Are you actually hungry?

One thing I see very often and I think is one of the biggest set backs for people achieving their weight loss or wellness goals and that is knowing the difference between HUNGER, APPETITE and CRAVINGS. When you really focus and you understand them it's much easier to reason with your self and not fall into the trap of 'just giving into what you feel like' which most of the time is easy unhealthy sugary food or going over the top with portion sizes. 

So it's time to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY not your feelings (especially when you are bored at work, feeling emotional, tired etc that can lead to poor decisions) 

Hunger: Your Need for Food
By definition, hunger is "the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food." Simply put, hunger is a signal from your body that it needs food for energy. When you’re truly hungry, your stomach, brain, or both will give you cues to tell you to eat. 
Hunger won't go away until you eat something or in many cases the feelings of hunger can be caused by dehydration so just drinking a large glass of water or two can alleviate hunger pains in these situations.

Sometimes we get so busy at work we can tend to ignore these signals, time to retune back into the body and listen, stop, take a break, breath. Also try to eliminate distractions like tv, emails, computer etc as we tend not to register with how our tummies are feeling and can eat too fast then be looking for the next thing rather than waiting for the stomach signals to reach the brain to say that you are full (this happens with seconds...especially at social events). 

On a food diary it is actually a good idea to keep a rating of hunger vs fullness. So you can track what you know keeps you full and what doesn't, when is good times to eat and portion sizes. 

Give yourself a rating (especially if you are just craving something) 
1. I am starving, tummy growling, feeling dizzy
2. I am pretty hungry, empty stomach, low in energy, ready for a meal
3. I am feeling peckish, I have had a glass or two of water and still there, could do with a snack
4. Feeling satisfied, neither full nor pickesh/ hungry. Don't need to think about food.
5.Feeling a little full, pleasantly full
6.Feeling A little uncomfortable, went over my portions
7. Feeling stuffed, lethargic. 

So next time you feel like something to eat, ask yourself if you are truley feeling those hunger signals. No one one likes to get to the level of extreme fatigue or pain which can then cause you to grab for anything and blow out your good work so don't let yourself get that bad- keep healthy snacks on hand or plan meals. 
Once you begin paying attention to how you’re feeling before and after you eat, you can start to make changes in what and how much you eat according to your hunger. It’s best to eat when your hunger level is at 2 or 3. Once you wait until you’re at a 1 and are feeling very, very hungry, you are more likely to overeat or choose less healthful foods.

Appetite: Your Interest in Food
Appetite is not the same thing as hunger; it actually refers to an interest in food. It’s often said that someone’s appetite can override their hunger and fullness. Our eyes can be larger than our stomachs when it comes to food and can either increase your appetite or times of stress can decrease appetite. How many times have you sat down to a delicious meal and continued eating even though you were experiencing sensations of fullness? That, too, is an example of appetite overriding the signals from your body. As you start becoming more aware of hunger signals, do not confuse appetite with physical signs of hunger. 

Cravings: Your Desire for Specific Foods
Cravings are very different than hunger, yet somewhat similar to appetite. Look up "crave" in the dictionary and you will see "to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly." Usually, the foods you crave are NOT A NECESSITY, nor do they serve a life-sustaining need. They are usually triggered by emotions (stress, boredom, sadness, etc.), an attachment or fondness for a certain food, or proximity to appetizing food (e.g. going for a coffee but see the muffin in the cabinet and then get the craving for it when the thought hadn't crossed your mind earlier). 
Keep in mind that when you have a craving but are not physically hungry, you must look deeper into why that craving is there. Are you bored? Did you have a stressful day at home or work? I tell myself 'is this craving going to take me one step closer or one step further from my goal? Or what impact will this have on my health and body? Cravings for fruit, vegetables are great, its just the chocolate and other refined sugar and fats that cause havoc. 

Cravings are normal, its just about awareness and management. For example on the weekend I walked passed Starbucks and these girls came out with ice cold Frappacinos and I was like 'on a hot day like this I would LOVE one! However I stopped at the door, I had a quick think about the sugar, cream, calories, additives that may be in there, thought about my goals (avoiding refined sugar, keeping healthy body), realised how much exercise I would also have to do to burn it off (around a 40min run), asked myself did I want to spend the money on something that I would enjoy for a moment then make me feel guilty or put me on sugar high, I realised I wasn't hungry and if I still felt like something when I got home I would make myself a frozen banana chocolate frappe at home which would be delicious AND NUTRITIOUS and that's exactly what I did :)  Check out the recipe below....  

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