Hunger is a mood: the psychology of weight loss and self-control

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Those toes are proof that man evolved from the apes.

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And those apes used pink nail polish.


I wouldn’t describe hunger as a mood.

Exactly as the Atkin’s diet predicts. Any diet works, as long as you stick to it. It’s the sticking to it, and everyone has known that forever, but chosen to ignore it, because weight is supposed to be all about “virtue”.


I don’t know if I would call it a mood but it certainly alters my mood (or my wife’s). I swear the conversation goes like this:

Her: “I’m hungry.”
Me: “What do you want?”
Her: “I don’t care.”
Me: name off a list of things.
Her: “No.”
Me: “Well if you were to go get something what would it be?”
Her: “I don’t know, I just want food.”
Me: “I guess you aren’t that hungry then…”
Her: death stare

Speaking of mood I did like those Snickers commercials:


I get this with my three year old a lot.

Him: “I’m super hungry!”
Me: “You just ate twenty minutes ago! You’re not hungry, you’re just bored!”

Seriously, though, I do have to agree. The busier I am, the less hungry I feel. Last year I pretty much stopped using my lunch breaks for eating in the staff room, and instead went to the gym, walked, or (later) ran for an hour.

I haven’t lost much weight per se, but that’s probably because I am building muscle mass (and I don’t particularly care about my body fat percentage, as I love cheese and beer too much).

I am also reminded of a critique I saw of the Apple Watch’s standing reminders: one person commented that when they get them, they dutifully stand up. With nothing else apparent to do for five minutes, they inevitably wander off to the fridge to get a snack…


My son has a hard time recognizing when he’s hungry (my fault, it’s apparently genetic). We started telling him he was turning into Roseanne Barr when he’d turn that particular shade of crabby a while back. At first he’d just look at us like we each had two heads, now he’s just getting better at recognizing when he’s getting h’angry.


Hunger seems like a bit of a red herring, at least for many people.

If people ate when they were hungry, instead of when they were sad / bored / celebrating / with friends / lonely / etc. then there would be a lot fewer people who felt they had problems with their eating.


Sounds like my kids.
“Have an orange.”
“I don’t want one.”
“I thought you were hungry?!”


Lots of words in that article that produce no actionable advice… author is definitely a psychiatrist!

There’s absolutely no takeaway. “Change your hunger mood” is the advice, and there’s no detail or procedure on how to do that. Lower carbs by 90%? 90% of what? A “little higher” fats? Higher than what?

I’m glad they found a weight loss program that works for them, maybe now they should come up with a process to write a useful article.


Imagine how much better this article would be if it didn’t assume I want to lose weight.

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Considering that the article states more than 2/3’s of americans are overweight… i think assuming the majority of people reading the article want to lose weight is fair :stuck_out_tongue:

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You might be thinking of psychologists. At least a psychiatrist can write you a prescription after providing 45 minutes of unhelpful generalities.


Kid: I’m bored!
Me: Mop the floor then.

(My 3 year old still isn’t getting it)


A few years ago I did exactly what the author says not to do. I counted calories. Meticulously, in a spreadsheet, every day. Everything that went in my mouth was carefully measured and went in the spreadsheet, except for diet sodas, of which I drank gallon upon gallon — which is also supposedly something that will destroy your willpower. There were hard days and there were easier days. And over about 5 months I lost 60 pounds, and have kept most of it off.

That said, it became obvious pretty quickly what things were going to keep me under my limit and what things weren’t, and moreover, what things would give me the most bang for the calorie. And over time I gravitated toward the sorts of foods discussed here.

So, more than one way to skin and eat a cat I guess.


I think that there are other peculiar psychological factors at work. Isn’t weight an arbitrary metric of fitness? I would rather simply be fit, but nearly everybody I talk to is concerned solely with weight. People even remark that you/they/somebody appears to have lost/gained “weight”. Weight is not even a visible factor. I assume that they actually mean mass, but for whatever reason, hardly anybody likes to say so,

I was with you up until you suggested substituting “mass” for “weight.”

Weight and mass have a nearly 1:1 correlation, especially if you’re moving at sub-relativistic speeds across the surface of a planet. Besides, when you step onto a scale, the scale does, indeed, measure weight. If a scale displays your mass in kg instead of your weight in pounds, that scale is making several assumptions in order to convert the amount of pressure pushing down upon it (in pounds or Newtons) into a measurement of mass.

Besides, “mass” isn’t much better than “weight” - Capability is probably a better indication of health (Can you run X distance without stopping?), but that’s much harder for someone to measure on a day-to-day basis. Waistline is a good one, but then you might have people squeezing into corsets and claiming that makes them healthier.

Weight - excuse me - mass is (if you make the same assumptions that your scale does) one of the easiest things to measure, and has a decent correlation with fitness.


Same here, and oh my god, not in a good mood does not say it all. Probably also my fault.
He is learning to recognise it, but better let him take something to his likings, than give something.
But the sugars, and other really sweet things are not for grabbing. If he does, it’s about an hour to be in the same state as before, maybe even worse.

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