Diet Busters: Why Am I So Hungry?
Staying on a diet is a challenging endeavor, which can often be made more difficult by random days when you feel ravenously hungry for no particular reason. Researchers find that there are some common reasons why these especially hungry days occur, and understanding the triggers for hunger can help you to manage these events more successfully.
Not replacing the water you lose during ordinary activities or physical workouts can make you feel more hungry during the day. The brain registers a need for fuel but not necessarily thirst. Physicians and fitness experts recommend staying well hydrated throughout the day, whether you are engaging in everyday work activities or a strenuous workout. You will find you have fewer hunger pangs and won’t feel the need to overeat.
Not Enough Sleep
Researchers have found that people who sleep less than six hours each night have a greater body mass index. The reason is not just that you have more time to be awake and snack. They find that inadequate sleep can affect hormone levels in the body that trigger increased appetite and greater calorie consumption. Getting enough sleep can help you to feel better during the day, eat more moderately and lose weight faster.
Too Much Stress
Prolonged stress increases certain types of hormones in the body. These hormones are known to contribute to increased appetite and the habit of overeating. This feeding behavior appears to be an attempt to increase the amounts of soothing brain chemicals. If you can moderate your stress levels with meditation, biofeedback or other methods, you will find that you will manage hunger better as well.
Many women feel particularly hungry during the pre-menstrual phase when hormone levels are in a fluctuating state. Scientists posit that the increased appetite helps to nourish the body for a potential pregnancy, whether or not conception occurs. This same type of pre-estrus feeding has been observed in some species of animals. Be prepared for these hunger pangs with low calorie, satisfying foods.
Effect From Medications
Some medications can have the side effect of increasing appetite. These drugs change the types and amount of chemicals in the brain and can interfere with “satisfactions” signals. Sleep aids, antihistamines, birth control pills and antidepressants are notorious for causing people to put on pounds, but other medications such as steroids and migraine medications can also have this effect. If you find increased hunger from taking your usual medications, try a different drug to see if you have a less intense effect.
Too Many Sweetened Drinks
Some research indicates that using sweet soft drinks can cause the body to crave more calories on a habitual basis. Even consuming drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners can trick the brain into expecting the delivery of calories without actually providing the calorie satisfaction. This rebound effect can leave people feeling ravenous and can lead to consuming more calories. Instead of sweetened drinks, try sipping water flavored with a bit of fruit juice.
Bad Breakfast Choices
Starting your day with the right foods can help your metabolism and calorie consumption throughout the day. Eating sugary breakfast cereals or foods high in carbohydrates can cause the blood sugar fluctuations that lead to hunger pangs throughout the day. Dietary experts recommend having high protein foods early in the day to provide a good foundation for the day’s nutrition. Proteins metabolize more slowly and sustain an even glucose level in the blood to keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. You will then find that overwhelming hunger is less of a problem.