Hunger is a tricky sensation. Our bodies and brain may tell us we are hungry for a variety of reasons. While our ancestors almost certainly required nutrition every time their bodies and minds said “eat,” this is not the case for a modern human being.
Sometimes we legitimately need refueling! Other times we may be eating because we can–are we emotionally hungry, bored hungry, stressed hungry, or really hungry. There’s a simple test. We can ask ourselves, “Would I eat broccoli right now?” If the answer is yes, we are probably truly hungry. If the answer is no, then maybe we aren’t really hungry. If broccoli isn’t your thing, then maybe you can substitute another healthy vegetable like cauliflower or green beans; or maybe a healthy fruit like an apple.
Whatever we consider a healthy food, we should ask ourselves if we’d eat that particular item instead of the chocolate candy or doughnut in our hand. If we’re really hungry, we’d be better off eating that broccoli or apple instead of the candy or doughnut. We should ask ourselves if that candy or doughnut would really make us feel better or if we are mindlessly eating it because it’s there.
It might be best to wait until you actually have hunger pangs before eating that snack. You’d be surprised by how little you really need to eat during the day. It’s mind over matter. Maybe you just need a distraction – like a walk or a good book.
Remember, you can also have a glass of water or a low calorie beverage to make us feel a little more full (and depending on what we chose to drink, hydrate!). After 3-4 weeks of not giving in to snacking our bodies will often readjust and we won’t feel as hungry all day.
We should remember: think before you eat!