You think you’re hungry and you’re ready to hit up the vending machine to satisfy your tummy. But is your body really telling you it needs a bag of chips to survive? Ask yourself if you’re craving food because:
- It’s your usual response. Sometimes we eat to forget about a bad day at work or we mindlessly feed ourselves in front of the TV. So, before you give in, wait 20 minutes, then see whether you still feel hungry. You may be experiencing a craving. If you think your eating stems from emotional issues, keep a diary of what, how much, where and why you ate. You may find a pattern, letting you address the real problem.
- You’re not sleeping enough. Not getting enough sleep can affect your appetite by increasing levels of hormones that tell your brain you’re hungry and decreasing those that tell your brain you should stop eating. Try setting an early bedtime schedule. You’ll be rewarded with more energy and less binging.
- You’re thirsty. You may be confusing hunger signals with thirst. Drink a glass of water instead of eating.
If you’re truly hungry, eating smaller meals with small snacks in between may be a better bet to keep you from consuming everything in sight. High-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains and protein-rich foods like beans, white-meat poultry and fat-free dairy products, will help keep you feeling fuller longer.