More often than not, it can be hard to detect hunger. Of course, there are the obvious signs of hearing your stomach grumble or feeling hunger pangs. Many people have become disconnected from their hunger as a result of chronic dieting or medications. If you can learn the less obvious signs of hunger, it can help keep blood sugar levels steady and avoid mid-day energy crashes.
- Headache: Hunger headaches can be pretty painful and can be accompanied by nausea. One of the causes of a hunger headache is a drop-in blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Hunger headaches may also be caused by stress hormones released in response to not having enough to eat. It is important to eat throughout the day and avoid skipping meals frequently to prevent these from happening.
- Sudden Fatigue and Weakness: These symptoms are also thanks to drop-in blood sugar. Remember that food is FUEL for our bodies; it is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Our bodies are smart; if we go too long without eating, we will, of course, feel tired and weak.
- Irritability: Ever heard of the term “hangry”? There’s a lot of truth behind the term because the brain needs fuel to regulate emotions, and anger/ frustration are two of the hardest emotions to regulate.
- The inability to focus: It can be difficult to focus when hungry because your brain can be distracted by food thoughts, and when you will eat next. Your mental stamina is exhausted due to a lack of fuel, making it difficult to get work done.
If we wait too long to eat, we are more likely to overeat and therefore feel sluggish all over again. This is why being prepared with snacks and meals can be helpful. You can also try experimenting with different sized meals and different mealtimes to find out what works best for you.
It is important to remember that every day is different, and many factors can affect our body’s hunger cues. Additionally, you may be hungrier one day and less hungry the next day. Your body is smart; listen to it and treat it well!
Author: Emily Kahn | Miami University | Class of 2022 | B.S. in Kinesiology and Nutrition | @ems.eatz.