When you’re following a medical weight loss plan, regular hunger pangs can be one of your biggest challenges. But what causes those feelings, and can you combat them somehow?
Yes, if you are able to identify what is causing your hunger in the first place. The following situations are common triggers for cravings and hunger.
You’re not eating the right mix of nutrients. Fat makes you feel satiated, protein keeps your blood sugar levels even, and fiber helps you to feel full. If your diet is too high on carbohydrates and too low on fat, protein, or fiber, you might experience frequent hunger.
Your hormones are disrupted. If you’re under stress, your body’s cortisol production increases. Cortisol triggers cravings, especially for sugary foods, which then leave you with a sugar crash and yet another craving shortly afterward.
When sleep is disrupted, hormones that regulate appetite are also thrown off balance. If you suspect this is the cause of your cravings (and fatigue, and probably grumpiness) then take the right steps to get a better night of sleep.
And of course, a woman’s normal menstrual cycle can cause hormonal shifts. If you tend to experience cravings at a certain time of month, plan to care for yourself with relaxing activities, distractions, or healthy self-care that takes your mind off of cravings.
You eat too fast. It takes around 20 minutes or so for your stomach to signal fullness to your brain. So if you’re rushing through meals, you might accidentally overeat before you realize you’re full. Slow down, focus on each bite, take frequent sips of your drink, and allow your body time to respond to the meal. You might find it helpful to put down your fork between bites. Engaging in conversation helps, too.
You’re distracted. Likewise, you might miss those satiety feelings if you’re distracted. Avoid screen time during meals so that you can focus on enjoying your food.
You’re thirsty. Yes, really! Thirst can often be confused for hunger, so when cravings strike, pick up a glass of water first.
Sometimes the cause of cravings is unknown. If you’re struggling with any aspect of your medical weight loss plan, give us a call and we can offer the support and solutions you need.