriding feelings of both hunger and fullness, I no longer knew when to eat and when to stop.
And you can't blame the food I ate. It was sensible, mostly lower carb, meat, nuts, vegetables, etc. Sure, it was often higher calorie, but not your typical junk food.
You might still want to argue and say that we're all different and my experience isn't everyone's experience, and that's a valid point. But I do still recommend that no matter what you do with your food, don't allow your hunger to get to insatiable levels. And certainly never get there on a regular basis.
Fat loss can happen – believe it or not – without a lot of hunger. For more on this read what Dr. Jade Teta says about keeping your HEC (hunger, energy, cravings) in check.