If you often feel hungry, you are not alone!
Each year I work with dozens of busy women looking to lose weight. Often times “binge eating”, “cravings” or “lack of control” come up as themes, other times attempts to maintain control by “undereating” and “overexercising” exist alongside common descriptions such as “exhausted”, “overwhelmed”, “frustrated” even apathy, as lack of a clear strategy leads to a resignation that things “will never change!”
At the root of the perceived “problem” is food–and more importantly, hunger. There are many reasons you may feel hungry.
Physiological hunger is biologically driven and is experienced in response to an empty stomach, low blood sugar, or an increase of hunger hormones. But there’s another source of hunger which might lead you to believe that your behavior is out of your control or incongruent with your desire to be thinner, happier or have more energy and this type of hunger is referred to a psychological hunger.
Psychological hunger is hunger that may be brought on by cravings, thoughts, feelings or some type of emotional trigger such as:
Five (5) steps to determine if you’re physically hungry or not
1 – Stop and evaluate. Yes, being hungry can be physically uncomfortable, but sitting with your discomfort is not harmful. Take a one-minute head-to-toe scan and ask yourself if you’re really hungry. Try to really identify if what you’re feeling is “physical” hunger or “psychological” hunger.
2 – Pay attention to where your hunger is coming from. Can you actually feel or hear your stomach growling? Did you skip a meal, and haven’t eaten in hours, or are you seeing and smelling something divinely delicious? Perhaps you’re bored, sad, or stressed? Still not sure? Download my FREE Emotional Eating Journal and track how you’re feeling around food.
3 – Ask yourself is there something I can do? If the hunger you’re experiencing stems from emotions, is there something else you can do? Go for a walk? Take a bath? Call a friend? Vent to your spouse? Ask for a hug? Take a deep breath?
4 – Notice and Name. Remember, feelings are just that...feelings…Acknowledge and observe them, accept and embrace them. It sounds a little “woo” but acknowledging what and why you are feeling something can go a long way in diffusing them. Ask yourself, what else am I feeling? If your emotions are in check but you’re not really sure if you’re hungry enough to eat, try drinking a cup of decaffeinated tea or a glass of water. Both will address thirst and you may decide that you’re not actually hungry.
5 – Eat. If you’re truly experiencing physical hunger, feel free to eat healthy and nutritious food. To fill you up, the foods you choose should be high in protein and fiber (like cottage cheese and berries) or high in protein and a heart-healthy fat (like peanut butter and apples).
Not sure how to best sort out your eating habits and behaviors? Leave your questions in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help out!
The first step you can take in identifying whether or not you are truly hungry is stepping back and taking notice of what you’re really thinking and feeling. It may sound over-simplistic or not worth the trouble, but it can make the difference between eating because you need to, to alleviate stress, or just for something to do.
Founder and Creator of Fitness MOMents® LLC
Trish Marmo is on a one-woman mission to help busy women over 40 “wake up” to becoming their best selves and reclaim their health and fitness! If you’ve woken up to the fact that what you’ve been doing isn’t working anymore more, or you don’t recognize the person you see staring back at you in the mirror, then let’s talk! Schedule a Breakthrough Session here or learn more about how I can help you here!