Many people in developed countries eat for many reasons other than a physical need for food, and this is the primary cause of weight gain.
To understand what hunger is not, we need to understand signs of false hunger:
1. Headaches, weakness, or difficulty concentrating – these are signs of detoxification from addictive or harmful substances. However, in certain situations, it may be necessary to take a small portion of clean food to slow the detoxification process.
2. Stomach rumbling – these are simply contractions of the stomach from digesting a previous meal and have nothing to do with the need for food.
3. Not being used to burning fat – I admittedly feel “colder” and nervous when utilizing stored fat as opposed to burning a fresh food supply. It’s simply a different feeling that you need to get accustomed to. Exercise helps.
4. Stimulation – being influenced by things like watching the Travel Channel can increase your desire to eat. Condiments, spices and seasonings – foods that are prepared to have higher palatability are easier to overeat than relatively simple or plain foods. This should be no surprise. Also, variety is the spice of gluttony. There is a reason for the saying, “There’s always room for dessert”.
5. Emotions – since eating can alter your emotional state, the perceived “pick me up” can move you out of boredom, or relax you if you are stressed. Unfortunately, because we are not eating out of necessity, energy is wasted in the digestive process, not gained; and you are increasing stress, not reducing it. Think about how tired you feel after Thanksgiving dinner and notice your temperament after a fast food meal. I’ve found that time-consuming hobbies such as music, arts, or video games are useful tools for keeping “recreational” eating at bay.
6. Tiredness perceived as a need for food – you may simply need rest or sleep.
7. Regular meal times – I am simply against eating on schedule, because you are around others, or to please a host. But I know we are social creatures, so if you know you’re going to be eating in a social setting, then “save” up your calories and wait until that moment to eat.
True hunger is a physiological need of the cells for nutrients. When you think about the amount of food reserves the average person has stored on their body, does it make sense that we are experiencing a need for food every time we eat? Think about that before your next bite.