Keep those hunger pangs in check so you don't overeat.
It's only 2.30pm, but you already feel as though your lunch has digested. You tell yourself that 3pm is legit snack time, and you can pop by the pantry for a coffee break then. In protest, your stomach makes a little rumble. What gives?
Constantly feeling hungry is no one's idea of fun, but it's a reality for some women. Here are some common reasons why you're always hungry and how you can fix it.
1. You're just bored
Let's be honest here: Snacking and munching on something is honestly one of the best ways to pass time and stifle boredom. If you feel peckish, pause and ask yourself if you're honestly hungry or just looking for a distraction. Drink some water or pop a mint and assess how you feel again in five minutes.
2. You have a fast metabolism
Do you always eat like there's no tomorrow but find it hard to put on any weight?
You could just be blessed with a naturally fast basal metabolic rate which explains your voracious appetite and efficient digestive system. In a nutshell, it means that your body uses up fuel (from food) faster than average so you burn more calories a day. Lucky you.
There's nothing to worry about if you've been this way since young, but go get it checked out if it's a recent development. And while you're wolfing down your food, remember to fill your plate with healthy options too - you're not exempt from becoming 'skinny fat'.
3. Your hormones are imbalanced
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where one's thyroid glands are overactive and produce an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. These hormones control your metabolic functions and having an excess amount revs up your body's metabolism. This makes you use up energy way faster than normal and can lead to you feeling constantly hungry.
Other common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include a rapid heart rate, hand tremors, nervousness and anxiety, excessive sweating and unexplained weight loss.
Speak to your doctor if you suspect you have hyperthyroidism. The condition can be managed with proper medication and treatment.
4. You've been fuelling your body with junk food
Sure, doughnuts and pizza fill you up really quick, but simple carbs and refined foods are just going to spike your blood sugar level fast - and send it crashing soon after.
Complex carbs or high-fibre foods like brown rice, whole wheat bread, fruits and nuts are much better at filling you up for longer.
Make sure you're eating enough protein and healthy fat too (think lean meat, eggs and avocados). Both are essential to promote feelings of fullness and satiety.
5. You're stressed
We've all been there and done that. There's just something so comforting about digging into a pint of ice cream or piping hot fries after a crazy day at work or bad relationship drama.
When you're under intense stress, your body's level of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline shoot up as you enter 'survival mode'. These imbalances can cause your appetite to rage as your body thinks it needs more food and energy for sustenance through those tough times.
Keep your cool by curating a soothing playlist at work or taking micro-breaks at your desk to scroll through Instagram (bring on those cute animal accounts and skip the influencer feeds if you're prone to FOMO). Alternatively, you can put your best friend on speed dial for a rant sesh to help you retain your sanity.
6. You're always looking at food
Those gastronomic #foodporn pictures and videos sure aren't helping your weight loss efforts.
A study published in the journal Obesity has found that just looking at photos of food is enough to stimulate appetite and create feelings of hunger. Participants who viewed images of appetising nosh had higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
It's high time to unfollow food accounts on social media if they have you yearning for decadent suppers when you're already preparing for bed!
This article was first published on Shape.