Are you constantly hungry and unable to stop thinking about food, despite your best efforts? You are certainly not alone. In fact, this is a very common complaint, especially among people who are trying to lose weight. The good news is there are very logical explanations for a seemingly insatiable appetite.
- There are many driving forces behind hunger: dehydration, stress, lack of sleep, meal skipping, high-carb or processed food diets, emotions, hormonal imbalances and medications.
- Gain more control over your hunger and cravings by eating a diet that centers around real, wholesome foods; drinking plenty of filtered water throughout the day; practicing daily stress management; addressing emotional and hormonal triggers; and creating a bedtime routine.
- Need help getting started? Schedule a 30-minute Q&A with our Nutritionist!
For starters, we have constant access to food! Unlike our cavemen ancestors who foraged for meals and were forced to cycle through periods of feasting and famine, the technological advances in our modern world have provided us with the convenience of all foods any time we want them. With fast food restaurants on every other corner, grocery deliveries just a click away, and gourmet meals dropped at your doorstep in less than an hour, we have become accustomed to instant gratification.
On top of that, if stress levels are high, depression or anxiety is present, or one is experiencing exhaustion, loneliness, insomnia or boredom, hunger can easily shift to a desire, rather than a true, physiological need.
Here are some underlying causes that may be driving your hunger:
- You’re Thirsty – thirst for water is often misinterpreted as hunger for food. Prevent dehydration by drinking filtered water throughout the day. The average adult can benefit from 8-10 cups of water per day with an additional cup of water per cup of coffee or 30 minutes of intense exercise. Bonus: add a pinch of sea salt; this will provide even deeper cellular hydration!
- You’re Stressed – stress causes the adrenal glands to pump out cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone that initially suppresses the appetite, but comes back with a vengeance later on. Manage your stress on a daily basis by eating well-balanced meals, incorporating adaptogens and daily exercise, journaling, spending time with loved ones and practicing good sleep hygiene.
- You’re Sleep Deprived – many people view sleep as a luxury, rather than a necessity, but this could not be further from the truth. Sleep is one of the most important contributing factors to health, wellness and vitality. Shutting down completely at night allows your body to restore and rebalance everything from hunger-regulating hormones to energy and the metabolism. Set yourself up for success by keeping a consistent routine that includes lighter and easily-digested dinners, dim lighting and limited screen time at night, and a cool, dark, quiet bedroom. Still having trouble winding down at night? Stop in to purchase a package of our Chill Pill Power Gelatin Shots for a natural melatonin boost!
- You’re Skipping Meals – waiting too long to eat breakfast in the morning or going more than a few hours between meals can lead to imbalanced blood sugar levels and drive later-day hunger and cravings. We recommend eating well-balanced meals throughout the day, especially if you suspect adrenal fatigue. Sipping on our Pastured Chicken Bone Broth mid-morning or in the afternoon is also incredibly helpful!
- You’re Eating Too Many Carbs – a high-carbohydrate intake, especially coming from flour products such as bread, pasta and chips, can easily throw off blood sugar levels. Keep yourself more balanced by eating primarily complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and adding protein and healthy fats to carb-heavy meals.
- You’re Malnourished – if you are eating a highly-processed or limited diet, have digestive issues, or often eat while stressed, you are not providing your body with a full spectrum of nutrients. Hunger will persist until you fuel it with the essentials: vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats. From Superfood Smoothies and Family-Friendly Soups to Dark Chocolate Coconut Energy Bites, we sell a wide variety of nutrient-dense meals and snacks in our Kitchen Market—healthy made simple!
- You Have Hormonal Imbalance – even slight imbalances in thyroid, stress, blood sugar regulating and sex hormones can lead to increased hunger and cravings, a slowed metabolism and impaired ability to burn fat for fuel. If you are experiencing any of these, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause or other hormone-related condition, consider One-On-One Coaching with our Nutritionist.
- You’re Emotional – feelings of sadness, boredom, anger and loneliness can drive the desire to eat. More intended to “soothe” rather than nourish, this type of hunger is more suggestive of a craving, rather than true physiological hunger. If you are able to wait it out or even distract yourself for 15-20 minutes, it will likely pass.
- You’re Eating Hyperpalatable Foods – processed, packaged foods are made to be addictive! Containing the perfect balance of salt, fat, crunch and sugar, items such as chips, crackers, cookies and cereal light up specific areas of the brain that are associated with addiction. This drives your desire to keep consuming, purchasing and craving even more of these foods. By shifting to a real, whole food -based diet, you will rebalance your body and gain control over your eating habits.
- It’s a Side Effect of Medication(s) You’re Taking – medications such as antidepressants and steroids are known to increase the appetite and contribute to weight gain. By balancing out your meals and incorporating healthy lifestyle practices, you can help mitigate these side effects!
Between constant access to hyperpalatable foods, chronic dehydration and nonstop lifestyles, Americans are constantly “hungry”, but for every other reason than actual hunger. Clearly, there are many forces that drive the appetite. By pinpointing your specific trigger(s), you can start making true progress towards your health goals. Not sure where to start? Let our Nutritionist help guide you in a 30-minute Q&A Session!