When you become aware of the fact that you are constantly eating without any control, it is outright frightening. No food or drink ever seems to keep you satisfied or stops you from constantly chewing and swallowing. Most of us at some points of our lives have been there. What could be some of the reasons why we seem to always be hungry and how can we better manage that hunger?
Hunger is a message from the body cells telling you that they need fuel to function. Naturally, we should get this message after about four or five hours of eating or drinking. Sometimes, we get this message every hour. This is when we begin to ask ourselves if we are truly hungry or if there is something else going on. Why are our body cells not getting the proper fuel they need to function longer?
EATING EMPTY CALORIES
Your body cells need certain nutrients to function. Some of these chemicals cannot be made by the body and we must consume by eating certain foods. Normally fruits and vegetables contain a lot of very important minerals and vitamins. Now compare this with any fast food hamburger you know. The beef contains more additives to preserve the meat than any substantial nutrients. This is why eating most fast foods cause you to want something sweet as soon as you finish eating. Once you get something sweet, you find out that you keep getting more hungry. Compare this to eating a nice bowl of green salad, with avocado and homemade dressing. You will find out that you are more full after your meal of fresh vegetables than your fast food. So make sure you include more vitamin and mineral rich foods in your meal plan in order to curb your appetite and get your hunger under control.
YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE MAY BE TO BLAME (HELLO WOMEN)
Most women if not all can relate to this. That sudden need to eat “a whole house” before or during your period. It may even lead you to start binge eating if you are not careful. Binge Eating Disorder is actually a formal diagnosis which is far worse than just overeating. Your body needs much more minerals and vitamins before and during your period because a lot goes on during your period. Imagine, your body is preparing itself every month just in case you have a baby. Your reproductive cells will grab the nutrients they need from every other body cell they can pull from. Your body will need a lot of iron, B12, magnesium and also vitamin C. So before your period, pay attention to eating meals that constantly provide you with healthy amounts of these substances. Dark leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, eggs, kidney beans, lentils, red meat, are a few examples of what to include in your meals. This will help control your hunger especially for things like chocolate and bread during your period.
Have you noticed that when you are under a lot of stress you either tend to eat in a hurry, continually snack, or eat lots of carbs and sweets? We seem to snack a lot after dinner and wake up feeling extremely hungry when under a lot of stress. The more we try to control our hunger, the more out of control things spiral and we seem to eat more to comfort ourselves. What is going on in our bodies? Why do we feel this way?
Well, when you get a stress signal, naturally, your body secrets your major stress hormone called cortisol. It increases your blood sugar levels so that your cells, especially muscles, can have fuel to deal with the stress. Once your body has dealt with the stress, cortisol is supposed to reduce and your body returns to normal. But when you get stress over a relationship, then your bills, then your kids, then your business, then your neighbor with loud music, etc, the level of cortisol keeps going up. It encourages the body to eat more carbs and store fat in the stomach area. So the more you get stressed, the more fat is being accumulated and the more you crave for sweets and carbs. The best solution here is to identify what is causing you to stress so much, and keep it under control.
These are just a few major reasons why you may always feel like you have to eat or drink constantly. Once you take time to manage these, you will likely see a big change in your eating habits. I you want to learn more about satisfying you hunger, I did an entire Facebook Live about it linked here!: https://www.facebook.com/171900249665878/posts/791712667684630/.
As always, please consult your medical professional for more information if you find out that you cannot control your eating. I would also recommend you check out this great book called Always Hungry? by David Ludwig, MD, PhD:
In my next blog, I will be discussing a particular drink and how it can be affecting your weight. Always look out for my article every Monday.
WLS, FNS (NASM)