Hungry Days

(I wrote this submission last week, on an especially hungry day. Mercifully, I haven’t had one since then. I embarked on a 60-day challenge yesterday to clean up my diet act…so I’m doing what I can to keep these to a minimum.)

platter of foodYou have them. I know you do. I have them, too. Hungry days.

Hungry days are those days during which your appetite seems insatiable. You eat, you eat, you eat — and you want more.

For me, it often follows a day or two after a long training or following a poor night’s sleep (lack of sleep causes your body to decrease production of the hormone for satiety and increases the one for hunger.) Other hormones are also a factor – ladies, you know what I mean.

18 miles on Thursday, plus a 4am wake up call yesterday and 4:30 am today….I’m due.

But, how do you deal with them?

I say – give in – sometimes your body just wants the fuel. Some hungry days any food will do – so it’s just extra good healthy, whole options – like double the oatmeal in the morning, extra scoops of peanut butter with fruit, or an extra lunch. Those days are OK.

Then there are hungry days where no amount of healthy will do. And, I’ve tried to overcome these unhealthy cravings by overeating the healthy foods – and then eat the junk on top of it. So, for me, the solution has been give your body what it’s craving and be done with it. Or, on a hungry day – go to bed early.

Some days, I’m sure I set myself up for failure. Today, for example, I started with a whole grain bagel with cream cheese. Mind you I never eat a bread bomb like that in the morning and no protein – so when I took the kids to Chick-fil-a a few hours later…I was HUNGRY. I wanted a milkshake, but refrained and stuck to nuggets and fries…even though I knew the salad was a better choice, but was sure it’d leave me wishing for something else. Plus, I didn’t want a salad.

But now, I’m starving again….and torn. Continue down the road of eat-the-house…or make a smart selection. A smart selection sounds less-than-appealing, however. Plus, I’m afraid it too will leave me starving and raiding the pantry for extra chocolate chips and the freezer for gelato.

My strategy? Let it go – relax and let my body have what it wants today. Yes, sometimes it’s about willpower and being smart, but sometimes it’s about not stressing the small stuff. Of course, multiple hungry days could have a serious effect on my health and energy – but my body is tired today, and it wants nourishment. I’ll let it have it.

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