Saturday, October 24, 2015

Are you hungry, thirsty or just bored?

Food brings people together. Food is a necessity, comfort and luxury all rolled into one.We eat when we are hungry, when we are thirsty, when we are bored, when we depressed or just for fun.

When you reach out for that favorite cookie jar or that big bag of chips, this is a question that you should be asking yourself. " Am I really hungry?" Most of us confuse thirst for hunger. This realization is really important if you are someone trying to lose weight or simply working towards a sustainable weight-loss plan. Think about the number of times you have felt a bit dehydrated and you dug into that big bowl of ice cream. Now, these are unwanted calories! You could have just drank plain water or sipped on some freshly squeezed juice. What's even more unhealthy is drinking milk-sugar loaded tea or coffee just because you feel like it. Then there is emotional hunger, when one is not satisfied by usual portion of food he/she is used to eating. When you experience emotional hunger, you might just want to keep on binging till you cannot eat anymore and later on, sleep for hours or not sleep at all. Relaxation techniques, reading, a long journey or any kind of distraction to keep your mind away from the emotional trigger may help. 

Consider this scenario, you had a satiating lunch just over an hour ago but your favorite show is on TV. It might be hard to resist munching on popcorn or drinking cola because the food makes the TV program even more entertaining. The same applies to post-dinner family movie time where we snack on our favorite calorie laden desserts without guilt. Let's face it, food makes other activities more fun. While there is no denying it, our motto for a healthy life should be "eat to live and not live to eat". 

So what should you do? Before you eat or drink anything you need to take a minute and ask yourself "Am I really experiencing hunger?"If your lips and throat are dry, you might want to just drink water. If your tummy is growling and there is the gradual onset on hunger pangs, you should decide to eat. Ideally, you should try to eat every three to four hours. Planning and prepping your meals ahead of time will stop us from eating unhealthy food.  Lots of celebrity endorsed diets prescribe eating small meals throughout the day. This will work if your meals are planned out by a trained dietitian and the diet is coupled with a proper exercising regimen. But if your diet is not well planned out by an expert with the exact calorific details you might just want to have a healthy portion of breakfast, lunch and dinner that incorporates plenty of fruits and veggies. And remember, moderation is the key!

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