Hunger is your body telling you that it needs sustenance so it can operate efficiently. Yet sometimes, it can feel like all our hunger is a little… excessive.
We’re talking about those days when just 20 minutes after lunch (after you ate a meal big enough for two) you’re already starving again. Maybe it happens every day—you find yourself jonesing for another snack before you can even lick all the white cheddar popcorn off your fingers. Either way, you’re always. so. damn. hungry. But why?
It is normal to experience an increase in appetite after going hard in the gym or during your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or breastfeeding but if you feel like a bottomless pit, something might be up.
Luckily, tweaking some of your daily habits can help keep your appetite in check so you’ll keep all that eating to when you’re truly, really, actually hungry.
#1. You’re dehydrated and confusing thirst for hunger
Our thirst and hunger cues both come from the same part of the brain, the hypothalamus, making it difficult for our bodies to know the difference, Foti explains. Keep a water bottle at your desk so you remember to sip throughout the day. You’ll know you’re drinking enough water when your pee is light yellow or clear.
#2. You’re not getting the right balance of nutrients
Satisfying snacks have three components: fiber, protein, and a little healthy fat. All three can help slow digestion, which keeps blood sugar stable and keeps you full for longer. Some of her suggestions: a serving of plain popcorn (fiber) with roasted almonds (protein and healthy fat); vegetable sticks (fiber) with hummus (protein and healthy fat); or cherry tomatoes (fiber), avocado (healthy fat) and part-skim cottage cheese (protein).
#3. You’re eating too many simple carbs and sugars
On the other hand, eating lots of simple carbohydrates (think: white bread, pasta, bagels, pastries) and sugar will make it impossible to feel satisfied. Your glucose will rise at first giving you a burst of energy, and then crash rapidly causing your body to crave more fuel. This can become a vicious cycle, where you never feel satisfied no matter how much you keep eating.
#4. You’re not eating often enough
It might sound counter-intuitive if you’re trying to curb your eating, but spacing out your meals too far can make you constantly hungry. When your stomach is empty for too long, your body will release more ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone, leaving you feeling famished. Which over time, leads to overeating. Try eating a meal or snack every three to four hours. Foti also recommends keeping an emergency snack on you, like a piece of fruit, for when you’re tight on time.
image couresy: pngimg.com, cateringhire.co.uk.