In our years of working with patients following a weight loss plan, we’ve learned a lot about the various challenges associated with losing weight. Luckily, we’ve also learned quite a bit about how to overcome these obstacles.
One of the most common complaints we hear is, “I keep getting hungry, so I’m always tempted to ‘cheat’ on my meal plan”. While we know that true hunger does sometimes strike, we also know that there can be several other things going on in the body, that appear to mimic the feelings of hunger. So before you reach for a snack, learn about these confusing miscues, and how to overcome them. Sometimes, your hunger is actually one of the following…
Stress. Foods rich in sugar or simple carbs have been shown to boost serotonin (the “happy hormone”) levels in the brain. So, it’s no wonder that some of us crave these foods when we’re feeling stressed or unhappy. Unfortunately, what’s temporarily good for your brain is very bad for your weight loss plan! If you suspect stress or other negative emotions, try replacing snacks with another method of “self therapy”. Or, if things are really bad, actual therapy isn’t a terrible idea either.
Dehydration. Dehydration can lead to headaches, and feelings that are very similar to hunger. You might be dehydrated if your urine is dark or bright yellow (it should be light yellow to clear). Sip water more frequently, and see if you begin to feel better,
Trouble sleeping. Insomnia or frequent night waking can throw off your hormone levels, particularly those that regulate appetite. Your body is also searching for a form of quick energy to help you stay awake. So, cravings for sugar or other “comfort foods” might be the result. But of course, you don’t want to overeat simply because you’re tired. Analyze your sleeping habits, and make quality sleep a higher priority if this is a consistent problem for you.
Boredom. Sometimes, we overeat simply because we’re bored! If you find yourself reaching for snacks on a slow afternoon at work, or throughout a lazy weekend, get yourself busy doing something else instead. Take your mind off of the “hunger” for a bit, and odds are good that the impulse will vanish.
If you’ve reviewed this list in your mind, and still feel hungry, maybe you really do need a snack. Have we talked about healthy snacking habits? If not, come in for an appointment to discuss your weight loss plan. We can help you with recommendations for healthy snacks that won’t sabotage your results.