Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
I received so many congratulations this past month from my announcement that it had been 10 years, as of May, that I’d been writing these Joyinmovement newsletters. Thank you all!
This month I’d like to shed some light on a question I get quite often about hunger. It dawned on me that many people don’t understand the difference between “head hunger” or what we’ll call psychological hunger vs. physical hunger.
So I thought I’d offer these nine tips to help you distinguish between these two types of hunger and know if you are really hungry. See what you think!
1) Watch the Clock
When was the last time you had something to eat? Hunger cycles peak approximately every 90 minutes. Try to pass through the next cycle without eating and see how you feel. Usually we don’t need to eat more than every three or four hours.
2) Listen for Grumbling
A growling, grumbling stomach is usually the strongest cue you’re really hungry. But it may not appear right away. Tune into your stomach area and pay attention to any sensations there, like emptiness, mild nausea, or rumbling.
3) Look for a Slow Build
Physical hunger comes on gradually, while emotional hunger is sudden.
4) Watch for Low Energy
Do you feel a little weak, shaky, or fatigued? This is usually a clear sign that your body needs some fuel. Beyond the physical weakness, you may also feel emotionally depleted, resulting in irritability, moodiness, and a quick temper. This tip works for me!
One of the best things you can do for your body is keep your blood sugar steady so it doesn’t have to work so hard. It will reward you with less hunger, better hormone balance, and weight loss that feels easier. It is a huge step in the direction of health to make sure your hunger never roars out of control. Need a nutritional tune-up? https://joyinmovement.com/nutrition/
5) Wait 15 Minutes
The symptoms above usually get strong once you are very hungry, but before that they can be much more subtle. If you aren’t sure if you’re really hungry, just wait a little while. Find something else to distract you and then check in with yourself a little later. If you are truly getting hungry, your stomach and the rest of your body will definitely let you know!
6) Is it a Craving or Actual Hunger?
A craving means you want a particular taste! Ask yourself what you’re hungry for. True hunger can be satisfied with any food. If only a particular food will do, you’re not really hungry.
7) Are You Hungry or Just Bored?
At times, for lack of anything better to do, some people snack. This is usually due to a craving, rather than hunger. When you find yourself wandering around looking for food, try to do something that’s not food-related to hold your attention.
8) Are you Hungry or Thirsty?
Thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Drink a glass of water, then wait a few minutes and see if the desire to eat subsides.
9) Are You Hungry or Just Tired?
Being tired can create a sensation in or around your midsection, which can be mistaken for hunger. If it’s late, go to bed.
Now that we’ve determined how to tell physical hunger from psychological hunger, let’s take a look at how you can avoid being hungry all the time and over-eating.
1. Eat real food and avoid the processed, refined nutrient-depleted stuff.
The more nutritious food your body gets and the fewer “empty calories” you consume, the happier your body becomes, which results in a healthier metabolism and less intense hunger signals. It’s not the calories that satiate your hunger, it’s the nutrients: fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
2. Include protein and healthy fats with meals and snacks. They take longer to digest and help keep you feeling full longer. Eating healthy fats won’t make you fat!
3. Eat lots of vegetables. They are nutritionally dense, full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fill you up. Try to include a rainbow of colors, white, green, yellow, orange, red, blue and purple, everyday. And cooking at home it the way to best insure you’ll eat lots of veggies. I love this POT for cooking!
4. Limit excess sugar. If you must have dessert, have a small amount, just a bite or two at the end of your meal, so it doesn’t send your blood sugar soaring. Avoid sugary drinks including soda and fruit juice.
5. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners. They perpetuate your sweet tooth, causing you to crave more sweets, and they interfere with your body’s hunger/satisfaction signals, which can make you hungry.
Need to kick a diet soda habit? Opt for a big glass of water with lemon, vegetable juice, green tea or sparkling water instead.
6. When you eat…..eat. Stop multi-tasking through your snacks and meals.
Your brain and five senses are a big part of digestion and satisfaction. If you eat while watching television or answering email, you won’t really taste your food, which can lead your body to send out hunger signals even though you’ve eaten.
Everyone knows that you eat with your eyes, but it turns out, your ears also play a role.
A new study, published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, tested how our perception of the sound of eating food affects our eating habits. They had two groups of participants eat crunchy foods, one with white-noise-producing headphones and the other without. These headphones were intended to mimic everyday behaviors of distracted eating, such as watching TV or listening to music while you eat.
It turned out participants who were less aware of the sound of the food, because of the levels of white noise, ate more than those that could hear the food they were eating. I found this so interesting!
Step away from the TV or computer and lower the music during dinner. And if you’re out to dinner at a busy restaurant, maybe think about ordering something crunchy! As long as you can hear the food you are eating, it’ll make you aware of the fact that you’re actually eating food. When you’re unaware, you basically forget that you’re eating, which can lead to an increase in food consumption.
7. Get enough sleep. When you are overtired your body may send you signals that it needs more energy in the form of food. Studies have demonstrated that people who are sleep deprived weigh more.
8. Drink lots of water. Most of us don’t drink enough water and again, your body may inadvertently send you a hunger signal when it’s really thirsty, especially if you have a habit of ignoring thirst. If you are hungry and there is no real good reason you should be, have a big glass of water and wait 10 minutes. Your hunger may disappear.
A study in the journal Physiology & Behavior suggests people inappropriately respond to thirst over 60 percent of the time by eating instead of drinking. That’s because your hypothalamus regulates hunger and thirst, and sometimes it mixes up its signals.
Just sipping on water is the solution to quelling your hunger pangs and, ultimately, helping you slim down. In fact, preloading meals with water can shave hundreds of calories from your daily intake. A study published in Obesity found that drinking two cups of water before eating led people to consume 75 to 90 fewer calories over the course of a meal. Next time you’re reaching for a snack, drink a cup of water first and wait 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, eat something.
9. Stress. While stress may shut down appetite in the short term, it pumps out the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) that triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response and puts eating on hold.
But if stress persists, it’s a different story. Your adrenal glands then release a different hormone called cortisol, which will not only trigger your hunger hormones, but it will also pull lipids from the bloodstream to store them in your fat cells.
10. Eating Too Quickly Hunger hormones take anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes to get to your brain, so if you eat your entire meal in under 5 minutes, you’ll most likely eat more than your fill, which is why it’s best to eat slowly,
11. You have food in plain view. Keep snacks out of sight, and only reach for them when your stomach is rumbling and hungry enough to eat an apple. This was one of biggest lessons learned from the powerful book, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink.
I know……In a perfect world we’d all be able to eat all the homemade cookies we desired without our bodies ever rebelling, but until that perfect world exists, let’s go with these tips and strategies and we’ll all live a happier and healthier life!