Persistent hunger is not just irritating, it can be a major downfall if you're trying to lose or maintain your weight. You might feel like you're eating constantly, but if you're not eating the right types of foods or drinking enough, you will never be able to satisfy your hunger. Keep hunger at bay by changing up your diet and staying hydrated. If that doesn't work, make a trip to your doctor to determine if you have an underlying medical condition.
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Excess Calorie Restriction
If you always feel hungry, it may simply be because you're not eating enough calories. Your body needs calories to carry out all physiological processes and the amount of calories you need just to function depends on several factors, including age, gender, metabolism, environment and amount of physical activity. If you're not eating enough calories to meet your body's needs, it can cause you to always feel hungry. It's your body's way of telling you it needs more energy. Although the amount of calories each individual needs differs, you should never consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day.
Focus on Protein and Fat
If your diet consists of a lot of refined carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, and not enough protein and fat, you’re bound to feel hungry, even soon after a meal. Protein and fat help you feel full longer, reducing hunger throughout the day. Include healthy protein and fats at every meal -- choose fish, poultry, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts and low-fat dairy as protein sources over fatty and processed meats like sausages or bacon. Healthy fats include avocado, olive oil and nuts.
Pangs of Boredom
Next time you think you're hungry, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry or just bored. If you’re physically hungry, you may experience a rumbling stomach, headache or find it difficult to concentrate. When you’re physically hungry, a steak or a piece of fish with a side of vegetables will sound appealing. If you're just experiencing a craving, you may want comfort foods, like chips or cookies, instead of a proper meal. Next time you’re just sitting around and you feel hungry, try taking a 20 minute walk or reading a book from your favorite author. If that takes your mind off searching for a snack, you’re likely just experiencing an emotional craving.
Go See Your Doc
If cleaning up your diet and making sure you’re hydrated aren’t enough to battle those hunger pangs, you may have an underlying condition that’s causing you to feel hungry all the time. Columbia Health notes that an increased appetite may be caused by diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease, hypoglycemia and anxiety. Certain medications, like antidepressants and corticosteroids, may also cause increased hunger. If you’re concerned about your appetite, contact your doctor to rule out any health conditions.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- FOX News: 8 Reasons You're Still Hungry - Even After You Just Ate
- Columbia University: Go Ask Alice: Always Hungry
- US News and World Report: Hungry or Just Bored?
- Harvard Health Publications: Extra Protein is a Decent Dietary Choice, but Don't Overdo It
- Better Health Channel: Kilojoules and Calories
- Waldo County General Hospital: How to Understand The Risks of Eating Too Few Calories
- The New York Times: Always Hungry? Here's Why