I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I eat when I'm not hungry. Many times it's because I'm bored or because I'm having a bad day. Chances are you're the same way. The problem is that when you eat too many calories, you can gain weight. If you're looking to lose a few pounds, figuring out why you're eating when you aren't hungry can help you make better choices and finally see that number on the scale going down. Here's why you might be eating and what to do about it. Good luck!
1. Maybe You're Really Just Thirsty 🍵
Next time you think you're hungry, try drinking a glass of water first. Sometimes your body tricks you into thinking you're ravenous, when really it's just been too long since you picked up your water bottle. If you're still hungry five minutes after some water, go ahead and have a small snack to satisfy your hunger.
2. Your Medication Could Be Causing Hunger 💊
Some medications can cause an increase in appetite, causing you to feel hungry when you otherwise wouldn't. Psychiatric medications and and pills for seizures are common culprits. If you've recently begun a new medication and are gaining weight, talk to your doctor about an alternative.
3. Sadness Can Spur Hunger 😭
Have you ever just felt really sad and then drowned your sorrow in food? We've all been there. In fact, feeling down is one of the leading reasons why you feel hungry when you probably aren't. Indulgent foods can make you feel better temporarily so you may reach for junk when you feel sad. Taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk or talking things over with a friend can help without all the calories of junk food.
4. A Super Stressful Day Can Mask Itself as Hunger 😥
Stress causes your body to release cortisol, a hormone that can will make you think you're hungry. Avoiding stress is pretty much impossible between work, kids, your relationship and your other obligations. The trick is to find other ways to combat stress, such as exercising or engaging in your favorite hobby instead of reaching for the burger or cake.
5. Are You Just Tired? 💤
That's a silly question - we're all tired these days. Busy jobs and the fear of missing out is causing us to go, go, go. The truth is that's simply not good for you. When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces extra hunger hormones, causing you to want to eat when you don't need to be. Make a point of going to bed at a reasonable hour so that you can get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
6. Simply Seeing Food Can Make You Hungry 🍩
Did you stroll past the office lunchroom and see a box of donuts or watch a commercial for a fast food burger? Maybe you weren't hungry before, but you are now. For some people, seeing food releases dopamine, which makes them feel hunger and want to satisfy it with a tasty food. Try to avoid keeping junk food where you can see it and bypass the places that tempt you whenever possible.
7. Are You Eating for Nostalgia Reasons? 👵
Maybe you eat a food because it reminds you of your childhood when your mom or grandma cooked it for you. You're likely indulging to feel closer to your loved one, rather than because you're truly hungry. Experts say to go ahead and have a small taste when you're feeling nostalgic, but to stop there so you don't overdo it.
8. Your Hormones Could Be to Blame 😋
Some women experience a surge in appetite near their monthly period. You may actually be hungry because your body is working harder, but the trick is to stock up on healthy foods so that you can fill up without filling out.
9. Your Routine May Be Driving Your Hunger 🍕
When my kids are finally in bed and I sit down with a book, I always feel hungry. Since it hasn't been that long since I ate dinner, more often than not, I'm in the habit of reaching for a snack when I'm reading, not because I'm really hungry. If you always eat pizza while watching a movie or reach for a candy bar on a long drive, your body may feel hungry at those times due to habit. Break the habit by having a healthy snack or distracting yourself until the feeling passes.
When do you feel hungry when you're probably not? What do you do about it?