For those who struggle with weight issues, one of the biggest factors in weight gain is the inability to recognize what it feels like to be hungry. True hunger is a feeling that begins slowly and builds as time passes. Sometimes people confuse emotional hunger or thirst for physical hunger. When this happens, they eat and as a result, never get to experience what real hunger feels like.
Food is meant to be used as fuel for our bodies. In order to do this, however, we need to recognize when our bodies are running low on fuel. Just as a car needs gasoline to move down the highway, our bodies need fuel to perform at it’s maximum potential.
What are the signals that your body is experiencing physical hunger? Some signs that indicate hunger are a growling stomach, lightheadedness, shakiness, weakness. If you still have a difficult time recognizing physical hunger, pay attention to what it is that you are wanting to eat. If you find that you are craving junk food, but have no interest in eating something healthy like a salad, chances are you are not experiencing real hunger. If you are really hungry, a salad will be just as appetizing to you as pizza.
Another way to determine real hunger is to drink some water. If the perceived hunger goes away after drinking the water, you were most likely experiencing thirst, which can often trick you into believing you are hungry.
If you find that you are experiencing “hunger” at certain times of the day, chances are that you are feeling hunger that is triggered by some activity that you are engaging in. Some of these activities could be watching TV, socializing with friends, or reacting to stress that you are feeling.
If you find yourself feeling what you perceive to be hunger pains, take a few moments to rate the hunger on a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being low hunger and 10 being very hungry. If what you are feeling is real hunger, the feeling will increase gradually. The trick is not to wait until the hunger reaches 10 on the scale. If you do, you are more likely to binge eat, resulting in weight gain.
Learning to recognize the signals of real hunger is a very important part of long term weight loss. Take the time to evaluate the signs and you will find that you are on your way to successful weight loss.