If you're constantly hungry, then you know the pain and agony of living in a world that isn't a 24/7 buffet. I mean, what's a girl to do when she's feeling insatiable all day long? It can even be a bit disturbing to feel this way, especially when you have eaten.
The thing is, it's kinda fun at first. I mean, who doesn't love to eat? When you're incessantly famished, you're always down for dessert, or dinner with friends, or delicious free pizza at work. And yet it can get annoying when you're, say, stuck at your desk with no snacks in sight. Plus, your thoughts always trickle back to that dumb joke your friend made about having a tapeworm, and you start to worry if something is seriously wrong.
Constant hunger is usually nothing to worry about. In fact, it can often be explained away by something quite simple like stress or exhaustion, which are both easy fixes. So don't worry about your secret snack purse, your pizza delivery guy's phone number being on speed dial, or your desire to take midnight trips to Taco Bell.
But if that rumbling is bothering you, or you're looking to put an end to the cravings, then check out these eight reasons why you may be feeling famished, and what you can do about it.
1. You're A Stressed Out Mess
We've all been there — get through a long work week, or a stressful argument, and boom, you're craving a burrito the size of a baby. It's a totally normal reaction because, as it turns out, the term "stress eating" exists for a reason. As Esther Crain notes on HuffingtonPost.com, "When you're tense, your system ramps up production of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol ... Elevated levels of these hormones trick your system into thinking it's under attack and needs energy, so your appetite starts raging." To slow your stress role, do some deep breathing, take a yoga class, or listen to calming music. It may chill you out enough so you're no longer heading back to the chip bar for seconds.
2. There's Not Enough Protein In Your Diet
You have to eat protein, whether it's from animal sources, or vegetarian sources. If you don't, you're going to walk around feeling like you haven't eaten in days. According to Crain, this is because protein stays in your stomach longer than other nutrients and promotes a feeling of fullness, or satiety. Make sure you're eating yogurts, eggs, whole grains, and leans meats with the goal of getting at least 46 grams of protein a day, Crain suggests.
3. That Metabolism Of Yours Is Crazy Fast
Metabolism is often a matter of genetics (lucky you), but it can also speed up if you work out a lot. So maybe you've always been the type to pine away for food, or it could just be all those recent trips to the gym, according to K. Aleisha Fetters on WomensHealthMag.com. Either way, a fast metabolism will send food right through your system, leaving you feeling hungry soon after eating. When that's the case, simply make sure you eat more often throughout the day.
4. You Eat Too Many Sugars And Carbs
I wish it weren't the case, but (wo)man cannot live on donuts and bagels alone. These refined foods don't have much in the way of the nutrients we need to function, which can lead to a blood sugar crash. As Fetters notes, "Processed foods — like white bread, cookies, even salad dressings — spike your blood sugar, let it crash, and then leave you feeling even hungrier than you were before you ate the stuff." This would explain why you're so hungry after eating sugary cereal for breakfast. Go ahead and eat your Cocoa Puffs, but be sure to have an egg on the side for good measure.
5. All You Do At Night Is Toss And Turn
Have you ever noticed how after a horrible night's sleep it's all you can do to stop yourself from eating everything you see? Well, there's a reason for that. As Sarah Klein points out in an article for the Huffington Post, "... too little sleep has been linked to higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for triggering hunger." Keep that ghrelin under control, and make sure you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep time per night.
6. You Aren't Drinking Enough Water
Thirst can be a tricky thing. When you aren't getting enough to drink, it can be easy to mistake the feeling for hunger. As Crain notes, "The confusion happens in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates both appetite and thirst. When dehydration sets in, wires get crossed in the hypothalamus, leading you to grab a bag of chips when you really need a bottle of water." So if you've already eaten but still feel hungry, make sure to grab a glass of water before chowing down some more.
7. You Had Too Much To Drink
We all know overdoing it at the bar can lead to dehydration (which we now know can make us feel hungry). But there's more to this alcohol/hunger connection than that. As Brynn Mannino notes on WomansDay.com, "It's long been suspected that alcohol contributes to an increased appetite. Though the underlying mechanisms are unknown, a common hypothesis is that it makes food more palatable ... The solution? Eat before you order that glass of wine, beer or cocktail." Hear that? Eat more to prevent yourself from eating more. Done and done.
8. Not Enough Time Has Passed Since You Ate
Have you ever scarfed down a plate of wings and then sat there wondering why you're still hungry? Well, that's because eating isn't magic. You have to give your body time to digest and send appetite hormones to your brain. Once that happens, then you'll realize you're full, according to Mannino. To prevent this confusion, make sure you hang out for a bit after your meal, and give yourself time to digest.
There's nothing wrong with snacking all day if you're hungry. But if the constant hunger pangs are annoying you, consider what else you did today to trigger your feelings of insatiability.
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