By: Rick Bellanti – June, 2019
As you find yourself on this new journey to a healthier you, you are on a new lifestyle change looking to get healthy and fit. You’re cutting out certain foods that used to satisfy your cravings, sweets, like donuts and cookies and carbohydrate filled foods, like breads and pastas; you are now cutting calories and losing weight. But those in between meal hunger pains (or sometimes called hunger pangs) can be brutal and if it gets too bad, you may find yourself binging on the nearest food available (often nothing good for you).
So, what is a hunger pain?
Sometimes, when your stomach has been empty for a number of hours, your stomach muscles may start to contract (giving the hunger pains sensation we feel). It is a feeling of discomfort in the pit of your stomach, not a sharp pain, but a feeling of discomfort strong enough to notice. The stomach is a muscular organ that is capable of stretching and collapsing. When it’s stretched by the foods we eat or water we drink, you tend to feel full. When it’s been some time since you last ate or had a drink, your stomach may seem flatter and may contract, causing you to experience hunger pangs.
There are several reasons why we may experience stomach hunger pain from time to time. The most common is like we mentioned, lack of food or water, so a quick healthy snack or a glass of water may help the hunger pain sensation go away rather quickly.
Another reason may be caused by your body being in a routine of eating certain large amounts of food or eating at specific times of day. You may also experience hunger pangs because you need to eat a diet higher in essential nutrients. While in most cases, hunger pains are simply the body’s way of indicating it is time to eat and drink, in other cases, the pain may be something more severe like a gastrointestinal disorder that is in the early stages, so if it continues you may want to talk to your doctor.
If you are just cutting calories by simply eating less, then your body will feel hungry and deprived more easily. So, it’s more the type of calorie you are eating. You want to eat foods that will make you feel fuller longer. Try eating foods with lots of water in them like dense fruits and vegetables, they will help you feel fuller on fewer calories and control your hunger. High-fiber foods not only provide volume but also take longer to digest, making you feel full longer on fewer calories.
So how do we keep these hunger pains away when we are trying to be healthy and follow a diet program, restricting food?
Here are a few suggestions: Try eating more frequently throughout the day, cutting your portions in half, so you are still taking in the same amount of calories per day but less at each meal. Eating more lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (most vegetables are very low in calories but high in volume or weight) which will help keep you fuller longer. Try eating more low-calorie foods with high fiber content.
Most importantly, drink plenty of water, we talk about this all the time. The hunger pains you are having could be a form of dehydration because you are not taking in the required amount of water. The easy rule to remember is to drink half your body weight in ounces daily.
Try these simple tips and continue to reach your health goals. The important thing is to fuel up regularly throughout the day to avoid these hunger pains, so you can stay on track.
Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs, and has lost 160lbs since the start of 2015. You can find Rick on Facebook at: Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti ◊