Kia Ākina

Working towards lifelong recovery from obesity

Take Control – Take control especially when hungry, angry, lonely or tired

HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired 

This is a well-known easy to remember list of conditions which make it harder than usual to resist cravings to eat food. It is straight out of the tried and true set of AA wise sayings.  

In the same way that it is easy to go camping when the sun is shining, keeping on track with weight-loss can feel a breeze when everything is going well in our lives. However, it is coping with the times when the going gets tough that really counts on “the long and happy journey”. These are the times that tend to make us feel hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or put us into other difficult emotional states. 

At these times it is even more important than usual to be aware of the risk of relapse into old overeating patterns and abandoning our more active lifestyle.  

Here is an image that helps. 

When the desire to eat comes on, we must remember there are two lines of messaging that get stimulated in the body to get energy in order to keep all the body’s metabolism going.  

One of the messages is to our brain, which says: “Go find something to eat – you need energy” The other message is to our fat stores, which says: “Burn some fat – you need energy”. And if we use the switch to our brain and find food to eat, then we turn off the switch to our fat stores burning fat. 

We must keep in mind that being obese means we’re not going to starve to death, even if we don’t eat anything for several weeks because we’ve got energy right there ready to burn. 

However, the messaging to our brains stimulating it to find new energy in the form of food tends to be stronger in most people (particular people like us) than the messaging to our fat stores stimulating them to burn fat. 

The trick is to “take control”, become conscious at these high-risk times, and resist the brain messaging in order for the fat stores messaging to do its thing. A key skill for us to develop is withstanding the feeling of hunger and let our fat stores burn fat for fuelling the body. 

When we’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired, the desire to look for food to eat rather than let our fat stores do their thing is greater than usual. 

Rather than viewing the feeling of being hungry as a negative thing, we should try viewing it as a positive thing, because these are the times our fat stores are going to get active if we let them. 

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