Controlling hunger is a must when it comes to weight loss. The problem is, hunger can generate from multiple sources. If we understand what those sources are, we can develop systems to counteract them before they are allowed to manifest themselves.
Controlling hunger happens mostly in the brain. The brain is vastly complicated, so controlling its response requires planned and purposeful work. There are three areas to focus on: insulin spikes, habits, and control. These three areas cause abnormal hunger mechanisms, so let’s consider the strategies we can use against them.
The first strategy to controlling hunger involves controlling insulin. Insulin is a hormone that mitigates glucose levels in the blood. The brain requires glucose as a fuel source, so once again, we have this vastly complicated organ that is affected by the blood glucose level. There are several rules to follow when it comes to insulin spikes.
First, when a food containing sugar, wheat, or other food with a high glycemic index is eaten, glucose rises quickly in the blood. Insulin is released as a result, causing a drop in blood glucose. The brain senses this drop and sends a hunger signal because more glucose is needed to normalize the blood glucose level. To stay out of this cycle, avoid sugar, wheat, and all foods with a high glycemic index.
The next insulin spike rule to follow is to maintain a regular eating schedule. If you eat at random throughout the day, many times you will end up starving and all discipline goes out the window. This can also slow your metabolism. Eat the same size meals at roughly the same time of day to keep the blood glucose level from dropping too low causing sky-rocketing hunger.
Next, balance your macronutrients. Having the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats can help keep insulin spikes from occurring. This balance will also keep your calorie count where it needs to be, so its a win-win.
Finally, always eat after exercise. After exercise, the muscles have used a percentage of their stored glycogen and are primed to accept some energy. This does not mean, however, that you can take a pass on the first rule and eat sugar or some other processed food. Eat something nutritious within your calorie range so that you stay away from the risk of hunger getting out of control.
The next strategy in controlling hunger involves habits: setting good habits and avoiding/changing bad ones. For example, eating at night or before bed is a habit that your brain will become accustomed to and will expect it. If you’re currently in this habit, break it and stop eating three hours before bed.
Another bad habit is having the same snack everyday. This is a bad habit, because it is usually junk food and it usually occurs at night or after the last meal of the day. Am I right? Your brain will expect this everyday whether you want it or not.
Habits can be an advantage to you too, however. Maintaining a calorie goal is a habit that can help you avoid hunger spikes. Also, maintaining proper water intake is a good habit. Dehydration can actually trigger a hunger response from the brain!
The final strategy to consider is control. Sometimes hunger is a relinquish of control. Many of us, when feeling the discomfort of hunger, automatically respond by eating to counter that discomfort. Fasting can retrain your hunger mechanism. Try a 58 hour fast, and you will relearn the difference between actual hunger and hunger from insignificant things like brain boredom.
Addiction is another hunger mechanism. Sugar, wheat/sugar combinations, and other processed food combinations cause food addictions. These combinations trigger pleasure centers in the brain forming addictions. In fact, grains containing gluten contain molecules that fit into the opiate receptors in the brain. So, avoid sugar. Avoid processed foods. Avoid addiction.
Hunger is a good thing. But abnormal hunger is an enemy that causes weight gain and body fat storage. Controlling hunger begins in the brain, so you must master the strategies against the hunger mechanisms caused by insulin spikes, bad habits, and control.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and is not intended for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your physician.