Oh, that knowing feeling in your gut, as it clenches and drives you to distraction. You want to eat, but if you're trying to lose weight, you really shouldn't… dinner's just a couple of hours away, isn't it?
Food is an essential part of being healthy and choosing the right types of food at the right time is key. Yes, when you're losing weight, you'll probably be hungry sometimes, but what is hunger? How do you know if you really feel and hungry? Or if it's just that you're used to eating?
Why Do You Feel Hungry?
The feeling of hunger describes a couple of different conditions. Hungry is a strange combination of various hormones dictating what your body needs. Let's take a look at that.
When your stomach empties, it turns out a signal for ghrelin, a hormone that causes you to feel hungry. It signals your body needs more food because food is fuel.
So, you may be truly hungry and need more food. But, ghrelin can trick you into craving things you really shouldn't. It can trigger a desire for sweets or whatever is first in front of you.
Another aspect of your hormones dictating your hunger is insulin. When your blood sugar drops to a certain level, your body has an overabundance of insulin. That triggers you to be hungry to get more sugars into your system to take care of the insulin. You may not actually be hungry or need food, you just have a craving for more sugar.
This is why people who start the keto diet seem to be ravenously hungry for the first week or so. Their bodies are craving the sugars they are used to eating, and it takes significant self-discipline to not give in to it.
Taking a look at a more unusual aspect is your circadian rhythms and the different hormones produced at other times during the day. Your body has gotten used to eating at certain times, breakfast first thing in the morning, lunch about midday, dinner in the evening. You may be used to having snacks at certain times, too.
When you eat regularly, your body anticipates eating like that and produces the hormones in anticipation of food. If you don't have food, your body tricks you into thinking it's hungry.
And a final aspect is you may not be hungry at all, you may just need more water. If you're not drinking enough water, your body may turn to an alternative source for fluid: your food. That's why some recommendations say whenever you feel hungry to take a large glass of water.
How To Overcome A Blood Sugar Drop
Before we get into this part, we want to tell you that you should pay attention to what you eat and how you eat if you have diabetes or have a medical condition influenced by your blood sugars. A blood sugar drop for a person with diabetes can be a true medical emergency.
But, if you don't have those problems, low blood sugar is not so severe. Your body will release glycogen from your muscles and liver to combat the low sugar. It just takes a little bit of time.
In the meantime, you can adjust your body's expectations by eating something high fat or protein and low carb. Nuts are a perfect example of this. Although they do have a minimal amount of carbs, once your body eats a little food, it helps turn off some of those expectations. Your body adjusts quickly.
People doing the keto diet often experience this, which is why it's essential to work with a nutritionist if you have blood sugar problems.
How To Train Your Mind So You Don't Need To Eat Right Now
The one thing we acknowledge is that it's super hard to retrain your body that you don't need to eat multiple meals a day. It's hard to cut back on the amount you eat at each meal. Congrats on taking the initiative to do it! Here are some steps that can help:
- Decide this is what you're going to do. Make a formal commitment to yourself that you will cut out specific snacks, only take one helping, or eat more moderately.
- Drink more water. It helps flush out your system and balance your hormones.
- Pay attention to what you are feeling. Experience the sensation of being hungry. Is it your stomach that is empty? Your blood sugars that are low? Do you need more water, or is it just time to have a snack?
- Once you figure out what your body is trying to tell you, satisfy the need. That could be getting more water or having the discipline not to eat anything. If you do not have a problem with blood sugar, let your body rebalance itself and avoid the snack. If you have blood sugar problems, choose a healthy snack that will give you a little bit of sugar but does not cause a blood sugar spike. Apricots work well for this.
- Keep going with your self-discipline. It takes effort to be able to change your habits. And this is what snacking and your hormones developed from, your habit of eating.
We know it's tough, and you have to pay attention to your body. You have the incredible ability to change your habits and your life to move into a frame of mind and a healthier body. It takes a lot of healthy choices, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and avoiding unhealthy snacks.
Once you do, you'll be happy. It does boil down to a lot of self-discipline.
Otherwise… go drink a glass of water.