BLOG NUTRITION, FOOD, MOOD
December 11, 2012
Why am I Always Hungry?
This is a question that comes up often when people start a new meal plan. Although every person is unique, I’ve found a few things to be universally very important when it comes to staving off hunger and therefore meeting your goals:
- Staying hydrated can help you to better identify true hunger, vs. thirst
• Time your meals & snacks correctly
- Eat balanced foods consistently (try starting with every 3-4 hours) to avoid overindulging at your next meal. We can all remember a time when we had to skip a meal, and how hungry we were because of it! Not something we want to relive.
• Have protein and have fat (in small amounts) consistently
- Most people benefit from having a little protein and/or heart-healthy fat with their meals and snacks. Protein has the same amount of calories by weight as carbohydrates, but can make you feel fuller when you eat it. Fat takes the longest to digest, so its effects can be long-lasting. Imagine how great you can feel if you can have a little of all three!
• Watch for trends
- If your hunger is consistent (i.e. when you get home, around 5pm, every day of the week) adjust accordingly! Try experimenting with the two points above (timing and protein/fat) to see if you can find something that works better. Also note if your hunger comes with a specific food (i.e. milk, fruit, beans, bread, tofu, etc.). Try experimenting with other options instead, then see if you are still hungry.
• Listen to your body
- Take notes from children: they eat when they are hungry, and they stop eating when they are full. Our guts and brains are very highly connected, so make sure you are truly hungry (stomach growling for example) instead of something else. That something else can be a number of things: boredom, stress, thirst, fatigue, anger, etc. If it is true hunger or something else, once we have identified it we can move forward with changing so we feel more balanced.
Note: the above are general recommendations. There are specific conditions which require these to be changed to better suit your individual needs. If you have questions regarding your specific health condition, please seek advice from a 20/20 Registered Dietitian or your Physician.