Mar 5th, 2019
Author: Cocoon Web Design
Getting in touch with our individual hunger signals and honoring them with nourishing, energizing food is an important skill…but how many of us are really in-tune with these signals?
Oftentimes when we think we are hungry, our bodies might actually be trying to tell us something else, such as we are thirsty or stressed. On the other hand, there are instances when our bodies are truly in need of a quick snack or meal, but we cannot quite recognize those cues. To keep you feeling balanced and energized all day long, learn to get in tune with your own hunger, when your body may be asking for something other than food, as well as how to take
action on these signals in a healthy way. (References: My Fitness Pal and Muscle and Fitness)
The next time you think you might be hungry, take a closer look at the symptoms and ask yourself these questions:
– Ask yourself if you are dehydrated
What it means: When you are so thirsty that you are dehydrated, you will likely get a headache. Headaches can feel like low blood sugar, which you may mistake as a sign to eat.
What to do: Try drinking eight ounces of water. While experts often recommend 64 ounces of water per day, as general rule of thumb, your urine should be pale and either very clear or light yellow. If it is darker, then you are dehydrated.
– Ask yourself if you are stressed
What it means: Some people look to soothe themselves with sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods when stressed. Research has shown these foods boost levels of serotonin, making you feel calm temporarily. However, emotional eating will not solve the underlying problem.
What to do: Savoring a delicious meal or snack can help reduce stress if done mindfully. Sit down to a meal without distractions, eat slowly enough that you taste every bite, and focus on how the food is making you feel. This also makes it easier to stop eating when you have had enough. Also, try calling a friend to help relieve stress instead of reaching for a snack.
Are you having trouble focusing and low on energy?
-Ask yourself if you are tired
What it means: Since food is fuel, it makes sense that you crave extra when you are sleep- deprived or low on energy. This can lead to less nutritious food choices and possibly overeating.
What to do: Sleep is crucial for health, since it is when your body recharges and repairs itself. Instead of refueling late at night with a snack, you might be better off going right to bed. If you are well-rested and feeling hungry in the middle of the morning or afternoon, it could very well be that your body needs a “pick-me-up”. In that case, choose snacks that pack a combination of healthy fats, protein and fiber and aim to keep them below 250 calories, especially if you are also eating normal-sized meals.
-Ask yourself if you are bored
What it means: If you have ever found yourself constantly reaching for cookies on a particularly slow work day or plowing through your snack stash on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you are likely eating out of boredom. Eating can give us a temporary sense of purpose when we are not sure what else to do.
What to do: If you are bored, you probably do not need to eat. Instead, try finding some easy activities or games to do instead, or go for a short walk.
How to recognize when you are actually hungry:
It is be hard to define what hunger feels like, since it can different for everyone.
Light-headed, dizziness, an empty or growling stomach, irritability, and the inability to concentrate are all common signs of hunger. It is important to be in tune with these cues. If your body is telling you to eat and you have asked yourself the above questions without significant those symptoms, then eat a healthy, low-calorie, high-fiber snack. It is crucial to have a well-stocked kitchen (and bring with you to work/school/activities) with plenty of healthy foods.