Even on our best days, hunger can get the better of us. We’ve all been there… feeling our stomach rumble as noontime hours approach. Cravings may kick in as all plans for healthy eating go out the window. What’s going on here, and how can we prevent it?
Why We Feel Hunger
Simply put, your body is a well-oiled machine – just like a car. You require a constant supply of fuel to get to other places, and you need routine care and attention to maintain good health. Without all of this, you may not be relied on and you can’t go anywhere!
We feel hunger when our body recognizes it needs energy from food. Food supplies calories (units of energy) and all kinds of nutrients to your blood stream. Hunger is our body’s response to having eaten less than what is required. If ignored, it is usually accompanied by hunger pains, fatigue, weakness, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating and other symptoms.
The Deciding Moment
Hunger is a natural phenomenon of our biology. But if you aren’t prepared for when hunger strikes, the consequences can be detrimental – especially if you are trying to manage your weight.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry and ended up with a shopping cart full of extra food? Are you one to fall victim to late-night snacking because your dinner was less than satisfactory? How many times have you forgotten to prepare your lunch for the work day, only to end up at the closest fast food drive thru? These are examples of how hunger strikes.
Tips for Controlling Hunger
It’s inevitable to feel hunger, but you don’t have to let it derail your progress with weight management. Consider these tips for controlling hunger so you can fight the urge to overindulge on unnecessary treats. Having a plan in place is key to long-term success.
- Eat a lean, protein-rich breakfast to fuel your day
- Carry healthy snacks on-hand in a lunchbox or Ziploc baggie
- Eat small meals throughout the day to prevent extreme hunger
- Drink plenty of water to help control your appetite
- Opt-for fiber-rich foods that help you feel satiated
- Pick solids over liquids when you need to consume calories
- Spice your meals to help increase feelings of fullness
- Exercise regularly to reduce sudden food cravings
Have a Plan
As stated above, having a plan when it comes to nutrition can make or break your goals. Before you begin your day, make it a point to plan out what you will do for meals. Not only does this minimize stress, but it keeps you on track! Start by taking a list to the grocery store and accounting for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Stick to that list and remember to pack food when you’re on-the-go. Don’t let hunger get in the way of your day!