How To Tell If You’re Actually Hungry

How To Tell If You’re Actually Hungry
Carly Jacobs
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’m certainly not what you’d call a ‘foodie’. I have the metabolism of a dead wombat so my main priority when it comes to food is to get as much bang for my buck as possible. High protein, low calorie and anything that will keep me the fullest for the longest. One thing I really struggle with when it comes to food is stopping when I’m full (I do everything very quickly including eating) and habit/boredom/stress eating. I’ve certainly developed better habits over the years of dealing with these issues but sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that I might not actually be hungry when I have a bowl of cereal in the afternoon or a piece of toast after dinner.

how to know if you're actually hungry

I started doing the 5:2 diet about a year ago and it’s really taught me a lot about hunger, how it works and how being hungry is not going to kill me. Here’s how to tell if you’re actually hungry – ask yourself these three questions…

Are you hungry enough to eat a bowl of steamed greens?

If you find yourself sneaking into the fridge to grab a slice of cheese or breaking into the biscuits at 10am this is the question you need to ask yourself. Are you hungry enough to eat a bowl of steamed greens? If the answer is yes, you should probably make yourself a bowl of steamed greens. If you’re genuinely hungry, you should eat real food. Biscuits and cheese snacks are fine in moderation but if you start eating these foods when you’re in need of a proper meal, one biscuit turns into 5 very quickly, so make sure you treat real hunger seriously.

Are you upset/stressed/bored or procrastinating?

This type of eating generally occurs in the afternoons, when people start to lose their steam from working all day. If you find yourself at the fridge, just staring into it for no reason, it’s highly unlikely that you’re actually hungry and what you need is a break, not food. If you’re upset, stressed, bored or procrastinating you should go for a walk, have a cup of tea or a coffee, read a book or magazine (no screens) or call a friend for a chat.

Are you thirsty?

My body loves to confuse hunger with thirst so I make sure I drink at least one glass of water every hour. There are several water reminder apps available (I use Drink Water because it’s compatible with my Apple Watch and it taps me on the wrist and reminds to drink water) or you can set manual alarms on your phone or desktop. I used to work in an office with a mate of mine and we had a kitchen timer that we’d set for 60 minutes to remind us to drink water. Water is hunger’s friend so make sure they hang out often.

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Do you have issues trying to figure out if you’re hungry? Do you have any fixes you’d like to share?

 

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16 Comments

  1. Christine 4 years ago

    It is true – we live in a land of plenty and we often just eat something because it’s there. Sometimes, I will go and brush my teeth to stop myself from eating. I find the thought of eating is not so appealing when my mouth is all tingly and minty fresh! xx

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      That’s totally it. Western culture views hunger as the worst possible thing a person can experience and it’s actually a normal part of being a human. We’re supposed to get hungry!

  2. Kate McLean 4 years ago

    My husband and I have both recently cut out after dinner snacks – replacing them with a cup of chamomile tea has worked wonders. I love the bowl of steamed greens though, great way to stop myself from downing those biccies!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      I do that all the time because if I don’t feel like a bowl of vegetables, I’m not very hungry am I? 🙂

  3. Lauren @ The Thud 4 years ago

    Whenever I told my mum I was hungry when I was little, she’d say “eat an apple” and I’d say “I don’t want an apple” and she’d say “then you’re not hungry”

    I did the liver cleanse diet a couple of years ago and it says it’s totally ok to skip meals if you’re not really hungry. Basically, we’ve been programmed to do the three meals a day thing and sometimes we don’t even need that. It taught me a lot about listening to your body and deciding if you really need to eat at all, and if you do, how much you need to eat to feel full. When you start paying attention, you realise you don’t need to eat that much at all.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      Yes! My mum would say that too! I did the liver cleanse too – ideally I’d never actually skip meals because I just love eating but the 5:2 just regulates every thing and sets my body back to zero. I’ve also started paying attention to portion sizes on boxes. If I make a recipe and it says it serves 4 people, I eat a quarter of it, even if it’s tiny!

  4. KezUnprepared 4 years ago

    Oh, I am the worst. I only have to THINK of a meal and the cravings become ferocious. As I sit here, I am already salivating for tonight’s dinner (I just had breakfast). I’m learning it’s OK to not have dinner if you’re not hungry (although I’ll put a small serving together to set an example for my 3 year old and just have a little nibble). It’s OK to indulge on occasion (my rule is that if a craving for a particular food has gripped me for like 2 days straight and the obsession is making me crazy I will just eat it – feel like crap after because it wasn’t good for me – remember that and then move on).
    I also know I reward myself with food – to cheer myself up or to celebrate just about anything. I am trying to learn how to not do this so much but it is difficult!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      I do that too – If a crave a thing for a few days in a row, I eat it. I had that with chocolate mousse a few weeks ago so I bought a low fat single sized portion. It was perfect!

  5. dashoftonic 4 years ago

    My sister also talks about how being hungry won’t kill us! I am a sucker for snacking when there is ‘yummy’ food in the house. It’s best not to even let it in the door. I’m curious about 5:2. Are the two days consecutive? How does it work with your social life?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      I purposefully don’t keep yummy foods in the house and if there are yummy foods, I get Mr Smaggle to hide them. The fast aren’t consecutive so I usually of Monday and Wednesday and I just don’t schedule social stuff on those days. I’ll have a coffee in the morning (50 cals), protein toast with sliced tomato for lunch (100 calls) and 2 poached eggs with protein toast for dinner (250 cals) and maybe a few nuts or a miso soup or a low cal hot chocolate to make up my 500 calories in the day. It’s not amazing for weight loss unless you’re really strict on your other days but it’s awesome for maintenance.

  6. Fantastic Chaos 4 years ago

    I’ve been trying to be more mindful of stress/boredom eating. My go to is now to drink some water first and it definitely does help. Another one is have set meals times breakfast at 8am, morning tea at 10.30am etc, etc this has worked well for me so far.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      Yes water is the best! I have a water reminder on my phone that taps my wrist whenever I should be drinking water!

  7. Belinda Jacobson 4 years ago

    I’m a terrible boredom eater!! I find that drinking water helps me with keeping the appetite under control too, when I think I’m hungry I drink a glass of water and then if I’m still hungry I’ll eat something. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      I definitely do that too! I start my day with 2 glasses of water, it gives me so much energy!

  8. Jenny Tiifen 4 years ago

    Great post! {spits out biscuit}. The water part especially!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 4 years ago

      Ha! Love it! Biscuits are fine in moderation and even better when you’re not hungry! 🙂

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