[Guest Post]

Hunger is a completely natural feeling and never is this more the case than when you’re trying to drop a few pounds. Feeling hungry immediately after eating however, well, that’s a little less so.

Contrary to popular belief, feeling hungry isn’t always a sign that you need to eat more. There are actually a number of factors at play. And not all of them should, or even can, be solved by a trip to the kitchen.

Here are eight common causes of hunger that most people don’t know about.

You’re Thirsty

Despite the fact that hunger and thirst feel completely different, it’s not uncommon for people to confuse the two. This is because dehydration often leads to fatigue and most people associate fatigue with a lack of food. It’s therefore surprisingly easy to find yourself heading towards the cooker when all you really need is a glass of water. This is one of the reasons that drinking plenty of water is such a vital component of a successful diet.

You’re Not Sleeping Enough

Another common cause of illogical hunger is mild sleep deprivation. Multiple studies have shown that when you sleep less than seven hours per night, you tend to consume more calories. This has been attributed to the fact that a lack of sleep leads to an increase in cortisol levels. And cortisol is a hormone that not only increases stress and blood pressure levels, it leads to an increase in both appetite and sugar cravings. If you want to cut back on food, it’s therefore important not to cut back on sleep.

You’re Only Eating One Thing

A bowl of pasta might seem like a filling meal but the reality is that a meal made exclusively of carbohydrates is never going to protect you from hunger. Carbohydrates are typically digested in less than an hour resulting in hunger returning almost immediately. Protein and fat on the other hand take between four and seven hours to digest. If you want to keep hunger at bay, it’s therefore vital to prepare meals that include multiple food groups.

It’s a Side Effect of Your Medication

Should you find yourself both illogically hunger and on medication, it’s always worth asking your doctor if the two might somehow be related. Medications such as antidepressants, anti histamines, steroids and even birth control pills have all been linked to an increase in appetite in those who take them. If you think that your medication is to blame for your hunger, ask your doctor about alternatives.

You’re Eating Your Meals too Far Apart

When it comes to tackling hunger, it’s not just what you eat but when you eat it that matters. And never is this more important than when you are trying to limit your daily calorie intake. If you want to eat less without going hungry, you need to eat more often . In other words, you should be eating between five and six small meals per day. Fail to do so and hunger is actually perfectly natural.

You’re Eating The Wrong Foods

Another mistake that can easily lead to you feeling hungry after eating is stocking your plate with processed food. Processed food is notorious for having very little nutritional value. And the result is that no matter how much you eat, your body is never really satisfied. While there’s nothing wrong with eating junk food every now and then, if you’re looking to tame your hunger, you need to make more nutritious choices.

You’re Bored

Most people react to boredom the same way; with a desperate desire to do something. And it’s not uncommon for people to confuse a desperate desire to do something with a desperate desire to eat. The easiest way to differentiate between the two is to imagine an absolutely massive plate of your favourite food. If you’re genuinely hungry, this will obviously seem appealing. If you’re not, the portion will seem too large.

You Drank Too Much Soda

Finally, there’s the small matter of soda, it happens to be the last thing that you should be drinking if you’re trying to avoid hunger. Sodas, and other sweetened drinks, are not only incredibly fattening, they contain large amounts of high fructose corn syrup. Fructose limits your body’s ability to produce leptin and leptin happens to be the hormone that makes you feel full. In other words, drink enough soda and you’ll be hungry regardless of what you eat.