You’re not as hungry as your brain thinks you are

Physical labor, including running or working out at the gym, makes us hungry and thirsty. You don’t have to be a doctor to understand why. The same is true for women who are pregnant or PMS’ing. Hunger and thirst are the body’s natural ways of telling us when we need more calories or electrolytes or whatever it might be.

But there are also plenty of times when we think our bodies are telling us we need nourishment in the form of food when we actually don’t. And when we give in to those false reports, we put on weight that we not only don’t need but which is harmful to our overall health.

Following is 5 reasons why we might think we’re hungry when we’re really not:

  • It’s possible you’re mistaking thirst for hunger. The part of the brain that regulates both hunger and thirst, the hypothalamus, sometimes gets its wires crossed. Next time you think you’re hungry, have a glass or two of water and wait 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, eat something healthy. If not, you’ve saved yourself from unneeded calories.
  • Lack of sleep. When you don’t get enough shuteye, your ghrelin hormone surges, making you think you’re hungry. Meanwhile, the leptin hormone that gives you a sense of fullness decreases. So, your body starts craving sugar carbs. Average seven to eight hours of sleep each night and this problem goes away.
  • When you get stressed out, your adrenalin and cortisol hormones go into overdrive. This makes your system think you need an energy boost such as what could be provided by food. I know it’s easier said than done, but try to find activities that will help you relax rather than diving into the cookie jar.
  • Lack of Protein. Because foods high in protein, such as lean meat, yogurt, eggs and whole grains, promote feelings of fullness, they will actually suppress your appetite while filling you with things your body needs. Men should aim for 56 grams per day and women 46.
  • Eating Too Quickly. Eating too quickly might fill your stomach faster, but your brain won’t figure it out soon enough. Eat slowly, giving your brain as much time to digest what you’ve eaten as you’re giving your stomach, then wait 15 minutes to determine whether you really need that second helping in order to walk away from the table satiated.

Are there strategies you’ve tried in an effort to curb your appetite? Were they successful? I’d love to hear from you about this.


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