You just ate lunch an hour ago so why do you already feel hungry? Now all afternoon you'll be craving a snack, or two, or three, until supper time finally rolls around. You're trying to cut calories to lose weight, but these frequent hunger pangs make it difficult.
Read on to learn eight reasons why you feel like a bottomless pit.
Foods made with white flour (think: white pastas, cereals, breads, and snack foods) cause your blood sugar levels to spike and plummet soon after. Low blood sugar makes your body crave more carbs. In other words, simple carbs fill your belly for a short time, but because they lack wholesome fiber they don't leave you feeling full for long. Choose whole-grain options and fill up on foods high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. These ingredients take longer to digest so they stay in your stomach longer, prolonging feelings of fullness. Aim to include a source of protein, fiber, and fat at every meal and snack and you'll find you're not as hungry as often.
Don't be fooled. Your body may just be craving fluids when it's telling you to eat. Rather than hungry you may just be thirsty, so instead of snacking on chips or cookies, try drinking a tall glass of water, wait a few minutes, and see if you're still hungry. Then, choose a healthy snack. Drinking water before each meal has also been shown to help you eat fewer calories overall.
Financial strain, relationship problems, or deadlines at work may be to blame for your constant feelings of hunger. When you're stressed out, your body produces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. When these hormones are elevated, your body goes into attack mode and requires more energy. Hence, your ravenous appetite. Learn to manage stress in healthy ways such as exercise, meditation, or relaxation techniques.
Who knew sleep was so important? Without it you're not only cranky and groggy, but you're more hungry than usual. The amount of sleep you get affects the hormones that control your appetite. A lack of shut-eye increases production of ghrelin, the hormone that triggers your appetite, and decreases the amount of leptin, the hormone that signals fullness. Many people also turn to food as a stimulant when they're tired. Lesson learned: get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Candy sitting on the shelf, donuts in the break room, food advertisements on television, everywhere you look there are reminders of food. Since just thinking about food can make you hungry, it may be time to hide the food. Out of sight, out of mind. Unless it's fresh fruit sitting on the counter, keep other snacks and treats out of sight or better yet, out of the house.
Someone who's working out more than usual may notice an increased appetite. Exercising to lose weight can sometimes backfire due to the body's cravings for more energy. A big appetite can be an indication of an increased metabolism, which is a good thing for weight loss. You just have to be picky about which foods you choose to satisfy your bigger appetite.