Monday, I talked about some medical reasons why you may be hungry all the time. Today, I’m going to talk about some other, more subtle or seemingly unrelated reasons why you may feel hungry.
5 More Reasons for Out of Control Hunger
Not Enough Protein or Healthy Fats
Lean protein takes time to fully digest, which means you feel full longer. What’s more is that lean protein provides your body with an appetite-suppressing effect.
Protein comes in many forms, such as eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. However, there are also other sources of protein, which you can consume any time of the day, such as quinoa, hummus, and peanut butter.
In addition, healthy fats like, avocados, nuts, and seeds can be a great addition to your diet as healthy snacks, and will help you to feel full longer as well.
You Rush Through Meals
When you don’t use your five senses while eating, you’re likely to eat more than those who pay attention to their food. Even listening to the crunching of your food registers with your brain on some level, allowing for the hormone leptin, which is responsible for the sense of being full, to start working after nearly 20 minutes of eating.
But if you’re distracted watching TV, or playing on your phone, or working on your laptop, your brain doesn’t register that you’re eating and you end up eating almost 40% more than you should.
Take your time and practice mindful eating. Our busy lives dictate that we do everything in a rush. We rarely have time to think and reflect, let alone take our time eating. You should spend around 20-25 minutes eating since the hormone leptin starts kicking in after about 20 minutes, giving that feeling that you’ve had enough to eat.
Studies show that those who eat quickly consume 60% more calories than those who take their time with their food.
You Skip Meals
On the flip side, if you skip meals you are doing a great disservice to your body. If you are skipping meals in an effort to burn off some fat, you are making a huge mistake. When you skip a meal, your body goes into “storage” mode and locks down on the fat cells in case there’s a bout of starvation going around.
Also, ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating your appetite, goes into overdrive when you leave your stomach with no food for a long time. A rule of thumb is not to go without food for more than 4 or 5 hours, and opt for healthy snacks.
You’re not Sleeping
Sleep is one of the biggest regulators of hormones. Hormones such as those produced during stress (cortisol) relate directly to your sleep cycle. In addition, sleep affecting hormones, can also cause you to have a larger appetite.
WebMD notes that craving high fat and high calorie foods are symptoms of being overtired. Along with craving foods that are bad for you, you may notice a change in mood, clumsiness, difficulty focusing and weight gain.
If you’re having all the symptoms and aren’t sleeping your eight hours every day, it may be time to add some extra sleep into your daily schedule. Once you do, you should see an immediate decrease in the stress responses due to lack of sleep.
You’re Stressed Out
Usually when we’re stressed, we lose our appetite. However, that’s only temporary, because prolonged stress increases the release of the hormone cortisol, which triggers our sense of hunger. What’s more is that cortisol takes out lipids from our bloodstream and stores them in fat cells, adding on the pounds, thus increasing stress levels even more.
While there is no one for sure answer as to why you are always hungry, these things are the top contenders for chronic hunger symptoms. The best thing that you can do is start by drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep. If you’re doing both of these then you may have a problem that should be addressed by your physician.
If all of your blood work shows normal hormone levels, your hunger may be psychological appetite rather than real hunger. Learning to control your appetite can be done through mindful eating techniques. If you’d like the help of a health coach, schedule a free 20 minute consultation to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Or contact me here: Contact Mary