When you’re on a weight loss journey, the most difficult part doesn’t always involve slugging it out in the gym. It’s far more difficult to say no to your cravings and stop yourself from overeating. Hunger is your biggest enemy when you’re trying to restrict your calories because it can push you to make some very bad diet decisions. It can also make you cranky, unproductive and exhausted. If you’re always hungry despite eating a healthy amount of calories everyday, you need to find a solution for it. Here are five possible reasons why your stomach just won’t stop growling.
1. You’re Skipping Your Meals
Many people feel tempted to skip meals because this automatically lowers their calorie intake. However, skipping your meals can be one of the worst decisions you can make. In the long run, skipping meals will actually make you put on weight, because your body clings on to every bit of fat it gets to use as fuel. But in the more immediate present, skipping meals will only make it more likely that you will cheat on your diet. When you don’t eat, your blood sugar drops, making your body scream at you to eat something. Your hunger signals completely overpower you and you end up stuffing yourself with far too much food. Instead of skipping meals or waiting long intervals between each meal, always make time to eat something healthy. This will quieten your hunger signals and you won’t feel so tempted to give into your cravings.
2. You’re Paying Attention To The Clock, Not Your Body
We’ve been conditioned to eat three meals a day at specific times. Our body becomes so used to this schedule that at those specified times every day, it begins to anticipate food. It sends out hunger signals to your brain, making you feel hungry even if you’re not. If you’ve had a big mid-evening snack, your body is still going to push you to eat at your regular dinner time. This means that you’re going to feel hungry regardless of when you eat or how much. To break this cycle, you need to condition yourself to listen to your bodily cues and not external ones. Eat your meals only when you feel hungry, not because you’re used to eating at a certain time. If you keep doing this, eventually you will stop paying attention to external cues completely.
3. You’re A Slave To Your Cravings
Habits are a difficult thing to break, especially ones that give you a rewarding feeling. If you’re used to eating a donut with your coffee every single evening, you’re going to feel hungry when you cut it out. If you resort to a tub of ice-cream when you’re upset, your body is naturally going to seek that out the next time you’re sad. When you go on a diet, the first thing you’ll probably do will be to cut out these high-calorie indulgences. Once you do this, your body will send out hunger signals because it’s craving these things it’s used to. Don’t be fooled though, because you’re not actually hungry. The key to stopping this is to create new habits. Instead of a donut, eat wheat crackers with your coffee. Instead of ice cream, go for a long walk when you’re sad.
4. You’re A Stress-Eater
For some people, their body pushes them to eat more when they’re stressed. This is because food acts as a sort of reward system. Sweet food in particular, can give you a rush of happy hormones, making you eat more of it. So if you’re chronically stressed, you’re also probably chronically hungry. If stress is the reason you’re hungry all the time, you will need to solve the problem at the source. Start meditating or exercising more to reduce your stress levels. Anything that you love doing (apart from eating) will help you de-stress after work and ultimately, control your hunger.
5. Your Blood Sugar Levels Aren’t Stable
When your blood sugar levels are low, your body sends you hunger signals so you can eat and bring them back up again. If your blood sugar is low, it’s probably because of one of two things: either you haven’t eaten in a while or you’ve eaten something that spiked your blood sugar too high. The first situation is completely normal and will be resolved if you eat regular meals. However, the second situation occurs when you make unhealthy food choices. Food that are high in sugar and refined carbs are very easy to break down and so they spike your sugar levels. In a short while however, your sugar levels come crashing back down again, making you feel hungry. Instead, eat more complex carbs which take longer to break down and release sugar very slowly into your blood.