Feeling hungry is normal. In fact, it’s good – as long a it happens when it’s supposed to. Uncontrollable hunger, however, is becoming the norm. That’s not good. Even if it didn’t mean that our insulin is working overtime (which is probably is), or that our waistline is probably taking a brunt of the abuse (which it probably is as well), it’s all-consuming! You’re hungry, so you eat. But you’re hungry again a little while later. You know you just ate, so you try to get your mind off eating or give in to the next piece of candy, can of soda or piece of bread that crosses your path. Sometimes it seems like nothing you do can control your hunger. Fortunately, you can get control.
I can’t say that I experience uncontrollable hunger very often anymore. But when I do, it’s fleeting, and I can always trace it back to something I ate (or didn’t eat) in the hours before. Even though my hormones are urging me to eat something sugary so my blood sugar levels evens out, if only for a little while, I know that’s the last thing I should do.
Resolve Uncontrollable Hunger Today
If you’re unusually hungry before breakfast…
There’s nothing wrong with feeling hungry around breakfast time. But if you’re stomach won’t stop grumbling at 6am, you may want to look back at what you ate the night before.
- Did you eat too late at night? Or did you eat within 3 hours of bedtime?
- Did you eat or drink anything with a lot of sugar with your last meal?
Both of these can have an affect on your hunger levels in the morning. Insulin is a powerful hormone and does a great job controlling blood sugar levels. When we eat before bedtime, or if we eat too much sugary food late at night, our insulin levels go up. Insulin is released every time we eat (this is normal), but if it’s when we go to bed, it interferes with another important hormone called Human Growth Hormone (HGH). When HGH can’t get released properly because insulin is in the way, our body can’t repair itself and insulin doesn’t regulate like it normally would. This could lead to unusual hunger in the morning.
If you’re unusually hungry shortly after breakfast…
Feeling hungry a few hours after breakfast might be normal, but if you’re ready to eat cardboard an hour after you polished off your yogurt, you need to change what you eat for breakfast asap.
- Did you eat enough fat and protein with your breakfast?
- Did your breakfast have more than 12 grams of sugar?
- Was your breakfast too small?
- Did you eat too much refined carbohydrate?
Eating a healthy breakfast is so important…mostly because it sets the stage for the day. Skimping on fat or protein can lead to unwanted hunger.
Fat free yogurts, for example, are not only very low in calories, they’re also void of fat (obviously) and typically high in sugar. Instead, eat a 2% or full fat yogurt with a big handful of berries and cinnamon.
Similarly, an egg white omelet might be a good source of protein, but contains no fat. Your body absolutely needs some fat and there is no reason to worry that the egg yolk will make you fat. Go ahead and eat the whole egg! While you’re at it, throw a cup of berries or 1/2 cup of old fashioned (slow cooking) oats on the side. Chances are you’ll feel fuller for much longer.
If you’re unusually hungry (or tired) in the middle of the afternoon…
You’ve made it through the morning, ate lunch at 12:30, but for some reason you’re either famished or ready to crash around 3:30. Sometimes eating too many carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates, can be the culprit of either afternoon hunger or fatigue.
- Did you eat too big of a lunch?
- Did your lunch consist largely of bread, pasta, pizza, pastries or rice?
Think about what you’re eating for your mid-day meal? Ideally, our meals should have plenty of fiber from vegetables, some good protein and fat. Additional carbohydrates shouldn’t be the main act of the plate, but all too often they are. Big sandwiches, burritos, giant slices of pizza or bowls of pasta might be convenient, but they do your body no favors. Often times, the portion sizes are much too large and the amount of carbohydrates is too high. Remember, refined carbs convert to sugar quickly in our blood stream, creating a post-lunch dip (read: nap time).
First and foremost, drink water before lunch (and every meal for that matter). Think about what vegetables you’re going to have with your meal, then double that amount.
Take inventory of your starchy carbohydrates. Are you eating starchy carbs with every meal? Think about cutting back to one or two meals a day, and make sure the portion sizes are reasonable.
Keep an eye on your snacks, too. The average person eats somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 calories in snacks a day. That’s more than a meal for most people! If you’re going to snack, snack healthy.
What Else Can You Do?
I wrote a book called The Belly Burn Plan. It’s full of great meal plans, recipes and workouts to keep your entire body feeling great. I strongly encourage you to stop by your bookseller, or order a copy today. Don’t believe me? Read some of the reviews. They speak for themselves.
After you buy the book, join me on Facebook with The Belly Burn Plan support group. I’m there to answer any questions you may have.
Need more help, contact me about my personal training, coaching and corporate services. I work with people one-on-one (remote or in person) and speak to groups regularly. Get in touch with me today!