I’ve had clients ask me, “Why am I always hungry?”
I think it’s important to be able to get through the day without being hungry 24/7.
There are a lot of factors that influence appetite. Hormones like leptin and ghrelin play a role as does the composition of your diet.
One of the key factors I see in my overweight clients is that they don’t eat enough protein. I’m not suggesting you have steak three times a day. I’m recommending getting good quality protein in your diet regularly. The protein can come from meat, legumes, eggs, nuts, seed, fish, amongst other options.
Because it breaks down slower than carbohydrates, eating protein throughout the day can make a big difference to your appetite and cravings.
Next, watch out for eating too many refined carbohydrates. These types of foods can play havoc with your blood sugar, leaving you with a ravenous appetite at times. In contrast, having a small piece of meat with a bit of fat on it will keep your blood sugars stable as it slowly digests.
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I don’t eat any refined carbohydrates. I stick with vegetables, fruit, meats, Brazil nuts, almonds, and other gut healthy foods. My energy remains steady throughout the day.
By sticking with better foods, you’re at much less risk of getting overweight or developing diabetes and heart disease.
Keeping track of your sleep is important to appetite control.
People who don’t get enough restorative sleep will have hormonal dysregulation. Sleep deprivation increases the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And cortisol is notorious for increasing appetite and cravings for high-sugar, high-fat, and high-salt food.
Normal weight people with normal cortisol levels don’t generally have any problem getting enough sleep.
If you regularly wake up through the night, your leptin and ghrelin levels can be impacted. Ghrelin is the appetite-stimulating hormone, and leptin is the satiety hormone. If you’re not sleeping enough, your leptin levels can drop, and your ghrelin levels can increase.
Another reason people feel chronically hungry is that they aren’t eating enough fat. The medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut products will provide a very nice, slow burn. Including a small amount of healthy fats in your diet, such as sesame oil or olive oil, with help keep your appetite in check.
Not drinking enough water can sometimes leave you feeling hungry. Keep well hydrated at all times. People who drink water instead of immediately reaching for a snack can reduce their calorie load by 600 calories or more per day.
Make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet.
Not enough fiber. Many people are scared of fiber because they think it increases candida or dysbiosis—bad move.
It is essential to have an ample supply of plant-based fibers in your diet. By cooking your vegetables very lightly, you’ll ensure the nutrients, fiber, and flavor stays intact.
The sensation of fullness is going to last much longer if you have protein and vegetables for supper than if you have a couple of pieces of bread.
Lastly, don’t forget about distractions. People spend far too much time on their screens, snacking away mindlessly.
You need to concentrate on your food. You need to relax while you are eating.
Lastly, make sure you manage the stress in your life. Stress plays havoc with the hormones that regulate your appetite. Try deep breathing or mindfulness if you have a lot of stress in your life. You want to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system – the “rest and digest” system.
If you act on all these points, your weight will start to move in the right direction. Small steps today can pay off big time in the future.