Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hunger Pangs: What to do?

So you want to lose some pounds, you are eating healthy, but gosh, you're just plain hungry, what do you do?

First thing I do when I feel hungry is to stop for a second (instead of just reacting and grabbing food) and analyze the situation to determine if I am really hungry or if it is something else...

I ask myself a couple of questions:
  • Am I hungry in my stomach or in my mouth?
  • Am I hungry for a specific food?
  • When did I last eat?
  • Have I had enough water?
  • Am I bored?
  • Am I feeling stressed? (boredom and stress are 2 of my emotional triggers, they may be different for you)
  • Am I avoiding doing something or saying something?
I typically find that if I am "hungry" but it is really centered in my mouth as opposed to real stomach hunger pangs, then I may be craving something and that is almost always an emotional thing rather than real hunger.

Similarly, if I am hungry for a specific food (especially if that food is high sugar or fat, like ice cream or chocolate) then I'm not really physically hungry. It may sound great, but probably I got some trigger from either a visual cue (like I just saw someone eating ice cream, or an ad for a chocolate bar) or I am reacting to a situation emotionally.

Generally speaking if it has been 3-4 hours since I last ate, it is possible that I am actually physically hungry. I still run through the rest of the questions. However, If I am having mouth hunger of specific cravings AND it has been 3, 4 or more hours since I last ate, it is possible that I have waited TOO long and gone beyond the stomach hunger point.

If it hasn't been that long since I last ate, then I definitely want to look at my water intake. Many times we think we are hungry when we are really thirsty. That is why I always have water with me.

If it hasn't been that long since I ate and I have been drinking enough water, then I want to look at my emotions.

If I find that I can honestly say that I'm not reacting out of an emotion--in other words I'm not trying to "stuff" my emotions by eating, then I will eat something. Even if it has only been an hour or so since I last eat.

I just eat something like, high in protein and/or complex carbs.

It is important to learn to listen to our bodies...we just need to practice listening! We are in the process of changing our habits and learning to listen to our healthy bodies and make healthy choices!

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