Why Am I Always So Hungry?
by Kristen Keen, MBA, RD, LDN
Last Updated: September 29, 2020
During these times of change and uncertainty, it is easy to focus on the negative. When we start focusing on the negative, we tend to become harder on ourselves. We are all seeking to find that perfect balance - whether it be with food, lifestyle choices, or work life balance. This is an individualized journey that can take longer than anticipated. It will take more than one Google search or one phone call with a friend to find the eating style and lifestyle that is best for you.
The first step to determining what is healthy for you is understanding hunger.
What is hunger?
The Oxford Dictionary defines hunger as, “A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.”
Our hunger levels change daily – from the type of hunger we experience, to how hungry we feel. That is completely normal, as our body’s needs change day to day. Hunger can fluctuate day to day due to activity levels, stress or emotions, sickness or illness, changes in sleep patterns, hormones, and other factors.
Hunger is a tool that signals to our body that it is missing something. It could be missing a vital nutrient like protein, carbohydrates including fiber, fat, or even water. Our body could even be sending us hunger cues based on an emotional or psychological response. We don’t need to ignore these hunger cues, but rather we should accept them and nourish ourselves. When we fight against our hunger, it could lead us down a road of skipping meals, undereating, or overeating, which then leads to lack of energy, sleep, weight fluctuations, and irritability.
Understand hunger cues.
Our bodies will send us hunger cues to let us know how hungry we are. These cues could be in the form of an increased appetite, a slight headache, a growling stomach, feeling lightheaded, reduced energy, feeling shaky, and attitude swings. Listening to our body is key and is a skill that is developed over time. It might be easy for some to catch on , but for some others who may have a history of dieting, it could take months. To be in tune with our body we must relax, sit back, slow down, and listen to what it is trying to tell us.
Knowing when we are full also takes skill and practice. Signs of feeling full can include feeling pressure or tightness in your stomach, less thought around food, diminished taste, feeling tired or relaxed, not enjoying the food as much, not feeling as hungry, or even increased energy. We must begin to listen and be in tune with our bodies.
Our bodies stick with us literally through thick and thin throughout our whole life. Let’s start shifting our understanding and perspective of hunger to a positive mindset, as food is nourishing and brings joy. Let’s fuel ourselves without guilt and celebrate our hunger.
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.