By Nicole Dynan

From the time we are kids at school, we are taught to eat to an external schedule rather than our internal body cues. This can keep us organised and working to time but often we are never really hungry. Eating like this day after day can lead to unwanted kilos creeping on -  even when the food is super healthy.

Intense hunger is uncomfortable and can lead to you wanting to shove the first thing you see into your mouth. But mild to moderate hunger is normal, and a sign that your metabolism is working well, burning off the previous meal and getting ready to refuel for the hours ahead.

If this sounds familiar, try an experiment tomorrow at breakfast: Eat a balanced breakfast, like a small bowl of oats with fresh fruit, nuts and low fat milk, then pay attention to how long it takes you to feel physical sensations of hunger, like stomach rumbling. If you’re still not hungry five hours after the meal, try cutting back a little on your portions the next day. 

The goal is to establish a steady hunger/fullness pattern –you want to be hungry when you wake up, then mildly hungry every three to five hours after that. Hunger is your body’s built-in meter for keeping you in balance – embrace it and use it to your advantage.