“Why am I always hungry?”
If you find yourself asking that question frequently — even after a full meal — it’s worth your time to stop and consider what’s really going on physically and/or psychologically.
Your body relies on food for energy, so hunger in and of itself is natural. Think of it like the gas light on your vehicle dashboard. When the gas light turns on, your car is telling you it needs fuel to keep running. Experiencing hunger is no different.
However, you’d probably be concerned if your gas light stayed on even after gassing-up. So, if you find that you’re still hungry after eating a meal or having a decent snack, it’s probably time to take a closer look at what’s going on in your body.
Still Hungry: What’s Going on?
If that pestering stomach growl lingers on, consider a few factors that might be at play:
Lack of Sleep
Being sleep deprived can give you a bigger appetite. It all has to do with the hormones regulating hunger which are influenced by sleep. When you haven’t gotten enough of it, you’re also more likely to crave high-sugar, high-fat foods and high-calorie foods.
Not all foods are created equal. 400 calories worth of chips and soda isn’t the same as 400 calories worth of grilled chicken and broccoli. Foods don’t always fill you up the same way, so opt for foods high in fiber and protein such as lean meats, veggies, fruits, dairy and whole-grains.
When you’re bored, stressed, sad, angry, etc., you are more likely to turn to food as a distraction. Complex emotions may prevent you from recognizing when it’s time to stop eating. Ask yourself, “Am I really still hungry, or do I want to eat food for a different reason?”
Some medications increase appetite and alter the body’s hormone balance. Antidepressants, antihistamines and some diabetes drugs are just a few examples. If you’re worried that your medications are causing this side effect, bring it up to your healthcare provider.
It may take a few moments for your body to alert you that it’s full. In other words, after finishing a meal, it could be 10 or 15 minutes before you feel the full effects of satiety. To combat this confusion, eat your food slowly and enjoy each individual bite.
Could it be Something Else?
If you’ve considered the above factors and you’re still concerned about frequent hunger, make an appointment with a healthcare provider. After examining your medical history and considering alternative circumstances, they may decide to run additional tests and look for a cause.
If any of the above factors above might also be at play, your healthcare team can look into the issue(s) further and help you determine how to address them to get back on track!