Let's Talk About Hunger...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hunger...It comes in all shapes and sizes. Big, little, suddenly, over-time, monstrous, debilitating, etc.. For some, it's easy to not really think about your hunger and just go with it and eat whatever is in front of you. For others, it's easy to ignore those hunger cues until they are the size of a Megalodon chasing you straight to the pantry to shovel whatever you can find into your mouth (slightly excited about Shark Week). 

We were never really taught how to listen to our hunger cues, were we? I'm going to break that down for you today. Keep in mind, becoming in tune with your body cues takes time. Just reading this blog post will not make you the hunger expert for your body, but it is a HUGE first step! Read it, follow the steps, and repeat, repeat, repeat!

In my opinion, there are two different types of hunger: Emotional and Physical. 

Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, without warning, usually with a hefty craving of sugary carbs and a side of guilt. It usually leads to over eating, and the need for caffeine or a nap and then more snacking and the cycle just continues ♻ Emotional eating can come from specific upsetting situation like your boss yelled at you, your boyfriend is mad at you, you just scrolled through Instagram for an hour looking at fitness models and are feeling insecure, so on and so forth. It can also strike in other situations like being out with your friends or at the movies and you eat just to socialize. 

Physical hunger comes on slowly, with no specific cravings and no urge to eat right at that moment (it is patient). You are able to control what you put on your plate, and realize when you feel full and therefore not feel guilt. This hunger usually comes after not eating for 3-5 hours (depending on your metabolism and eating habits). Now, if you let this hunger get out of control, that's when you can start reaching for whatever is in front of you and shoveling it into your mouth! And if ignored for too long (past the shoveling), it can cause you to become dizzy and/or get hunger pains in your stomach. You do NOT want to get to this point! This is damaging to your metabolism ❌

Here are some tips for tackling hunger:
1. Define your hunger. Are you emotionally hungry or physically hungry? Review the definitions and examples above. 
2. Think back to your last meal. So you can't really put a finger on whether or not you're emotionally or physically hungry. Think about your last meal. Was it over 3-4 hours ago? Time to eat! Was it pretty recent but high in carbs, or low in fat and protein? Time to snack on some protein and fat (maybe some full fat cottage cheese!). 
3. Hydrate. Think about the amount of water you have drank that day. Is it enough? A lot of times we mistake our body's cue for thirst, for hunger. So if you have only had that cup of coffee with your breakfast today, it's time to hydrate! Drink at least 10 oz of water and then re-evaluate your hunger. 
4. Be prepared for hunger. Plan your meals for the day. Hunger is inevitable and it comes at least 4-5 (who am I kidding, 10) times a day, so why not be prepared for it?? Plan you meals and snacks so that you don't reach the point of "OMG so hungry I'm just going to eat this whole package of Oreos". If you are a really busy person (S/O momma's), set alarms on your watch or phone to remind yourself it's time to eat! 
5. Listen to your body. This is so, so important. It's a skill that is tough to master, but once you have it down you will be unstoppable. By practicing defining your hunger you will be able to identify when your body needs food, what it needs and when it is full. And your body will THANK you! Remember, eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full.

Why we crave carbs when we're emotionally hungry or let ourselves get to the ravenous, monstrous, "hangry: point:
When we are emotional, our levels of endorphins run low. Those carbohydrate-rich "feel good foods" (bread, pasta, muffins, candy, etc) promote the release of endorphins from our brain for a quick happy fix. The problem: it's a quick-fix, not a lasting fix and it leaves you feeling hungry and craving more carb-rich foods ♻
When we let ourself get "hangry" aka irritably hungry, that is a sign that our blood sugar is low. When our blood sugar is low, our body sends out SOS signals to the brain for glycogen (what glucose aka carbs aka sugar is stored as in our body), which is the preferred energy source. The problem here is that we usually eat the wrong kinds of carbs--those highly processed, trans fat containing, sugar loaded carbs, instead of whole food sources like rice, quinoa, fruits and vegetables. Moral of the story: don't let yourself get to this point! Provide your body with a balance of (good) carbohydrates, (lean) protein and (healthy) fats so that your body sustains a good amount of glycogen and energy throughout the day.

If you are trying to lose weight and are in a caloric deficit, it is NOT normal to be in a hungry state throughout the day. I once heard a bikini/figure competitor and coach say that being in a "damn I'm hungry" state when in a caloric deficit is normal and that "everyone goes through it". While that might be true (I have no idea, I have never competed or been close with anyone who has), this is NOT healthy and is NOT good for your metabolism. If anyone tells you that in order to lose weight, you need to be in a constant state of hungry, RUN! Run far away and don't look back. 99% of my clients are actually told to eat MORE than they are when they started. And guess what? They get results!! By eating more! It's amazing how your body will thank you once you start treating it with love and respect 😊

As always, thank you for listening and please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you might have. 

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