Feeling hungry all the time can really wreak havoc on your weight and overall health. If you always feel hungry, chances are you are eating more than you should as you try to satisfy that hunger.
This results in a large number of calories that can lead to weight gain. Being overweight can cause all kinds of health issues, from joint pain to diabetes to heart disease to cancer. Getting to the root of your hunger is one way to help control how much you’re putting into your mouth and taking control of your health once and for all.
Here are the most common reasons that people feel hungry all the time.
You Don’t Get Enough Fiber
Fiber is a nutrient that is really effective for controlling hunger and weight. When you eat fiber, it bulks up in your digestive system and is digested very slowly, which translates to feeling full for longer periods of time, when compared to eating foods low in fiber.
Because many foods that are also rich in fiber are low in calories, you can really take control of things by upping your daily fiber intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average woman needs 21 to 25 grams of fiber each day while men should be getting between 30 and 38 grams of fiber on a daily basis. This varies by age so talk to your doctor about the right amount for you.
Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods should be eaten with every meal to help keep your appetite satiated throughout the day, which can help prevent snacking between meals as well as overeating at meals. It’s best to gradually increase your fiber intake rather than boosting it all at once so that you don’t suffer from digestive disturbances and diarrhea.
Consider The Rate Of Your Metabolism
Most people complain of a sluggish metabolism, but some people have a really fast one, which means their body burns calories faster, creating that feeling of hunger. If you’ve recently increased your muscle mass, your body may naturally need more calories since lean muscle mass makes your metabolism faster.
Genetics also plays a role in the speed of your metabolism. The trick to satisfying this is to choose healthy foods and eat them in small portions until you feel satisfied. Don’t let your fast metabolism trick you into thinking you can eat anything and everything you want, because that’s a surefire way to pile on the pounds.
Do You Eat A Lot Of Refined Foods?
Refined foods are processed and often stripped of their good-for-you nutrients. These foods might fill you up at the moment of eating, but digest quickly, leaving you feeling hungry soon after. At the same time, they can spike your blood sugar, causing you to feel hungry.
These highly refined foods have also been found to increase feelings of depression, which messes with hunger hormones, causing you to want to overeat to make yourself feel better. As mentioned above, choosing whole grain products is best. This goes for bread, cereal, crackers and pasta.
Happy Hour Could Be Your Downfall
If you account for the calories in your cocktails at happy hour, you can generally indulge now and then without worrying about it. However, constantly kicking back with a few drinks increases your calorie intake, which leads to weight gain and a slower metabolism.
At the same time, getting a little bit tipsy lowers your inhibitions and increases the chances that you’ll nibble the peanuts all night or choose a fatty, greasy burger to go with the drinks rather than making a healthier choice.
You don’t have to skip happy hour, but stick to one drink and order healthy foods, or wait to eat until you get home. The less you drink, the less your appetite, which can often save you hundreds, if not thousands, of calories.
Your Hormones Could Be To Blame
In many cases, you can blame your hormones on your insatiable appetite. According to experts, if your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can interfere with your hormone levels, causing you to feel really hungry all the time.
Hypoglycemia and diabetes can also cause spikes in your hunger levels that will lead to overeating when you shouldn’t be. If you suspect that your hormone levels could be causing your extreme hunger, it’s important to make an appointment with your doctor to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Often, treating the underlying issue can help alleviate the excess hunger that you’re experiencing.
Maybe You’re Just Thirsty
Many times people mistake hunger for thirst. When you are dehydrated, even just to a small degree, your body could be telling you that you’re hungry, which will cause you to eat when you don’t need to. Try having a glass of water when hunger strikes, and you might be surprised to find that you were simply thirsty rather than being hungry.
Experts also suggest sipping water throughout the day to ensure that you stay hydrated on a regular basis. In general, if your urine is light yellow or clear in color, you are probably well-hydrated. On the other hand, if it’s dark yellow, you probably need more fluids.
You Aren’t Getting Enough Fat In Your Diet
Your body needs a certain amount of fat to function properly, so cutting back too far can do a number on your appetite. Fat fills you up and keeps you feeling full, so skimping on it could be the reason why you feel hungry all the time. This doesn’t mean you can go crazy and eat all the cake and fast food French fries that you want. You need to choose healthy fats such as those found in salmon, avocado and nuts, which give you the fat you need while also benefiting you in other ways. Additionally, these foods contain other nutrients that you need for good overall health.
Stop Skipping Meals
The problem with overeating can often be blamed on skipping meals. You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by saving calories when you forgo a meal, but that is usually not what happens. When you skip a meal, you let yourself get too hungry, which can lead to overeating at your next meal.
Instead of saving you calories, you could wind up eating more than you should have and sometimes more than two meals anyway. When you get too hungry, your judgement also tends to become clouded, which can lead to making poor food choices when you do eat again. Experts suggest eating several small meals per day to keep your energy levels even and prevent yourself from becoming so ravenous that you eat anything and everything.
Why are you so hungry? What choices will you make to ensure that you stay full and make healthy food decisions going forward?