Have you been experiencing hunger pangs when youre not supposed to? Not the ones you have when youve just been sweating out it at the gym or after your morning run; those are warranted. Were talking about the nagging gnaw in the tummy that has you rummaging the fridge too often. Unexplained hunger may sound insignificant in its initial phase, but it shouldnt go unheeded. When your body isnt functioning right, it will always send signals to you the ignorance or misinterpretation of which will lead to hazardous health complications. So, its time you stop what youre doing, pay attention to the signs, address your bodys need, and do what needs to be done.
Appetite is a roller-coaster ride that is run by two hormones: leptin, the appetite-suppressant, and ghrelin, the appetite-stimulant. Poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyles disrupt their balance leading to frequent hunger and insatiability. Lets take a look at some of these habits and see how they can be counteracted.
Youre Not Getting Enough Sleep
The less sleep you get, the more you tend to eat throughout the day. Leptin levels sink down, while ghrelin surges. To fight the lethargy and fatigue, you not only tend to eat more but youre also more inclined to load yourself with high calorie option for quick pick-me-up snacks like cookies, chips, and candy.
Goal: 7-9 hours of undisturbed sleep each night.
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Your body sends hunger signals even when all it needs are fluids. The next time you feel the hunger pangs, drink a glass of water or a cup of green tea or herbal tea (coffee stimulates appetite). Wait for 15-20 minutes. If youre only dehydrated, the hunger should subside.
Goal: Frequent sips of water between meals ensures hydration.
Youre Loading On Simple Carbs
When simple carbs (found in white, refined flour foods like pastries, doughnuts, and cookies) reach your stomach, there is not much digestion left to do. Sugar is quickly released into the bloodstream and just as quickly removed by insulin. The sudden sugar dip triggers hunger pangs, particularly sugar craving.
Goal: Consume complex carbs with more fiber content like brown rice, almonds, and apples.
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Youre Not Getting Enough Protein And Fat
Protein is a complex nutrient which takes longer to break down during the digestive process, therefore keeping you fuller for longer. Your body also needs healthy fats to increase satiety. Without these two nutrients, youre bound to the grab-and-go eating habit between meals.
Goal: Include lean protein like Greek Yogurt and monounsaturated fats like avocado in every meal.
Youre Downing Too Much Alcohol
You want to whet your appetite, not increase it to the point that you still want to eat even after youve had your fill. Alcohol does the latter. While you keep refilling your glass of wine, you also refill your plate. Besides, boozing dehydrates you, tricking you into thinking you need food when all you need is water.
Youre A Stress Eater
Stress has a sneaky voice encouraging you to eat when you dont need to. When youre stressed, your adrenaline and cortisol levels ramp up in your system, bringing the body into a defensive mode. Your body thinks it needs energy to fend off this attack, and so signals you with hunger pangs.
Goal: Practice meditation or try yoga to fight off stress and get your mind off food.
Youre Addicted To Food Networks
Following food networks on television and social media, and your feeds are overflowing with food-gasmic photos and recipe ideas. No wonder your mouth is constantly salivating! The saying, We eat with our eyes is actually backed by science. Ghrelin levels crank up just by looking and smelling food!
Goal: Limit your exposure to food porn. Read a book in between meals or take a walk instead.
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Youre Not Eating Enough Or Soon Enough
Skipping meals (especially breakfast) and waiting too long between meals is bound to get your appetite-controlling hormones all riled up. If you keep this up, sooner or later youll find yourself predisposed to binging. Eating on time helps your body recognize hunger and satiety cues for what they are.
Goal: Prioritize breakfast. Maintain a gap of four to five hours in between meals.
A fit and healthy lifestyle is all about making smart choices. Its not about not having any issues, but about pinpointing the problem and taking action to uproot it. Make the smart choice today. Learn. Act. Commit! Found this article interesting? Don’t forget to like and share. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.