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Do you know the difference between hunger and cravings?

Written by: Mario Ashley, MBA

Whether you give into hunger or cravings it has the same overall effect….and it’s over-eating. Sometimes that’s based on a physiological necessity (hunger) to eat more and sometimes its a psychological response (craving) that we want to be aware of.

Here’s how you can spot the difference between hunger and cravings:

EMOTIONAL EATING
We all have certain foods that make us feel good when we eat them. They bring up memories of our found childhood. These comfort foods have a smell and flavor profile to them that lights up our memory centers in our brain. Cravings usually conjure up visions of a specific food whereas hunger goes for whatever is in sight. Most often, when emotions are high, we eat these foods as cravings. These are also the foods that are holding us back from getting the body composition results we desperately want and need.

CALORIC DEFICIT
If you are on a calorie deficit diet of any kind (Paleo, Weightwatchers, Macros, etc) you will find yourself hungry very often. The entire principle of weight loss is to consume less food (than you normally eat) in order to expend more calories in the form of physical exercise or daily activity. You need to recognize and expect that these hunger pains will come. Just keep telling yourself its temporary. Here are some hunger hacks that may help.

SUGAR LEVELS
When most people go on diets they start to eat healthier foods including more vegetables, and lean meats and less processed food and sugar. The immediate consequence is that your blood sugar drops. Normally, low blood sugar causes your body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine. Epinephrine is responsible for craving symptoms and shakiness. Think of it like this, cravings come from the head, hunger comes from the stomach.

MEAL TIMING
The longer you wait to eat, the more hungry you will feel going into your next meal. Unlike cravings, hunger comes on gradually. Which is why I’m not a big proponent of intermittent fasting (I.F.) without calorie tracking. I get many clients who say they tried I.F. but didn’t lose weight. Of course, they didn’t lose weight it’s because they ended up eating more calories in one meal doing I.F. than they do normally in an entire day without I.F. This is also why I will snack before dinner so I don’t go to the restaurant ravenous.

What training for “function” really means

Written By: Mario Ashley, MBA

As trainers, I’m guilty of it myself, we talk about how our training program promotes exercises that are “transferable” but we don’t really go into detail as to what that actually means. From my 8 years of experience as a gym owner and 12 years as a personal trainer here is how I’ve come to understand transferability…

I understand transfer to mean an improvement in the following:

Transfer to everyday living
At the most basic level, functional movements produce a capacity to make life easier. Functional movements provide a quality of life you would not have otherwise. If you don’t believe me just ask the individual in the nursing home struggling to squat themselves off a chair. The fitter you are the less this is an issue in your life. Although I know many young males who can’t raise their arms overhead without squinting in pain. This too will become problematic over time if not taken care of.

Transfer to similar movements (muscular)
In training, we believe functional movements have the ability to translate into more advanced movements of similar fashion. The air squat is a non-loaded barbell squat. The KB Deadlift is similar to the barbell Deadlift. This series of progressions from least advanced to most advanced provides a protocol all trainers can use to develop mastery of the most complex movements.

Transfer to similar time domains (physiological)
Movements aren’t the only thing that can be transferred. The muscle doesn’t care whether you train with a bar or a band. The muscle knows no difference. Thirty pounds of resistance is thirty pounds of resistance regardless of the tool. The transferability of functional movement training is that using movements for cardiovascular training has the same benefits as traditional cardio training with the benefits of strength, power, and speed of weightlifting. Training 1-minute intervals transfer into 1-minute intervals of like motor patterns.

Transfer to a sport (ultimate demand)
At the most elite level, athletes training in the gym to become better athletes. The idea is that becoming bigger, faster, stronger will translate to becoming a better athlete. Functional movements provide that opportunity by attempting to mimic the movements, time domains, and requirements of their respective sport. This is not to neglect the skill specific training required to be a great athlete. It is not a coincidence that the age at which kids are training for sport is getting younger and younger.

Here’s why you should check your weight daily

My wife and I have been dieting for approximately 3 weeks by tracking our caloric intake. As of late, we made it a habit to weigh ourselves every morning before breakfast. For my wife in particular, some days she loses as little as a few ounces, sometimes she loses up to a pound!

This morning she was up 6oz!! Needless to say, she wasn’t happy.

I had to quickly remind her that the scale isn’t always going to drop. And that’s okay. She did everything right yesterday and that’s all that matters.

Trying to figure out how she gained those 6oz is a pointless endeavor as there are so many variables that may have caused that including; fluid intake, activity levels, metabolism, hormones, high sodium foods, etc. I told her that what mattered most was that on average she was still losing weight and that’s what we needed to stay focused on.

Instead, I reminded her to stick to the process and remain positive.

As much as I was giving her a pep talk the information I was giving her was backed by research.  Not only does weighing in every day provide consistency, it provides motivation for making healthy choices. Researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered that people who got on the scale every day lost twice as much weight as those who weighed themselves less often. Their assumption was that monitoring helps keep ones mind on health and prevents weight denial and bad food choices.

They might want to add that it helps makes stronger marriages!

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