If you’ve never been “hangry” or never heard the term, you’re probably living under a rock. In the health and fitness world, eating, and dealing with hunger pains is always present. I’ve dealt with hunger pains in the past, and I’ve spoken with friends and clients that have dealt with hunger pains.
I’ve done some additional research to see how my methods of avoiding hunger pains correspond to others. So in this article, I want to discuss how to fight hunger pains healthily.
If you’re dealing with hunger pains you need to address the type of foods you normally eat, the amount of hydration you’re getting throughout the day, the amount of sleep you’re getting each night, and your daily habits.
What Causes Hunger Pains?
We’ve all been in a situation where the room is quiet and your stomach starts growling. Everybody turns to you and usually makes a comment about lunchtime. Your stomach growls when it’s digesting foods, or moving foods, liquid or gas through your digestive system. If you haven’t eaten in a while, there won’t be any food to muffle these sounds.
Additionally, it could mean something a little more serious like food you’ve eaten doesn’t agree with your system. Maybe you have a food allergy, or it’s combined with cramping and diarrhea. If this is the case, you need to consult your doctor.
So a growling stomach can be a combination of being hungry or just normal digestion. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Everybody’s stomach growls.
How To Avoid Hunger Pains
Hearing your stomach growl or experiencing the feeling of hunger pains, doesn’t always mean that you’re actually hungry. There can be other reasons you’re experiencing these pains. Here are a few things to consider when fighting hunger pains.
I’ve put this on at the top of the list because the feeling of being hungry can actually just be your body telling you that you need hydration. The feeling of being thirsty and hungry are remarkably similar.
If you have other symptoms such as dry skin, feeling sluggish, nausea, dizziness, or headaches, it could just be your body telling you to drink some water (a gallon of water per day).
The best thing you can do is don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. I personally, get a 24 oz water bottle at my desk and fill it with ice water first thing in the morning, and again after lunch. For me, having ice cold water is much more appealing and refreshing than room temperature water.
If need be, put some lime or lemon juice in it to make it more palatable. If you’re feeling hunger pains it’s best to try consuming water first. And after 15-20 minutes, you still feel it, grab a snack. But always start with water first.
Some foods are easily digestible. Others take a while to digest. With that, your blood sugar levels are typically escalating and crashing throughout the day.
When your blood sugar levels drop, your body produces ghrelin. This hormone tells your brain that it’s time to eat. If you can fuel your body with the right foods, your brain won’t tell your body to release that “ghrelin gremlin” and you won’t get those hunger cravings.
To eat correctly you need to start with protein. Protein is a slow-digesting food that will prevent those blood sugar roller coaster rides. You also need to eat carbohydrates. Specifically high fiber and low glycemic-index carbohydrates. These will be things like brown rice, sweet potatoes, wheat bread, and baked potatoes.
These too will help moderate your blood sugar levels. And the last thing in the food is healthy fats. So things like avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, and dark chocolate.
This list isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list, but just a guide of the types of foods you should be getting at the grocery store, and feeding your body.
I was always told to eat “3 square meals a day.” Times have changed since then and research has shown that it’s better to eat closer to 5 meals a day.
Healthy snacks like hard-boiled eggs, a handful of almonds, hummus, and carrots are all acceptable snacks to help you get to the next meal. They will also prevent those blood sugar spikes. Obviously, an abundance of fruits and vegetables will help keep you feeling full.
So “an apple a day…” is very true!
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know that I also do a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule. This works for me, and my late breakfast is always a protein shake. Another great snack or tool to use throughout your day.
Getting Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep has a ton of downsides as it is. One of them being it can disrupt your hormone levels. If you’re getting less than 7 hours of sleep, your body may release the hunger hormone ghrelin. Again, while it may cause you to reach for the closed chips and salsa, it’s most likely caused by you not getting enough sleep. If you can stick to a regular sleeping schedule, and get close to 8 hours of sleep each night, your hormone levels are likely to remain level.
Another interesting fact about lack of sleep is your body craves certain foods. Research shows that when we don’t get enough sleep our bodies release endocannabinoid which will cause us to not only eat but consume things high in fat, sugar, and salt.
Not to mention the more hours we are awake, the more hours we’re apt to grab for a snack.
“Idle hands are the devil’s tools.” So true this is. If you find yourself constantly reaching for snacks out of boredom, this is easily cured. Go out and take a walk. Start a good book, or do a bodyweight exercise workout. If you can distract yourself, you’re less likely to succumb to any hunger pains and grab an unhealthy snack. Another tip is to take up a hobby. Studies show that when your focus is on something else simple like putting a puzzle together or sewing, you’re less likely to obsess over food.
Herbal Teas That Suppress Your Appetite
I’m a big fan of flavored green and black tea. I’ll tell you right now I”m not a big fan of “teas for weight loss” that contain dangerous substances like Ephedra. When it comes to picking a tea that curbs my appetite, I go with Licorice Tea. It might be just for me personally, but it calms my sweet-tooth, and it blunts any hunger pains I have. Licorice Tea is made from a dried licorice plant, and it does the trick.
A green tea that I also use is Lemon-Ginger tea. I also add a couple of teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and it works like a charm. If you’ve never used apple cider vinegar, it has a strong taste, but it’s also said to be a great natural supplement for many issues. The jury on some of those claims is still out, but some people swear by the numerous benefits, but I know that this specific concoction works. I use it weekly.
If you’re into loose leaf teas, I would encourage you to mix and match some of the mints, orange peels, or fruity flavored teas. Find what works best for you, and use these teas to overcome hunger pains.
Conclusion of Fighting Hunger Pains
Hunger pains are a common feeling. Everybody gets them or has experienced them. They don’t always mean it’s time to shovel some food into your mouth. There are other tips and tricks we can do to either eliminate them or easily stifle them.
As mentioned above, if you’ve tried these tips and tricks and are still getting extreme hunger pains and cramps I would highly recommend you consult with a doctor.
How do you overcome hunger pains? Leave us your favorite trick below.