The Core Four is the Not Really Hungry weight loss method that focuses on the four main habits needed for lasting weight loss.
One definition of the word habit is “an automatic response.” Wouldn’t weight loss be easier if we did what was best for our body automatically? We just have to keep trying and keep practicing until we turn our behaviors into habits.
I started this concept back in 2014 with my Habits of a Loser posts. I was developing a system at that time, but I never finalized anything. My original framework included 15 different habits!
As I was thinking about how to cover the topics in the podcast, I realized that my original framework was just too overwhelming. It was overwhelming even for me, and I wrote the posts! I was making it way too hard, and it was preventing me from really committing.
Planning the podcast helped me realize that I needed to simplify. I needed to pick the TOP habits and focus on those instead of trying to change every single thing at once. Hence, The Core Four was born. The other habits are still important of course, but they all support The Core Four in some way.
Habit 1 – Handle Your Hunger
To truly handle your hunger, just stop eating when you’re not really hungry. Simple, right? Not so much.
We eat for so many reasons and most of them are not physical hunger. We eat when we are stressed, sad, mad, tired, bored, lonely, anxious… the list goes on and on. But the common theme is that we are using food to escape. We don’t want to feel those emotions so we eat to distract or numb ourselves. Sometimes we even eat just because we need to relax or decompress. Eating gives us an excuse to stop and sit for a few minutes.
Learning to handle your hunger will be a process. There will be experimenting and stumbling along away. This is normal. Repeat after me. It is normal to struggle as you try to change. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.
This habit is the most important and the most challenging, but it’s worth the effort! Once you get control over your hunger, it is totally empowering. YOU are in charge, not your hunger or your emotions.
Habit 2 – Plan & Reflect
Plan and reflect is the second habit in The Core Four. Planning gives you a road map to follow, and reflecting helps you assess how much you enjoyed your trip! They are both important and work together to help you succeed.
I know that planning doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and not everyone enjoys it (gasp!), but hopefully I can help you see the benefits. For me, planning what I will eat removes stress from my life. It takes away decision drama and eliminates impulse eating. Planning helps me focus and gives me a way to hold myself accountable. It also saves me time and money!
The key items to remember about this habit:
- Planning should be fast. Don’t overthink it.
- Keep your plans simple and realistic.
- Reflecting doesn’t have to be negative.
- Use your reflecting to improve, not to berate.
In order to streamline the process of planning and reflecting, I created The Core Four Planner! It gives you a format to follow for a weekly plan, daily plans, daily reflections, and weekly reflections.
To dive deeper into reflection, check out the Progress Not Perfection Journal. There are 60 different thought provoking questions provided, or you can create your own topics. The journal includes 100 reflection pages for you to explore the fears and challenges that are holding you back.
For more details on this habit, check out the Plan & Reflect post.
Habit 3 – Drink Water
Is this one of the most boring suggestions ever? I know it sounds SO rudimentary, but our bodies NEED water. Have you ever heard of any healthy eating plan that didn’t recommend drinking water? Probably not.
The most important thing to know is that water is necessary to burn fat! If you want to lose weight, burning fat should be a top priority. Water also gives us more energy, helps with digestion, and helps our skin look better. You can read the Drink Water post for all the details, but those are the key points.
Aim to get about 8 glasses (64 ounces) per day. This can vary depending on the person or circumstances, but you can use your urine color as a guide. You want it to be pale yellow. Clear means you are over hydrated and dark means you are dehydrated.
If drinking water is hard for you, really examine what you think about water. Do you think it’s boring and bland? Try telling yourself it’s refreshing and nurturing instead. You might feel silly at first, but our thoughts are powerful. It really makes a difference what we tell ourselves.
Habit 4 – Sleep More
Most of us love sleep and never get enough of it! Our lives are so busy and we always seem to be over scheduled and overwhelmed. We need AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep, but many of us barely get 6 and would do better with 8 or 9. Sleep is important to our overall health, and we can’t keep running on fumes.
When we aren’t getting enough sleep, our metabolism and hormones get all messed up. As the hunger hormones get off balance, your body makes you feel like you need to eat AND makes it harder for you to know when you are full. Awesome, right? Your stress hormone is also elevated when you don’t get enough sleep which also causes an increased appetite in some people.
On top of the hormone imbalance, lack of sleep dulls activity in the part of the brain responsible for decision making. So your brain literally isn’t working like it should when you are sleep deprived. When you are tired, your cravings will be worse because your body is craving energy. Your resistance to those cravings is weakened due to your sluggish brain.
To dive into this topic even more, read the Sleep More post. And then go to bed! We all have plenty of reasons (or excuses), but we really need to make sleep a priority to live our best lives.
Now that you know the basic premise of The Core Four, it’s time to get to work. Make a simple plan for tomorrow and stick to it. As you follow your plan, think about WHY you are eating and question if you are really hungry before you eat. Also strive to drink some water and get more sleep. That’s it!
If you want to learn more, read the full posts on each of the Core Four habits. If you want structure, consider purchasing The Core Four Meal Planner or the Progress Not Perfection Journal. If you want support, join the Not Really Hungry Community on Facebook. You can do this. I’m here to help!