If you want to keep  a healthy weight, a vise thing to do is to eat only when you are hungry and until you are physically satisfied. This seems very straight forward, but sometimes it can be very hard to distinguish between hunger and cravings. So how do you really know if you are truly hungry and you have to eat food?

What is hunger?

“Hunger is a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.”

I am not sure about you, but I feel almost the same way when I am bored or am craving a particular food.

Hunger signals usually come from your stomach (growling) to inform you that it is empty, or from your brain by informing you it is lacking energy. However, the lack of energy signal from the brain can sometime means cravings due to an emotional feelings such as stress, over excitement, sadness, etc.

Here are a few ways to stop falling into trap of eating to satisfy your craving instead of eating because you are hungry:

  • At the onset of hunger try to wait it out for a bit and busy yourself with another task, possibly something that will entertain you. If the feeling of hunger goes away, then it was just a craving, but if it gets worsen, it means you are truly hungry and you need to eat.
  • When you realized you are hungry, satisfy your hunger with a nutritious food like fruits and veggies, not junk foods like chips, cakes and candies. My mom used to always say, if you are really hungry, you will eat a rock (her way of saying you won’t be picky).
  • Try drinking water, when feeling hungry. Lots of times feeling of hunger and thirst can be confusing. Next time when you feel hungry try to drink a glass of water and if your hunger doesn’t go away, then eat a nutritious food.
  • Take a few minute and think about your feelings before you run to food. Sometimes we eat to hide our emotions (emotional eating). Make a habit to think about the reason you are eating before you start eating. For example, are you eating because you are board and have nothing else to do? Are you eating because you are mad of some one or something? Are you eating because you are too excited and happy? Are you eating because your baby has been screaming all day long and you are stressed? Find the feelings behind your eating habits and try to replace eating with a better option, like listening to a music, read a book, exercise, go for a walk, do meditation, whatever pleases you, as long as there are no health risks.
  • To be healthy, and at a healthy weight, it is important to pay attention to your level of hunger. If 0 is completely empty and starving and 10 is Thanksgiving dinner stuffed, it is good to eat when you are at a 2, 3 or even 4. Getting too hungry is a set up for a binge. It is also good to stop eating when you are at a 7 or 8. Eat until you are not hungry anymore, not until you are full.
  • Never leave your house on an empty stomach and always carry nutritious snack with you, just in case you get hungry.

 

Bottom line:

in a world of abundant supplies of food and limitless options, it is no wonder that we have lost our touch with how we really feel when we are truly hungry. These days it is very easy to fall into trap of satisfying our cravings and overeating. when watching TV, almost half of the commercials are all about food, which will trigger your hunger. When driving around or even walking (depending on where you live), you see limitless signs of coffee shops and fast food restaurants and they all smell so appetizing. In this situation, the only way to protect yourself, is to get back in touch with your feeling of hunger and what it means. Hopefully this article gave you enough ideas to stop falling into trap of cravings and eat only when you are truly hungry for a better health.

 

 

 

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