Hunger is your body’s way of telling your brain that you need fuel to continue to function at your highest level. It is usually a gradual process that gets more intense over time; so do not be fooled by cravings that come on suddenly as they may not even be hunger related. When you succumb to cravings, you will not really ever be quite satisfied once you devour the craving. Your stomach is around the size of your fist, and it does not take a lot to become full and completely satisfied from the hunger pangs. Analyze your hunger and decide if it is really something that is fuel driven or mind driven to save you from overeating later on.
When you are done eating after truly being hungry you will feel more energized and awake. You should never feel bloated, tired, or uncomfortable after eating and if this happens it may be due to cravings versus hunger.
Questions To Ask:
If you are not sure if the feeling of wanting food is hunger or craving related ask yourself these simple questions.
Is your stomach growling?
What do you want to eat?
Was it a gradual hunger or an instant hunger? Cravings are usually instant.
Am I really hungry? Do I feel queasy and light headed due to lack of calories?
Head hunger is much different than stomach hunger, so by asking those simple questions you will be able to dwindle your cravings down to reality. Who would have thought that deciding if you are hungry or not could be such an adventure?
Know Your Triggers
We have all been conditioned to think about eating while going to a movie theatre for example. The smell of the buttery popcorn is sometimes just irresistible, even if you are not hungry at all! It is comforting knowing you can go to a movie and enjoy a nice buttery snack. Seeing other people eating is also a trigger, even if you yourself are not hungry at all! Understanding the triggers will also help you to accurately gauge whether or not your idea of food is coming from a craving or a real hunger pang waiting to be satisfied with your next meal.
Wait It Out
At the end of the day if you are having a hard time deciphering your cravings from real hunger, wait about ten minutes and re-analyze. If it is a true craving, you won’t be thinking about food once you are distracted. If you are really getting hungry it will only intensify to the point where you cannot think without refueling your body. This is probably one of the most effective things you can do when you think a craving is on its way!
At the end of the day you want to feel healthy, strong, and in control of your diet that is why it is important to sit back and analyze the situation before diving into your next meal. They always say that true hunger makes food taste even better, so enjoy!