Excessive hunger is an everyday issue for a large part of the population and it’s not because of limited access to food.
Even when people are able to satisfy their hunger with high calorie foods like fast-food meals, doughnuts, baked goods, cereal bars and so on, the craving soon returns.
There can be a lot of causes to stubborn hunger that makes you overeat, but also enough ways to fight it, as you will see below.
The reasons why you feel hungry all the time
When you’re not exactly food deprived, there can be certain very specific causes why you feel hunger so often:
You’re not getting enough of a certain nutrient.
Although you may be gorging on food, it is perfectly possible to miss on some important nutrients. For example, if you’re mainly eating processed grains along with protein and sugars, you could be missing on vital nutrients found in fresh fruit and vegetables.
People frequently have a deficit of calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, potassium, vitamins and many more nutrients and elements that are absolutely necessary to good health. If you’re desperately needing one of these, your body will signal it through a sensation of hunger or craving.
Your hormones are out of balance.
Countless factors can lead to hormonal imbalance, from pollution to stress and to food itself (especially synthetic chemicals in food). An endocrinologist will check your hormone levels and make recommendations so that you can restore the balance.
You’re not eating nutritious food
It’s easy to fill up your stomach with “empty calories” food (e.g. common hamburgers and cheeseburgers, white bread). However, this provides very little of the nutrition we need in order to thrive. Thus, hunger could be your body’s cry for wholesome, nutrient-rich food.
Sometimes the reason is simply dehydration! Hat usually happens is that the individual mistakes thirst for hunger.
Too much sugar or sweetener.
Sugar and artificial sweeteners in excess lead to a too high glucose concentration in your blood. To avoid this, your body needs to “thin” it down. Therefore, it’s thirst you’re feeling, not hunger. Drink plenty of water and avoid eating too many sweets.
You’re not getting enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a main cause of overeating and gaining weight. When you stay up more, your body needs to compensate and get more energy from food.
How to stop hunger and lose weight
The hunger-causing eating habits described above will help you understand the ways in which you trigger hunger when you’re not actually supposed to have it. Now you have the needed knowledge and you can start making dietary improvements, so that you do less of what got you hungry and fat in a first instance. In short, this is what you must do:
- Drink plenty of water;
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed foods;
- Limit your sugar intake;
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated;
- Drink tea and coffee, as these curb your hunger;
- Get enough restful sleep.
Foods that diminish hunger
Eat foods rich in fiber (fresh vegetables especially) and generally aim for the more nutritious ones, so you avoid becoming deficient or loading your system with useless but fattening calories.
Fiber is known to control hunger efficiently. Include whole grains (oats, barley, wheat, rye) in your daily diet, which are slow to digest and will keep you full for longer.
Also, give your body the healthy fats it craves for (olive and coconut oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, fish oil etc.). Increase your protein intake – it can and should include plant protein as well.
Opt for low glycemic meals which don’t raise blood glucose levels too much and too quickly. You must aim for a slow, gradual release; this is why whole grains and resistant starches are good for you.
Low glycemic food makes you eat less frequently and helps you burn fat. Consume plenty of of foods with a high water content (vegetables, cantaloupe, melons, citrus fruits, cucumber, celery, broccoli, radish etc.), as these easily make you feel fuller.
As for the protein intake, calculate it this way: aim for 1.2 grams of protein for kilogram of body weight.
Good protein sources are eggs, beans and lentils, fish, chicken, turkey, soy, tofu, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, but also pumpkin seeds and similar ones.
Calculate nutrients before calories
Your aim is not to merely count the calories you’re ingesting, as this can be tricky. You must know where these calories are coming from. You can get loads of calories from soda, for example, but these will mainly be from sugar.
There are hardly any real nutrients there. What you must do instead is to aim first for variety through choosing wholesome, unprocessed foods.
Make sure to get your macros (protein, fat and carbohydrates), as well as the essential minerals and vitamins. You may want to take a supplement to ensure you’re getting enough of those.
Focus on your emotional health and well-being
Another major cause of feeling constantly hungry and overeating is found at a mental or emotional level. People with anxiety and depression tend to find solace in the so-called comfort foods.
From the simple act of eating a chocolate when feeling sad to eating huge plates of junk food to compensate for depression or a lack of fulfillment, people often “medicate” their inner troubles with food.
Talk to a therapist, meet your friends more frequently, spend time in nature, have a pleasant hobby, drink relaxing teas and take supplements for the brain in order to feel better and limit your emotional eating. Exercising (even something as light as walking) can also help you reach a better mental state.
You don’t have to give in to your hunger, nor do you need to torture yourself trying to resist it. Apply the tips here and you might soon get to see it naturally diminish. Hunger is usually a very important signal from your body, telling you that something is wrong and calls for your attention.