The best way to suppress your appetite:
- Eat breakfast.
- Eat a snack.
- Eat lunch.
- Eat a snack.
- Eat dinner.
- Eat a snack.
And any time in between, if you happen to feel hungry, you can knock it out immediately by…wait for it…eating something!
If there’s one thing I hate with a fiery passion, it’s diet culture.
By now, we’ve all seen that advertisement from Kim Kardashian for “appetite suppressing” lollipops, and oh, how the controversy has been sparked. As someone who’s in treatment right now for anorexia nervosa, you can bet your bottom dollar that I have an opinion.
And my opinion is that the entire concept of dieting, suppressing appetite, and restricting calorie intake is counter-intuitive and will only damage your health and quality of life in the long term.
Let’s think about this biologically, shall we?
The human body is incredulously smart. Our minds are constantly sending and receiving signals from the rest of the body; its how we know to squint when it’s too sunny, to excuse ourselves to the bathroom, to close our eyes when it’s time to go to sleep.
Food, like water and oxygen, is a basic biological need. Your body requires food to function and to repair. If you were to “suppress” your breathing reflex, your body would eventually break down, you’d stop holding your breath, and you suck in a few huge breaths to make up for that air that you missed out on.
Suppressing your appetite will work in exactly the same way. You can go a little longer without eating, sure. But a state of deprivation is not sustainable and eventually, in its desperate attempt to survive without delving into its valuable storage systems, your body is going to start sending ridiculously strong hunger cues, and the chances of bingeing will skyrocket.
Like machines, our bodies thrive off of consistency. Eating throughout the day, starting with breakfast when you wake up and ending with a snack before bed, will give your body constant energy to run off of. When your body learns this regimen, it will begin to trust you, and you will see an increase in metabolism. Eating keeps you healthy, and there is no diet, no cleanse, and no authentic way around that.
The society that we live in is constantly perpetuating the myth that it is your body type, not your habits, that make you healthy; and that somehow, food is the evil entity that will keep you from being in shape. And if you’re “in shape”, you’ll be happier, more popular, more respected, more confident.
This is frighteningly far from the reality.
Last spring, I had finally achieved my ideal “fit” body. I had abs, my muscles popped. I was always being told how strong and athletic I looked.
But the truth is, I didn’t feel strong and athletic. I felt exhausted. My once-in-a-lifetime spring break trip to Hawaii was overshadowed by constant thoughts of what I was going to eat next, how I could manipulate a menu to be “healthy” enough, what time I was going to get up the next morning to run in the scorching heat. Every bite I took had to be calculated, every meal I consumed had to be “natural”, and every minute I wasn’t exercising, I was thinking about exercising. I was dangerously wading back into the hallowed grounds of my eating disorder (this isn’t a rare case…25% of diets will advance to full blown eating disorders). I didn’t look sick; I looked capable. And while I was able to lift PR after PR at the gym, I was barely able to lift my head from my pillow.
Today, things are a little different. I have a tummy that folds when I sit down and arms I guarantee could hardly snatch a record. This morning, I had a big bowl of fruit with breakfast, and this afternoon, I treated myself to a slice of cake. I practice yoga all the time because it makes me feel good. Sometimes I do a quick circuit workout, but I’ve found that I love to exercise my brain far more. All of that time that I wasted trying ot perfect my body, i am now learning to spend it to better my soul.
I am healthier now than I was as a regional level athlete. I am healthier now than I was when I won the district cross country meet. I am healthier now than I was when I ran a half mile in under 2:20. I am healthier now than I was when I was obsessed with being healthy.
My message to you is this: chill out about it. If you’re hungry, eat. Eating is healthy. Eating intuitively is the trendy new diet we should all hop on. Eating is a natural process that is necessary to our survival. And at the end of the day, surviving is really our only job.
I promise you’ll never find a healthier body than the one that you never feel hungry in.
I promise you’ll never find a better appetite suppressant than honoring your appetite.