I’m always hungry – what should I do?

Always feel like having a bite to eat, at all hours of the day? Never seem to feel full, even after a good plate of food?

Feeling hungry before a meal is great – that way you’ll enjoy your meal even more. Feeling hungry after you’ve eaten a decent meal, however, is a bit of a problem. While you’re eating, the digestive system sends signals to the brain indicating that you’ve had enough and that you should stop eating. But some people don’t pick up on those signals. What can be done about it

You’re not eating enough at mealtimes

This is often the case for people on overly strict diets or those who pay very close attention to what they can and can’t eat. The problem is that such habits lead to frustration – and that in turn leads to binge eating, which will undo all the hard work you’ve put in to try and lose weight.

You ignore the signs that you’ve had enough to eat
While you’re eating, you don’t pay attention to the signs that you’ve had enough, or perhaps you’re not even aware of them. It’s only when your stomach is full (which is also a sign of having had enough to eat, but one that is only transmitted to the brain much later) that you realise it’s time to stop eating.

It is essential that you learn to pick up on the feeling of having had enough to eat and listen to what your body is telling you. Eating slowly will help. You should also try not to eat anything for four hours after a normal-sized meal – this will help you become more familiar with the feeling of hunger.

How do you increase the feeling of fullness?

You should eat foods that contain lots of water and fibre, such as fruits and vegetables – after the meal, you will feel like you have had more to eat. You should also go for starchy wholegrain foods with a low glycaemic index, such as wholegrain rice, semi-wholegrain pasta, wholemeal or wholegrain bread, etc. – they are very filling and will reduce your mid-afternoon cravings. You should eat these kinds of food with every meal.

Legumes, such as lentils, split peas and dried beans, are also filling foods, and they even contain protein too!

Very fatty and/or sugary foods, on the other hand, are particularly high in calories. They give you a high dose of energy in a small amount of food, leaving you with the impression of not having had much to eat – the result being that you end up eating twice as much of it!
One final tip: try to eat slowly and in a calm environment – it’ll be easier for you to realise when you’ve had enough to eat. Resist the temptation to have seconds, and use small plates for dessert – you’ll feel like you’ve had just as much as if you’d eaten off a big plate!

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