Do you struggle with constant hunger?
Are you hungry again a short time after eating?
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “Why am I hungry all the time?”
Life as a Former Hungry Girl
As a former “hungry girl” I can totally relate. I was born with an appetite and love of food that for decades was hard to satisfy or understand.
Why did it take so much more food to fill me up than it did other people? Why was I usually hungry again within a short time of eating? Why was it so hard to lose weight even though I followed the nutritional advice of exercising and eating a low fat diet? It didn’t make sense!
I ate the same diet as my brother and sister growing up (AKA known as the Standard American Diet or SAD). But I was the one who seemed to need more to be satisfied and was often hungrier again in less time. I ate more and consequently weighed more than them.
Breakfast was most often high sugar low fiber cereal with skim milk or squishy white bread toasted with margarine and jam. All served up with a big glass of orange juice or Tang.
Lunch was usually a sandwich of more squishy white bread with chips or pretzels, cookies and the occasional piece of fruit. After school we often had cookies or some other treat.
Since my Dad worked nights, dinner was not as big a deal as in other families. We might have had soup and a sandwich, frozen pot pies, canned stew over rice, pizza, pasta, or a casserole of some sort. Vegetables were an afterthought and usually canned.
As I entered my teens and well into my 20s and 30s, I followed the dietary advice of the day. I avoided fats, ate little protein, filled up on carbohydrates and ended up looking a lot like the Pillsbury Doughboy – pale and squishy! I I walked, jogged, played tennis, and did lots and lots of aerobics but the weight clung to me like cat hair to a sweater.
I tried diet after diet, switched to sugar free soda and eventually joined Weight Watchers, where with much struggle I was able to lose some weight for a while, but it always came back like a boomerang.
After years of experimentation and lots of study, I’ve finally unlocked the secrets to avoid being hungry all the time and am excited to share them with you.
Blood Sugar and Sugar Sensitivity
I finally discovered that I am one of many people who is sensitive to sugar and starch. Highly refined carbohydrates in the form of sweets, breads, refined starches, crackers, rice, flour and cereals, send me on an extremely unpleasant blood sugar roller coaster ride. After filling up on these foods, my blood sugar rises quickly, then plummets leaving me cranky, shaky and ravenous!
Before I realized what was going on, my hunger would lead me to fill up again and again on low fat high carb foods – fruit, bagels, crackers, fat free cookies, pretzels, rice cakes, fruit, etc.
I ended up fat, unhappy, overfed and undernourished because I didn’t know how to fuel myself properly. And I’m not alone. Many people are sensitive to sugar and starch which has led to an explosion of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
When you see an obese person, chances are you are looking at a person who has messed up her metabolism and hormonal balance by feeding herself the wrong kinds of foods. I believe obesity is more likely the result of lack of knowledge and understanding than lack of will power.
There is a better, saner way to feed your body and manage your hunger that is worth exploring. It has worked for me and many others and may work for you.
It involves getting back to eating real food, balancing meals and snacks, limiting highly refined carbohydrates and eating more fat than the current “dietary experts” suggest.
When you fuel your body properly it has a chance to get back into balance, which is what it is always striving to achieve. When your hormones and metabolism are in balance, your body works properly and weight can melt away.
For the people on the planet who are sugar/starch sensitive, it’s about doing what you can to keep your blood sugar steady. Understanding how blood sugar and insulin work in your body can be confusing for those of us without a biochemistry degree so I’ve found it helpful to think of it in simple terms.
Most of us have bodies that like to be fed very very small amounts of glucose at a time. Think of a very slow steady drip, drip, drip from a faucet. When you blast your body with a lot of sugar/starch all at once, like turning on the faucet full blast, you flood your bloodstream with sugar so it has to release insulin to divert all that excess out of your bloodstream and into your cells.
Unfortunately, to compensate your body usually ends up releasing too much insulin which causes your blood sugar to drop too low and leads to hunger signals and another sugar surge, where the cycle repeats itself again and again.
These constant ups and downs are hard on your body can lead to obesity, insulin sensitivity, diabetes and heart disease.
One of the best things you can do for your body is keep your blood sugar steady so it doesn’t have to work so hard. It will reward you with less hunger, better hormone balance and weight loss that feels effortless.
I am slimmer, trimmer and more emotionally stable than I’ve ever been. My hunger never roars out of control like it once did.
It all comes down to eating the right kinds of foods in the right ways so that your body’s natural hunger/satisfaction signals work properly and blood sugar is kept steady.
Here are my 8 secrets to avoid being hungry all the time:
1. Eat real food and avoid the processed stuff. The more nutritious food your body gets and the fewer “empty calories” you consume, the happier your body becomes which results in a healthier metabolism and less intense hunger signals.
2. Include protein and healthy fats with meals and snacks. They take longer to digest and help keep you feeling full longer. Here are some examples of meals and snacks that work well:
Breakfast: Eggs in some form with 1 slice 100% whole wheat toast; 100% whole wheat toast with peanut butter or almond butter and fruit; full fat plain greek yogurt with high fiber cereal, fruit and a drizzle maple syrup; Steel cut oatmeal with butter or coconut milk, fruit, nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup; cottage cheese with fruit; leftovers.
Snacks: a handful of nuts; slices of apple with almond butter; popcorn with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle Parmesan; sardines on whole grain crisp bread; cottage cheese with fruit; hummus and raw vegetables.
Dinner: Salad, poultry or fish and vegetables; vegetable lentil soup; turkey or vegetarian chili; hearty soups, stews or chili; whole wheat pasta with lots of vegetables and turkey sausage; meat, green vegetables, salad with olive oil dressing and small baked potato with butter and full fat Greek yogurt.
3. Eat lots of vegetables. They are nutritionally dense – full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants – and fill you up. Try to include a rainbow of colors – white, green, yellow, orange, red, blue and purple – everyday.
4. Limit excess sugar. If you must have dessert, have a small amount – just a bite or two at the end of your meal – so it doesn’t send your blood sugar soaring. Avoid sugary drinks including soda and fruit juice.
5. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners. They perpetuate your sweet tooth, causing you to crave more sweets, and they they interfere with your body’s hunger/satisfaction signals which can make you hungry. I noticed I was often ravenous within an hour of drinking a diet soda. Opt for a big glass of water with lemon, vegetable juice, green tea or sparkling water instead.
6. When you eat eat. Stop multitasking through your snacks and meals. Your brain and five senses are a big part of digestion and satisfaction. If you eat while watching television or answering email, you won’t really taste your food which can lead your body to send out hunger signals even though you’ve eaten.
7. Get enough sleep. When you are overtired your body may send you signals that it needs more energy in the form of food. I often feel hungry when I am tired and really need a nap. Studies have demonstrated that people who are sleep deprived weigh more.
8. Drink lots of water. Most of us don’t drink enough water and again, your body may inadvertently send you a hunger signal when it’s really thirsty, especially if you have a habit of ignoring thirst. If you are hungry and there is no real good reason you should be, have a big glass of water and wait 10 minutes. Your hunger may disappear.
Now that you have read just how simple it can be to tame your hunger, I hope you’ll give it a try. Start with one thing and then try another. Before you know it, you’ll be wondering what ever happened to your constantly “hungry girl.”
Do you have other secrets for dealing with being hungry all the time you would like to share? Please leave a comment.
Or are you one of those lucky people who can eat all the sugar and starch you want without gaining weight or experiencing excessive hunger? I would love to hear from you too even though I might be a tad jealous! (In a perfect world I would be able to eat all the homemade cookies I desired without my body ever rebelling.)