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If your sleep is of good quality, hunger will not wake you up

Thomas Secrest's picture
Good sleep and weight loss

Weight loss is often about hunger management and in the most recent article we looked at several ways to control hunger and keep it from getting the best of us.

In today’s article we will continue with this theme and look at some more ways of keeping hunger at bay.

I must remind you that these tips only work for modest calorie reductions. If you try to lose weight too quickly they will not work and hunger will quickly put an end to your diet.

Recall that our main goal is to create an absorptive state with the smallest increases in insulin production by the pancreas. We want to avoid big surges, because they are always followed by big crashes. And big crashes lead to hunger.

Links to all previous articles in the series are at the bottom of the page.

To achieve this we want to make a modest reduction in our caloric intake to get it below our BASELINE. Once this is done we need to look carefully at the sources of calories for each meal we eat. Then we want to reconstruct the meal with:

  • More protein
  • A bit more healthy fat – although this depends on how much fat was present to begin with
  • Reduced simple carbohydrates
  • Increased complex carbohydrates

This arrangement will produce the smallest increase in insulin and prevent you from going deeply into the absorptive state. Additionally, it will slow the digestion of your food and curb your hunger. As long as your body is very slowly absorbing nutrients from your meal, it will also be sending out signals to your brain that you are not hungry.

Once your fully enter the post-absorptive state, the hunger signal intensity will start to climb and the longer your remain in the post-absorptive state the more intense the signal will become. On the plus side, your body burns more fat while in the post-absorptive state.

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Now you may be thinking you’ve heard of this diet trick before. This is where the 6 or 7 small meals idea came from. As you can see, it is a double edge sword. It prevents you from getting real, REAL hungry, but it shortens the time you spend in the post-absorptive state. It is also VERY, VERY important that these 6 or 7 meals don’t add up to over your desired daily calorie intake – it is easy for the meals to be too big and too often.

However, if this plan can work for you, you should try it. Even though you spend less time in the post-absorptive state, the small insulin production during the absorptive states offsets the imbalance and overall you burn more fat calories per day.

How can we get the most out of our post-absorptive state?

It turns out that our longest period of uninterrupted post-absorptive state occurs during our sleep. The extra nice part is that we are rarely hungry while we sleep and if your sleep is of good quality, hunger will not wake you up.

So how can we maximize this post-absorptive state? You probably have heard this diet trick also, don’t eat after 6 or 7 pm. If you last meal meets the criteria mentioned above, it should take you all the way to bedtime without feeling hungry. If you are like most people, you’re not hungry when you first get up; in fact for many people, the morning is often when they are least hungry. That means you are in the post-absorptive state for a whopping 12 hours or a little more.

Nonetheless, you still need to eat breakfast. If you try going all the way to lunch you will be too hungry and you will likely eat too many calories for lunch. This part of the diet is always difficult. Our daily lives don’t always allow us to eat at the exact time we should eat, that is, just after hunger starts. We are often forced to wait until our jobs offer us a time to eat.

You MUST take control of when you eat -- DON'T let you job dictate your weight!

Each person will need to create a plan to handle this. You mustn’t let your job destroy your weight loss plan. You have to figure out ways to snack or eat at times that benefit you most. It take a little effort, but it's not all that hard to do.

You need to figure out when your body wants breakfast and you need to eat, something, at that time. Remember, we want it to meet the criteria mentioned above, so you may have to plan this carefully. The same is true for each of your meals during your working day. Don’t let your job ruin your diet.

Tomorrow will be the last weight loss article in this series. The topic will be the benefits of adding exercise to your diet. Even if not every day or even if it is not overly intense, exercise will let you maximize your weight loss. It gives you more bang for the buck than anything else.