Unexplained hunger can be extremely frustrating. If you are trying to lose weight it can be the difference between getting results or not, and for many it explains food binges and excessive consumption of sweet foods when the hunger becomes too much to bear. So if you find yourself constantly hungry, here are some of the reasons why.
1. Your breakfast does not have the right balance of carbs and protein
A breakfast too high in carbs (think big acai bowls and fruit smoothies) or too low in protein (think cereals, plain toast, bagels and fruit yoghurt) is likely to see your blood glucose levels plummet two to three hours after breakfast leaving you craving cakes, banana bread and raisin toast at 11am. Starting the day with 20g of protein via milk, whey, eggs, salmon or Greek yoghurt and at least one serve of carbs via grain bread, fruit, sweet potato or a wrap will help to see you satisfied until late morning just in time for an early lunch.
2. You are eating too frequently
The more we eat, especially the more sweet food we consume, the more we are going to crave. This explains the scenario which sees individuals polish off an entire block of chocolate or packet of biscuits. Well balanced meals will keep you satisfied for at least 3-4 hours and if you are eating sweet foods including milk coffees in between this, it could be driving your appetite.
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3. Not enough bulk
Simple meals – a plain ham sandwich, an egg on toast or a salad with 2-3 ingredients simply does not contain the bulk of foods required to fill the stomach, slow digestion and satisfy you for an extended period of time. Bulk your meals by adding low calorie salads and vegetables every time you eat. Mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes or a vegetable juice work well at breakfast; always add a salad or soup to lunch and aim for at least 2 cups of vegetables with dinner.
4. Your calories are too low
The lowest number of calories a small female not exercising will generally need is 1000-1200 for weight loss. In addition you will need an extra 200-300 for every hour of intense activity that you are doing. Many dieters consume too few calories early in the dieting phase which may result in instant results on the scales but it is almost impossible to maintain. Check your calories on a program such as ‘myfitnesspal’ to keep an eye and make sure they are not too low.
5. Your carbs are too low
While some specific dietary regimes require a particularly low carb approach, in generally we need at least 100-120g of carbs to give the muscles and the brain adequate fuel. Amounts lower than this seen when we consume few grains and cereals and fruit and rely only on vegetables for our carbs will see you lose weight initially but over time if you are burning far more carbohydrates than this your hunger will eventually kick in and lead to the ravenous hunger that often results in binge eating.
Did you know that you need a minimum of 5 serves of veggies in your day? Sounds hard but it can actually be quite easy with these tips from Susie on how to get enough vegetables in your day!