Tuesday Tip: Tackling Hunger 🍔
With the current lockdown many are finding it hard to manage their diet, and specifically their hunger.
So how can we try to manage this?
First off is it true hunger or emotional hunger? True hunger starts gradually, is satisfied by any food and will end when you’re full. In addition you’re less likely to feel guilty afterwards. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, in a state of heightened emotion (e.g. stress or anxiety) or boredom. It typically involves craving specific foods, not being satisfied once full, eating mindlessly and feelings of guilt.
If it’s true hunger there are a few things you can do to help manage it. Studies have shown that higher protein meals reduce perceptions of hunger, particularly when combined with fats. Low calorie, high fibre foods are also important (fruit and veg); it increases “bulk”, causing stomach wall expansion, triggering the release of satiating hormones (fullness hormones). Another great option is low/zero calorie carbonated drinks which can help curb sugar cravings, and create that sensation of fullness. Caffeine is also an inhibitor of hunger in small amounts.
Emotional hunger is harder. Many foods give us “good feelings” but these foods are calorie dense and often high in sugar/saturated fat. They can provide temporary escape from boredom, low mood, stress etc but can leave us feeling worse and promote a negative relationship with food. We eat because we feel bad and we feel bad because we eat. Identifying the triggers/situations where you tend to emotionally eat is vital. Once you identify the triggers you can produce a list of replacement activities. Actually write out some alternatives and display them e.g. take 3 deep breaths, drink a big glass of water, play with your dog/cat, do some exercise/stretches. listen to music/podcast, do a 60 sec household chore, call a friend, adult colouring/jigsaw etc.
Be kind to yourself, the lack of stimulation, reduced human interaction and increased anxiety as a result of lockdown is natural. So if you are emotionally eating that’s ok – if you want to reduce it though then try these tips for starters.
Happy Tuesday 🤗