Hunger: The dieter’s final frontier. Despite all your will power, desire to do better, and dedication to beat the bulge, it is still there. When you’re hungry, nothing else seems to matter, and always feeling hungry can derail the strongest willpower.
Understanding why you’re always hungry can help to defeat excessive hunger and get you on the road to healthier and more moderate eating.
Your glass of wine or beer with dinner could be contributing to your hunger. Research has shown that drinking alcohol can increase the presence of the hormone, ghrelin, which triggers a feeling of hunger. In addition to eating more while drinking, the increased feeling of hunger can carry on to subsequent meals.
2. Speed Eating & Tube Time
Although quickly eating a meal on the run or between meetings may be a time saver, it can backfire in the long run. When you eat quickly, the hormone your stomach sends to let your body know that you’re full doesn’t have time to trigger, preventing you from ever feeling full. Similarly, mindlessly eating in front of the TV also takes your attention away from your food and fullness cues. It’s easy to scarf down snacks, often which are highly processed or high calorie, not realizing you’re satisfied until you’re overly full. Studies have proven that individuals who take longer to chew their food stay fuller longer, while those who watch more than two hours of television a day are more likely to be overweight.
3. Sleep Deprivation
In today’s fast paced society, it is common for people to get as few as four or five hours of sleep a night. When your body hasn’t had adequate rest, it becomes more difficult to produce the hormone leptin, which is responsible for allowing your body to feel full. Sleep deprivation also leads to an increase in the production of the hunger inducing hormone ghrelin. Furthermore, sleep deprivation stimulates the part of the brain that is responsible for recognizing food as a source of pleasure.
4. Peer Pressure
Making healthy choices is infinitely more difficult when you’re with a large group. When friends and family are indulging in unhealthy plates or desserts at dinner, it isn’t always easy to say no. Avoiding unhealthy options is particularly difficult when you’re dating or find yourself in new social situations when the desire to fit in is more prevalent. Try not to let these pressures deter you from your mission, a healthy you will be a happier you in the long run!
5. Skipping Breakfast
Many people skip breakfast as a way to save time in the morning. Skipping breakfast has many negative repercussions such as; slowing down your metabolism, causing you to feel hungry, and stimulating your body into storing food instead of burning it. People who skip breakfast are nearly five times as likely to be obese than their breakfast eating counterparts.
Many people turn to food as a coping mechanism, eating as a way to deal with stressful or negative emotions. This can lead to an unhealthy eating cycle. Stress eating does not reduce negative emotions or anxieties, but rather triggers the need to eat more and leads to weight gain and further anxieties.
7. Diet Soda
Once touted as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks, diet soda has a negative impact on appetite and overall health. Sugar substitutes can alter the body’s ability to feel full and trigger feelings of hunger. When tasting something sweet, our bodies expect sugar and calories to follow. When this doesn’t happen, our brain is confused and must adapt to a new process.
Often, what people perceive as hunger is actually thirst. This is especially true when a person is chronically dehydrated. In fact, many symptoms that people think of as associated with hunger; crankiness, low energy, feeling week, can be attributed to dehydration.
9. Eating Processed Foods
Processed foods are often high in calories and low in nutrients. Because of this your body continues to crave sustenance. Additionally, processed food often contains additives and chemicals that can be addictive. Some research has shown that high fructose corn syrup, which is a main ingredient in many processed foods, can slow down production of the hormone leptin, which tells the brain that you are full.
10. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum, even sugar free gum, can increase feelings of hunger. When gum is chewed, the saliva that is produced is swallowed and sent to the stomach. The body then looks for food to follow which can make you hungrier.
With this knowledge in mind, you can finally say goodbye to that pesky chronic hunger!
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