Well, let’s get a little specific. Imagine that you have a pretend scale that ranges from 0 to 10, with 0 being hangry (that angry hunger because you waited too long to eat) and 10 being glutted (you ate so much that you need to unbutton you pants). Real physical hunger builds gradually and will eventually cause your stomach to growl; if you don’t eat when you’re truly hungry, your body will nag you until you do. Eating should happen when you’re truly hungry; that means your body should feel anywhere from hangry (0) to gentle hunger (4).
The next time you feel the urge to eat something, here’s how to know if your hunger is genuine:
See what I mean? We’ve lost our true hunger cues. If only we could turn back time.
But the good news is, you can get your mojo back — that intuitive self who knows when to eat and when to stop. It will likely take some practice, but you know what they say about practice. And while there is no such thing as a perfect eater, you can be pretty darn close when you start to listen to your body, not your Facebook feed. Those Tasty videos get me every time.
Before You Eat, Try These 4 ThingsThe next time you get the urge to eat, pause for a minute and evaluate your body’s signals. Here’s how:
1. Begin by taking a quick assessment.Run through a mental checklist to make note of your food triggers. What are the reasons that you’re turning to food? If you become aware and observant of your habits, you take a powerful step toward becoming a mindful eater who knows when he’s really physically hungry.
2. Grab a glass of water.If you find yourself wanting to eat but you don’t feel a rumble in your tummy, go get a drink of water first! Plain water provides hydration and satiety without added calories. Drinking a glass of water while you contemplate whether or not to eat can also provide the pause you need to complete the first two steps.
3. Keep a log.Use your phone’s note section (or put pen to paper, if that’s more your speed) to jot down your hunger level before you even put food in your mouth. Write down how you are feeling and what you are eating if you want to be super through, and start to make connections. You can refer back to these notes when you’re not eating or thinking about eating so you can start to see what might trigger different reactions.
4. Dig for a deeper connection.If you’re turning to food when you’re not really hungry, change your routine. Get outside for some fresh air, do housework, or chat with a friend because putting your body in the right place (i.e. not in front of the pantry) can encourage you to get more in tune with your needs.
Tomorrow when you get home from a long day at the office, hopefully you’ll be more empowered to pass by the kitchen if you’re not really hungry.
What if You Ate, But Still Feel Hungry?You waited until you were truly hungry to eat, but still feel hungry after finishing. Should you eat more? What gives?
Feeling hungry after you eat a reasonable amount actually isn’t uncommon — sometimes you might even think you’re hungrier after eating something than you were before you ate it. This can happen for a few reasons:
1. You ate too quickly.Feelings of satiety result from interactions between the bloodstream, pancreas, brain, intestines, and stomach. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register (hormones that regulate hunger and satiety need to trigger these feelings in the brain) that you’ve eaten enough, so if you eat too quickly, you may think you’re still hungry but just need to give your body time to recognize it’s had enough.
2. You could be a bit dehydrated.Did you really drink that whole glass of water before eating? Did you sip any water or fluids during your meal? If you didn’t eat low density foods that have a higher water content, such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, and soups, your body may just be telling you that you’re thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water and waiting a few minutes to reassess your feelings of hunger.
3. The food you ate didn’t contain enough protein.Protein-packed foods can help promote satiety, so including enough of it in your meals may help you feel more satisfied. A review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that higher protein meals increase fullness ratings more than lower protein ones.
4. You might actually need to eat more.Wait, what? If you’re trying to lose weight, or recently stepped up your workout regimen and still feel hungry after you’ve eaten and waited 20 minutes to eat more, you might just need to eat some more. Other telltale signs that you might need more calories: you’re irritable a lot, have new trouble sleeping, are consistently low on energy, or can’t finish your workouts. In these cases, it’s recommended in the Beachbody Portion Fix Eating Plan to add one of the following to your day: two servings of veggies (green container), or one serving of fruit (purple container), healthy fats (blue container), or seeds and dressings (orange container).
Hope these tips were helpful! xoxo mc