by Judy Weitzman, Diet Coach
Geez. Have you ever had one of those days when you could not satisfy your appetite no matter how much you eat?
It might not even be actual hunger pains, yet your mind keeps thinking about what’s in the kitchen or what can you get at the nearest fast food place for satisfaction.
Sometimes this is truly hunger rearing its head, but many times this feeling happens as a result of either dehydration or exhaustion.
Let’s talk about how to beat that feeling of endless hunger, which I often refer to as having a “tape worm” kind of day.
There are different scenarios that can cause us to feel hungry.
After a big workout is a common one. Have you ever finished an intense, sweaty workout and said, “I’m starving!!?”
Well, you could in fact be hungry. However, it is much more probable that you are dehydrated.
Your best plan of action is to drink a big glass of water right after your workout and wait 10-15 minutes.
Then, if you are still hungry, you should eat some protein and re-charge.
Since you gave yourself time to hydrate, it is most likely that you will eat less than if you went for the food first.
There are people who always eat breakfast and there are those who never eat it. I am a big fan of eating breakfast.
There are studies that have proven that by eating breakfast, you will eat less throughout the day.
According to Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City:
“People skip breakfast thinking they’re cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch, that person is starved. Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, binging at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure.”
Think about it, breakfast means “break the fast.” In other words, you have not eaten for about 10-12 hours and if you stretch it to lunch time it is closer to 16-18 hours.
You will be starving and most likely want to eat whatever, while you wait for lunch to be served.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a big deal. There are lots of foods you can enjoy on the run.
Grab a banana with a container of yogurt, or have hard-boiled eggs that you can take out of the fridge on your way out the door.
Cereal is also easy and to make it more filling, buy high fiber cereal and eat it with Greek yogurt instead of milk to amp up the protein. You will be full for hours.
And if you prefer to buy something at your local coffee shop, fast food place or bagel joint, there are lots of healthy options, like skinny bagels, oatmeal, egg white wraps or sandwiches.
Avoid the high calorie coffee drinks and pastries that will give you a sugar crash mid-morning.
The other time you think you are hungry is when you are tired. Many weight loss programs even say not to eat after a given time to avoid the extra calories that are consumed mindlessly at the end of the day.
If it is after dinner and you have had a bedtime snack, you are not hungry even if your brain is saying that you are.
Your best bet is to go straight to bed. Do not pass the kitchen, and do not take one more treat before counting sheep.
You will feel great in the morning because you had more sleep and you will be happier when you step on the scale and see it didn’t go up.
There are times when the hunger just won’t go away. One trick that works great is to sip on a cup of chicken broth (there are vegetable broths for those who don’t eat meat products).
This doesn’t have to be hard, they sell boxes of chicken broth at every grocery store and they even have spouts.
One cup is only 15 calories and very satisfying. It takes the edge off of your hunger.
Another trick is to wait for 15 minutes when the hunger pangs are present.
Find a diversion, like cleaning something, organizing, doing paperwork or any activity that will take your mind off of food.
Most of the time, once you get involved in a project, you will forget you about being hungry.
Remember, food is fuel. We only need enough to keep us going.
You would not put more gas in your car than it needs, so why put excess food in your body?
Eat for energy and good health, and your body will thank you.
(published September 11, 2014)
Judy Weitzman, known as “Diet Coach Judy,” has experience in the weight loss industry that spans more than 30 years. She is the author of How to Eat When Life Gets in the Way. Besides her professional experience, she lost 50 pounds nearly 30 years ago and has maintained her lower weight. Judy has successfully helped her clients lose weight and keep it off by helping them change their behaviors. Each program is individualized and the daily support she offers helps ensure her clients’ success. To learn more about Judy, visit her website at www.dietcoachjudy.com.