Constant Munching: Ten Masked Reasons For Hunger – Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego

Constant Munching: Ten Masked Reasons For Hunger

Weight Control Therapy

The Solution to Eating Constantly

Do you find you are eating constantly? Is food on your mind on the minute every minute? Are you hungry? How do you know? It is not uncommon to eat out of what you think is hunger which turns out to be anything but.

When was the last time you were hungry—I mean really hungry. Your stomach was roaring like a wild lion looking for its prey. I bet it’s been a while.

Ten Masked Reasons for Hunger

1. Thirst: You are really thirsty and mistook it for hunger.
2. Bored: Emotional eating, such as eating out of boredom is a learned habit—one of which is difficult to break. Some say eating out of boredom breaks the monotony—which most people can’t endure.
3. Anxiety: Studies reveal stress releases the hormone cortisol, which can stimulate your appetite—and it is found eating can actually make your feel better—at least for a short while.
4. Alcohol: Alcohol affects your brain in ways that lead to the munchies because the substance switches the brain into starvation mode ramping up the urge to eat.
5. Lonely: Food can serve as entertainment—company if you will. It gives the illusion it can fill you replacing the emptiness, but of course this is not true. You, in time, will experience the lonely again once your eating phase concludes.
6. Angry: If you’re going for crunchy foods perhaps you are filled with rage or anger. Take a walk in nature which often redirects the rage to peace and tranquility. Getting another view—stepping away can make all the difference.
7. Tired: Did you get enough sleep? Lack of sleep leaves you lethargic which leads to eating sugary foods in hopes to catch the energy wave.
8. Habit: Often eating is simply a habit—something you do so without mindful attention—eating blindly. You see it and you eat it because you think you are hungry.
9. Stress: Maybe as a child when you were stressed your mom or caretaker gave you something to eat to sooth you. And now you see some of those foods, such as chocolate chips, doughnuts,  ice cream, and it tugs at that old familiar emotion.
10. Food Cues: Some common food cues that may influence our food choices include the feeling of hunger, the sight or smell of food, certain activities, people eating or talking about food and/or emotions experienced throughout the day.

I Really am Hungry!

Perhaps you really are hungry. If so, before indulging in food, wait ten minutes and often the feeling subsides unless you are truly hungry. Some real signs you are hungry are stomach rumbling and making gurgling noises and feeling empty and weak. Maybe you even have a headache and find yourself getting moody.

Yep, you probably are hungry.

Once you run through the ten steps, and still have hunger, perhaps you truly are. If you are experiencing weakness, heavy legs, and no energy, and you have not eaten a meal in over four hours, you may truly be hungry. If you are lacking concentration, feeling depleted of all energy, and you want to crawl in a corner to snooze,  you most likely suffer from a dip in blood sugar and need to eat.

Eating every four to five hours is good practice to avoid extreme hunger and eating the wrong foods. Perhaps you have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can cause fatigue and fuzzy brain.

Listen to Your Body

When did you last eat—and what was it? Eating foods that are not substantial can leave you hungry. Did you take in enough protein? Did you eat enough in your previous meal? Are you on a diet?

Diets don’t’ work—they leave you hungry.

Eating is a normal healthy activity during “feeding” times. Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner spaced four hours apart is a healthy regiment to keep hunger at bay.

It’s never good to be truly hungry or to deprive you of real food and regular intervals. You wouldn’t skip your pups meal now would you—or your child? How about your elderly parent? No, of course not, you would feed them at appropriate times.

According to Webmd , the decision to eat is affected by a host of factors such as: sights, smells, social settings, and more. The article goes on to say we eat to satisfy our appetites but also to sooth emotions, celebrate victories, satisfy cultural expectations, and because it just tastes good.

Understanding appetite and hunger has been an age-old study with many opinions, but all would agree the body’s systems are complex. Webmd notes, “Hunger hormones” (ghrelin) in your blood and an empty stomach signal the brain when you’re hungry. The article goes on to say nerves in the stomach send signals to the brain that you’re full, but these signals can take up to 20 minutes to communicate—and often by that time you’ve satisfied your hunger going on past to over eating.

Mindful Eating

Working with eating disorder population mindful eating is a common tool used by many treatment centers with great success. But, my warning is if you have a food addiction (eating addiction), or binge eating disorder, mindful eating might not work.

You may need to abstain from the foods that perk your eating cravings—foods such as: Sugar, flour, and Wheat.

Hunger is not the enemy. Eating is a good thing and satisfying your hunger is crucial in keeping you and your body operating at a maximum health capacity. Counting calories, restricting or trying to eat only a few meals a day will not only ignite binge eating but it will keep you from trusting and training your brain to eat regular meals at regular intervals throughout the day.

It feels good to eat when you’re hungry and there’s a real reason to eat. Enjoy your food. Savor its tastes and textures.

It’s okay to enjoy the feeling of contentment you get when you put food into an empty stomach and the additional satisfaction of knowing that you’re nourishing yourself.

Don’t be afraid of feeling hunger by pretending or denying it’s happening. Hunger is not your enemy. Food is not your enemy. It’s okay to eat when you are hungry. This is a normal process. Somewhere in the scheme of life this message got discombobulated and mixed with over eating, dieting, weight gain and fear of getting heavy.

I understand.

I stopped binge eating when I stopped running away from hunger and began paying attention t its messages. When I learned to re-fuel every four to five hours with nutritious meals in the right amount and correct combinations of healthy, real foods.

You can learn the difference between hunger and boredom—to know when to stop eating and experience satiety. Once you do you will find peace with your food, body weight and you will find the solution to eating constantly.

Do you over eat? Do you find you eat or think about foods constantly? I’d love to hear from you? What books are you reading that relate to this subject?

Keep in touch!           

Hugs—I care!
Dr. Lisa

About the Author Lisa Ortigara Crego

Speaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.

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