Are You Hungry, Or Are You Addicted To Food?
Food cravings can be such a pain, can’t they? I know I always hate it when I’m in a meeting or otherwise stuck somewhere where I can’t have any access to food anytime soon, and all of the sudden a pang of hunger hits me right in the gut.
Sometimes a craving comes to me in a different manner, like when I walk past a bakery and suddenly have an irresistible urge to nosh on donuts and cookies until I simply can’t eat anymore. I used to think that perhaps I just wasn’t eating enough, or I was suffering from some kind of metabolism disorder, until I came across an article by Rodale News that described the difference between actually being hungry, versus just having an addiction to food. It turns out that overeating is more common than you would initially realize, and that more importantly, it can be successfully treated.
I’ve heard of emotional eating before, and I’m starting to see how it may play a part in my own life. I have pretty high levels of anxiety, and I’ve begun to notice that I sometimes end up craving sweet snacks in order to distract myself from the stress building up in my body. I used to think I was just genuinely hungry, but keeping a food diary and logging my emotional state before and after eating has helped me realize what’s really going on.
You may experience similar habits in your life, or maybe you find that you tend to overindulge on chips or other salty treatswhen you’re zoned out watching TV or reading over reports for work. Eating out of boredom or a lack of engaging activity is another common factor in overeating, so it’s important to keep both your mind and your body active as much as you can.
The Rodale News article recommends upping your intake of soluble fiber in order to successfully reduce empty hunger pangs and cravings, and I agree. I know that I always feel more focused and energized on mornings when I eat a bowl of oatmeal which, surprise, contains healthy doses of soluble fiber. Bananas, black beans, and apples all also have enough grams of soluble fiber to really keep you going throughout the day. For later in the day, try snacking on whole wheat toast or crackers with peanut or almond butter for a protein-laden snack that prevents cravings later on.