Banish the top two hunger illusions to make weight loss easier

This is a line I have heard many times over the years, “I think about food all the time. It makes me crazy.” If that is true for you, have you ever wondered why this is the case, or if you have certain times of day, what is going on that you just need to eat? There are 6 types of hunger that humans have. Two of them are not actually signs of hunger, but they make us want to eat. What are they?
  1. Empty stomach
  2. Thirst

I’ll tell you about the first one – empty stomach. I’m tempted to call it “empty stomach hunger” but it’s not actually a hunger sign. It’s just that we’ve associated it with hunger. I can remember someone telling me that I might have the “butterflies” in my stomach for nervousness, and what they actually might be was excitement. This changed how I thought of this physical sensation. Once you realize that the hollow feeling in your stomach is not hunger, but just an empty stomach. You may better be able to tolerate it. It’s okay to not have food in your stomach. In fact it’s normal to not have food in your stomach most of the time. I used to think my blood sugar must be low if I had that feeling. 

Once I started wearing a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) I realized that was not true. So learning to endure it was easier. But the question is, why do some of us feel it more often and more strongly than others? The reason is that when you eat large amounts of food on a regular basis, your stomach stretches out. You don’t give it enough time to shrink back down to a small size so that you don’t feel this hollow feeling. Your stomach is a muscle, just like a uterus. Think about how large a uterus can stretch, and then over time after a baby is born it shrinks back down to about the size of a fist. But when there is something in there, it is large. Maybe an odd comparison, but the best one I could think of! So! We need to give our stomachs a chance to be empty more often (and if chronic overeating is a problem, that is another issue) so they have a chance to be smaller and feel less empty. We also just need to realize that that dull sour ache in our stomach is NOT hunger – and learn to tolerate it. 

Thirst “hunger”. This is one you might have encountered before. All the big diet companies tell you about it. If you’re hungry, drink a glass of water first! See if you’re still hungry! I like to eliminate it as a possibility. Just drink enough water and you won’t have to wonder. One of the best ways to do this is to drink about 25% of your daily water right when you wake up. This is the most dehydrated part of your day. You just went 8-10 hours without fluids. It’s a great time to drink. Avoid drinking during meals. Place your water 45 minutes after a meal or at least 20 minutes before. You won’t dilute your enzymes, so you’ll digest better. This kind of hunger evolved out of necessity. As hunter gatherers, we were not always able to drink straight water from a stream, lake or river. We got a large portion of water from our food. So wanting to eat when you needed water was a good thing. But now, we have water available to us 24/7. We DO NOT need to get our water from food. And it’s not that we shouldn’t, it’s that it’s not a necessity. So if you want to eliminate this source of hunger to make you feel a little less crazy, make sure you get your quota of water when it’s relevant. 

Eliminate these 2 hunger illusions and you’ll be on your way to easier weight loss.