Ever wonder what exactly is going on in your brain and body when you feel hungry? Before you reach for a dollar and head for the vending machine or hit the cookies counter at your local coffee shop or deli, STOP and think about your hunger for a moment. Everyone experiences all three forms named below, and one of the biggest benefits of understanding the differences among the three is knowing how to feed each with satisfaction AND healthy choices.
1. Biological Hunger is genuinely physiological. This hunger doesn’t go away, increases over time, and is genuinely a function of your body’s need to replenish fuel. It is characterized by fatigue, a rumbling stomach, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and/or lightheadedness. By definition, the body experiences this hunger every single morning, though it is not always recognized as such because it coincides with the grogginess most people feel when they wake up. A shortage of time in the morning is the other reason that people tend to suppress any feeling of true biological hunger - they are in a hurry to get out the door and get to the office, and the body's needs end up taking a back seat to modern life.
Satisfying the body's needs requires a well balanced meal that includes natural carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Or more aptly, eating a breakfast every single day with whole grains, lean protein, and fruits or veggies. Most Americans don't have to worry about the extreme level of this type of hunger, and for the most part, even throughout the rest of the day, the hunger you feel is one of the other two listed below.
2. Sensory Hunger is when your body has food in the digestive tract, but your taste buds are not satisfied. This is a big problem for people who suffer from yo-yo dieting and other dietary challenges because they often make nutrient poor food choices (processed and sugary foods which trick the mind). Enhancing the color, flavors, texture and even the appearance of your food can satisfy this hunger.
3. Emotional Hunger is when the urge to eat is psychological, and this is the biggest problem people have who can't properly manage their weight. Eating feels emotionally pleasurable at the time, but doesn’t actually improve how your body feels. In fact, eating to sate emotional needs often makes the body feel even worse, which triggers a domino effect because you continue to eat to feel better.
Our team would be pleased to help you understand how your eating habits and exercise regimen need to work together to manage your weight properly, maintain energy, and enjoy life. Click this link to go to our no-obligation health history form. Someone will contact you via email within 24 hours.