3 Reasons You Don’t Need to Be Scared of Hunger
Hunger is mistreated. People tend to be either scared of feeling hunger or try to ignore it and hope it will go away. Neither response is helpful to being healthy.
Hunger is meant to be your friend for living healthy. If you talk to anyone that has had a healthy body for 10 or more years, they will tell you they experience hunger daily. Yes, daily. This is a good thing.
Mastering your hunger and fullness is a MUST skill for anyone looking at long term health. Ignoring or trying to beat hunger is a bad move and will lead to a wealth of problems down the road.
I want to share three reasons you don’t need to be scared of hunger and instead, hunger is a good thing.
1. Hunger is your body telling you something important
Hunger is your body’s physical way of communicating to you that your fuel tank is getting low and you need to refuel soon. In other words, your blood sugar has dropped and your body wants it to climb back up before it gets dangerously low. It’s time to get something to eat.
Healthy hunger usually sets in a couple hours after eating a nourishing meal or snack and disappears after eating to meet your energy demand. This is how hunger works when you are connected to your body and eating a nourishing diet.
However, if you are eating a diet high in sugar and refined flour or ultra-processed type foods, then your hunger signal may be physical but your body may be on a roller coaster of blood sugar highs and lows. This can lead to eating more often and even larger portions.
Appetite is often confused with hunger. Appetite is a desire to eat and hunger is the need to eat. Appetite is the psychological drive to eat that we feel in our mind and it does not disappear always after eating and isn’t influenced by the time you last ate.
When you see and smell food and all of a sudden feel an urge to eat, that is appetite. The practical difference between hunger and appetite is this: when you’re hungry, you eat one brownie; after that, your appetite may lead you to eat two more brownies just because they look appealing or taste good.
▣ Hunger is a physical symptom from your body while appetite is a mental urge to eat.▣
Unfortunately, many of us have been conditioned and unconsciously learned to eat for reasons outside of listening for hunger.
- reading the label and looking for the lowest number of calories or fat grams or sugar grams
- body distrust from years of dieting
- running calculations and going by what the numbers say
- see food sitting out or even see other people eating
- emotional response to feeling guilt or shame from daily life
Try and master eating for hunger. Hunger eating is a giant step towards lasting health.
2. Hunger Prevents Overeating without Calorie Counting
When your body gives you hunger pains ideally you want to respond by eating nourishing foods until the hunger is nearly gone or all gone. If instead, you ignore your hunger signals, they will get more intense and many people will then respond by grabbing for something and quickly eating just to make the pain go away.
It is easy to overeat if hunger pains are allowed to get intense. This is because hunger signals lag behind your true fullness.
Have you heard the 20-minute rule? The exact time will vary person to person but the idea is once you start to eat, the food you are eating now will not be reflected in how your fullness feels for 20 minutes.
The hunger and fullness signals in your body were setup for this lag in timing to allow man hundreds and thousands of years ago to overeat some because food was not plentiful. It is called a survival mechanism.
Problem is in today’s society where food is easy to access the lag in time for fullness to register can be detrimental and even disastrous if not understood.
Even if you start eating when you feel hunger, if you eat while distracted you could eat anywhere from 28 to 69 percent more than if you pay attention to your eating and don’t multi-task.
The studies for these numbers looked at a high-distraction group that were told to play a computer game that they were competitively trying to win money for while eating and also at a low-distraction group that was just told to play on their phones while eating.
So watch out if you are on your phone, are multi-tasking while at work (or home), or are watching television. I know how tempting it is. You will end up overeating no matter how careful you try to be.
If you think about it, if you pay attention to your hunger and eat nourishing foods in response to your body cues and stop when almost full, then you can do away with measuring cups and scales to track how many calories you are consuming.
Your savings when you eat for hunger are mental energy on eating appropriate quantities of food and time since no weighing out food, calculating numbers or this or that.
Your body is the best guide on what it needs. `
3. Hunger Eating Means More Nourishing More Disease Fighting Foods
When you focus on waiting until hungry and then eating nutrient dense foods to make the hunger disappear for a couple hours, this means grabbing first for low to no sugar whole foods like vegetables, whole fruits and intact grains overflowing with fiber and minerals and vitamins.
Yes, the EASY way to squeeze more health from what you eat is to use your hunger and fullness to eat nourishing, nutrition-dense foods to fill up, but not overeat.
You will feel great inside and out, guaranteed.
The bonus is these are the foods packed with phytonutrients, the powerhouses that fight disease. This type of eating is also low in added sugar thus giving you lots of strength to ward off cancer and inflammatory diseases.
Hopefully, it is becoming clear that hunger is your friend. Listen over the next few days to your body. Can you feel hunger? Is it in your stomach or other parts of your body? .
▣ Allow yourself to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are nearly full or just full. ▣