Posted on 11/23/2016 at 11:52 AM by Iowa Weight Loss Specialists
If you’re exercising more, you may notice an increase in appetite. If you feel like your constantly hungry for no reason though, it’s time to figure out what may be causing your body to think it’s hungry, when it most likely is not.
- You’re dehydrated. When you’re dehydrated, wires in your hypothalamus get crossed, leading you to grab a bag of chips instead of a bottle of water, which is what you really need. Hunger and thirst are often confused, so make sure you’re getting in enough water throughout the day. Start with a glass first thing in the morning.
- You need sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can trigger your cravings for sugar and carbs, even when you’re not hungry. Make sure you’re getting enough rest at night. Aim for 7 – 8 hours, although some people need a little more and some a little less.
- Starchy carb overload. Avoid simple carbs as much as possible as they spike blood sugar quickly and then plunge causing intense hunger. Stick with complex carbs that fill you up and have more fiber, such as almonds, apples and pistachios.
- You’re stressed. Stress increases the production of our hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which can trick our bodies into thinking we need energy, so our appetites increase. Trying to alleviate stress through meditation and mindfulness can help avoid cravings and increased appetite.
- You skip meals. The hunger hormone ghrelin increases if our stomachs are empty for too long. It’s important to eat every few hours to avoid overeating.
- Too much alcohol. People are more likely to consume high-calorie foods after drinking alcohol. Since it also dehydrates you, it can cause that confusion we discussed above as well, making you think you’re hungry instead of thirsty. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water.
- You need more protein. Lean protein and healthy fats will help keep hunger at bay. Protein helps us feel full and has an appetite-suppressing effect.
- You need more (healthy) fat. Like protein, you need to get enough healthy fats to help keep satiated. Nuts and seeds are easy options to keep on hand for snacks.
- Sensory overload. Seeing and smelling food can overload our senses and has even been proven to increase our levels of ghrelin. Try to limit or avoid exposure to food images by turning the channel during food commercials, not following food brands and avoiding the bakery at the grocery store.
- You eat too quickly. When you eat too fast you’re not allowing your brain enough time to register that you’re full and you overeat. Be mindful of your meal and take small bites and take time to savor each bite.
- Medications. Certain medications such as some antidepressants and corticosteroids can affect appetite. Talk to your doctor if you’re on a medication that you think may be making you hungry to see if there is a different medication available.
If you want to learn more about successful weight loss, attend one of our free informational sessions!