Hunger Games may be a popular series of books and movies (although a bit unsettling) right now but we play our own personal hunger games every day of our lives.
We mentioned in a previous post about the situation we have in America today where people are over-fed and yet undernourished. And how that is contributing to our overweight and obesity problems.
Today, let’s look at..
The Hunger Games
Picture yourself at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon and you finally have a chance to sit down, after catching up on housework, laundry, washing the car(s), and various projects you put off till the weekend.
All of a sudden it hits you: hunger! You feel like you have to eat something. You want to eat something.
Is it hunger or could it be a craving?
We bring this up in an effort to point out that we don’t so much listen to our bodies in regard to hunger – true, biological hunger.
Instead, many times, we eat for different reasons such as:
- food smells good
- food tastes good
- it’s lunch time (even though you snacked all morning)
- everyone else is eating
- emotional comfort
Some of these reasons lead us to actually ignoring the signals our body can give us when we need nutrition and eat whether we are hungry or not.
To maintain a healthy weight, most of us need to be able to control our hunger. If we think about going back to when we were born, we ate when we were hungry (we let Mom or Dad know this) and we stopped when we were full.
As we grow up we lose that sense of eating when hungry and instead we eat in response to other triggers. When you were young you may have had to finish all the food on your plate whether you were hungry or not. Or maybe you suffered through eating broccoli so that you could have dessert, even though your body was well satisfied after your dinner alone.
There are different signals that your body can use to tell you that you’re hungry. Your stomach may growl or you have an empty feeling inside. Maybe you have hunger pangs or some other sensation that you feel when you are hungry.
You can stop and pay attention to what your body’s first signs of hunger are, and then track what you do when you feel them.
Are you eating in response to hunger and stopping when you are comfortable (not stuffed!)? If you pay attention to what your body tells you, you can relearn your own personal biological signals and then eat appropriately.
Tips To Control Hunger
- Eat protein and fiber foods because they help you stay full and have lots of health benefits.
- Eat smaller foods more frequently because it helps you from overeating and can help you burn calories better.
- Drink lots of water – we say lots because most people don’t drink near enough so you have to kick it up (8 – 8 oz. glasses)!
- Snack in between meals on low calorie foods like high fiber vegetables and apples (or other high fiber fruits).
Finally, here is a simple test for you to try that can help determine whether you are hungry or just thirsty. Since many of us don’t drink enough water, you may need a glass of water when you otherwise would have had a high calorie snack.
Before eating a snack, take the water test. Drink a glass of water and then wait for about 15 minutes. Decide then whether you are still hungry or if you really only needed a drink.