Have you ever wondered what you may be hungry for?
Let’s get straight to the point – about nine years ago, before entering the health and wellness industry, I was constantly hungry.
Rewinding and reflecting back to where I was – I spent almost two decades in the fashion world before I became a coach.
But the stress of managing a thriving business and caring for a young family affected my mental health and my weight. I was a victim of a daily lifestyle pace that would leave me physically and emotionally drained.
My heightened sense of anxiety and relentless pace was causing me to use food to fill the empty spaces in my life, and my self-care always chocolate and muffins and anything that had sugar …
I used food as my therapist whenever I felt emotional unease like overwhelm, sadness, anger and frustration.
And I had no idea what was driving my constant hunger or any other way to deal with these emotions.
I believe that the secret to solving your constant hunger is discovering what you are really hungry for.
It’s about dealing with the core issues cutting away at your quality of life and finding a new and more positive outlets to deal with your emotions.
Let me ask you: Do you find yourself eating when you’re not really hungry?
If you eat emotionally and use food to fill up on your feelings- it’s likely a sign that you need some #selfnourishing
I want to share with you the lessons I learned from my hunger to help you understand what you may be hungering for.
Secret #1- Hormonal Hunger
So back to my life, nine years ago.
My diet consisted of mainly carbohydrates, was very low in protein and junk food like chocolate and other processed sugar treats
I always felt exhausted and survived on very little sleep.
Of course, I had no idea at the time that my hormones were imbalanced and driving my hunger through the roof and I was plagued with constant cravings.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that send constant signals to nearly every cell in the body, regulating our appetite, weight, our sleep, and our ability to stay focused.
Your brain uses hormones to regulate every metabolic process in your body including
hunger and fat storage.
When vital hormones like insulin, leptin and cortisol aren’t regulated, your body tends to store fat, crave unhealthy foods and get stuck despite your efforts to lose weight.
Hormonal imbalance can be triggered by your food choices, alcohol intake, portion sizes, stress, toxins, lack of sleep and inactivity.
How do you know if your hormones are imbalanced?
- You’re in a vicious cycle of hunger, tiredness, cravings and excess fat around the middle.
- Your liver is sluggish, so it doesn’t metabolize waste hormones properly, which perpetuates hormonal imbalance.
Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that have been recognized to have a major influence on appetite and energy balance.
Leptin is a hormone that:
- Is made by fat cells
- Decreases your appetite
- Suppresses food intake and thereby inducing weight loss
- Is a mediator of long-term regulation of energy balance
Ghrelin is a hormone that:
- Is a fast-acting hormone,
- Plays a role in meal initiation
- Increases appetite and when out of balance drives hunger
- Plays a role in body weight
Here are a few tips for improving the function of your leptin and ghrelin:
- Avoid inflammatory foods: Limit foods that cause inflammation especially sugar and trans fat
- Balanced diet: Follow a balanced, real food-based diet. Don’t cut calories to extremely low levels.
- Exercise regularly: Moderate activity can improve leptin sensitivity
- Get enough sleep: Insufficient sleep leads to a drop-in leptin levels and increased hunger
- Sugar: Avoid high-fructose corn syrup and sugar-sweetened drinks, which can impair ghrelin response after meals
- Protein: Eating protein at every meal, can help reduce ghrelin levels and promotes satiety
Secret #2 – Heart Hunger
No matter how much I ate I was always hungering for more…
Was I hungry for something else?
The heart hunger strikes when you don’t have time for you. –When your spirit isn’t being fed, you eat more.
This is what I call emotional hunger and it’susually triggered by feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion.
Emotional eating is best described as a coping strategy and attempt to manage mood with food, and that’s exactly what I did
- Emotional hunger often results in mindless eating and overeating.
- When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you tend to have awareness of how much you consume and can stop when full
If you are feeling guilty after you eat, it’s likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.
Have you ever wondered what you may be hungry for?
When we constantly feel hungry and overeat, sometimes it’s not about the food. It’s about how you use food to self-soothe; numb yourself against the pain of living and how you use food to fill your feelings. After all, we are all hungering for something…
- You may be feeling stressed and hungry for balance.
- You may be hungry to do something other than work.
- You may be hungry for “self-nourishment”
Perhaps you are hungering for more:
Time for yourself
Tip: How to live a life that feeds you:
When your needs are being met – you don’t need to feed your emotions!
Here are some helpful tools to help you manage your emotions:
First try and acknowledge times that you are eating to soothe or silence emotions and try to find positive outlets instead like:
- Slowing down and building awareness
- Prioritize your sleep and rest
- Create time in your schedule for relaxation and some fun activities
- Start a heart-hunger journal and write how you feel
- Start a mediation practice
- Get a massage on a regular basis
- Learn HOW to slow down your breathing
Spend some quiet time daily in relaxation
- Whether you choose meditation, yoga or visualization it’s your choice
- You can make visualization part of your meditation and relaxation sessions.
- Spend some time each day visualizing yourself going about your day in a balanced and emotionally poised manner.
Secret #3 – Habit hunger
My emotional eating became a habit because I was repeating the same behaviour over and over a period of time.
About 90% of what we do is habit, routine and ritual. In addition, our brains have limited decision-making capacity each day.
So, if you have made an unhealthy association of mindless eating, where you have paired food consumption with a experiencing a particular feeling, like reaching out for comfort food when you are feeling emotional, chances are you have formed this habit.
And hence, It becomes less of a choice and more a repeated action that strips away your reliance on your body’s own natural hunger cues.
Remember, habit formation takes time, so it stands to reason that breaking the habit will also require your commitment over the long haul.
Becoming aware of your hunger and changing your habits is challenging, it requires a change of mindset, awareness and persistence.
Here are some tips to help you:
1.When you feel hungry, ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I feel emotionally? (Hunger should not be connected to emotions)
- How long is it since I last ate? (Should be 3 – 4 hours on most days)
- What do I feel like eating? (Is it sensible or is it comfort food?)
- Have my meals been balanced lately?
2.Recognising Your Hunger
If You don’t feel hungry or tired, but you want to eat something.
- “Ask yourself, ‘what am I asking the food to do for me?
3.Sit with the hunger feeling for 1 minute
- Allow yourself to experience the feeling.
- Try not to judge it.
4. Keep a diary
To begin to understand “hunger” cues its helpful to record the times and places when hunger strikes
- Writing down what and why you are eating forces you to face the real reasons behind your hunger
- As you gather data you will notice that certain patterns emerge
- Armed with this information, you can begin to break the hunger habit by trusting your body’s true signals and get back to your physiological need for food
The good news is that habits can be deconstructed and reprogrammed. So, with some behavioral goals, a plan and some structure and accountability around your daily habits, you can create healthy habits much more easily.
I easily and comfortably release that which I no longer need in life.Louise Hay
I learned that the only way to get ahead in life is to nourish myself and meet my needs in ways that have nothing to do with food.
When you do this, when you have a way to fulfill your needs and desires, food loses its power. It just doesn’t call to you in the same way!
Now it’s over to you…
What are you hungry for?
Ultimately finding out the reason why you are filling up on your feelings and applying some ways to get OUT of that cycle will help you start eating with a sense of FREEDOM, self-confidence and empowerment.
It’s never too late to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions, learn to eat mindfully, regain control of your weight, and finally, put a stop to emotional eating.
If you would like help & support with finding healthier ways to nourish yourself and accountability to make sure you follow through, than contact me for a 15-minute discussion.
It’s free. And you might just break your hunger habit
Emotional Eating Coach
BSc (Biomed), Cert IV (PT), Wellness Coach (Level 3))
I coach busy women to put down their fork and pick up their life. If you want to lose weight, feel proud of yourself and eat with freedom, book a free 15-min mini-coaching session with me and I’ll show you how to liberate yourself from your inner critic.,