If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, there’s a good chance that you changed your diet in a way that left you feeling hungry. There is an even better chance that those hunger pangs are the reason you gave up on trying to lose weight. Committing to yet another weight loss attempt then, means finding a way to curb those feelings of endless hunger. We’ve pulled together eight of the best ways to control your appetite but before we dive into these strategies, let’s first talk about hunger.
The Science of Hunger
Scientifically speaking, hunger is the feeling you get when your body has burned up the food in your stomach, your blood sugar levels begin to drop, and the hunger hormone ghrelin starts sending signals to your brain that it’s time to eat. Your brain responds by stimulating your appetite. It’s at this point that your stomach starts to growl, your energy begins to fade and your patience wears thin. These cues help you recognize that it’s time to eat.
A similar process occurs once you’ve eaten. The appetite-suppressing hormone leptin sends signals to your brain that it’s time to stop eating. In turn, your brain responds by initiating feelings of fullness: you start to feel pressure in your stomach and often you become tired.
In essence, hunger is a survival mechanism – one that helps keep you alive.
But hunger shouldn’t be a persistent feeling, especially when you are eating on a regular basis. So what would lead you to feel hungry all the time? They’re called false hunger signals and they come in many forms.
False Hunger Signals
Your body does a pretty good job of telling you when you need food. The problem is that there are many other things that can falsely trigger the hunger sensation and can make you less sensitive to your natural hunger cues. These things include:
Sometimes we think we are hungry when really it’s just a craving that comes after seeing or smelling food.
Time is a cue that, out of habit, is used to determine when to eat and can lead you to think you should eat despite not actually being hungry.
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Next time you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and see if that curbs your appetite.
When your energy is running low from a lack of sleep or a hard workout, you might think eating will help perk you up. Though a little bit of food might give you a quick burst of energy, what your body really needs is rest.
Many people use food to cope with emotions like anxiety, stress, sadness, guilt and boredom. Unfortunately, food just acts like a band aid and doesn’t solve the underlying issues. Instead, get to the root of the problem and find other ways to manage your emotions.
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