Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eating When You’re Not Hungry

Wait a minute - eat when you’re not hungry?  Why would I advise you to do that?  There are times when you should eat even if you’re not hungry, such as upon rising in the morning or after several daytime hours without eating.  There are various reasons people sometimes don’t feel hunger, including having a history of calorie restricted dieting or being physically ill.  Depression, grief, and anxiety are other common reasons hunger is diminished.  Some sedentary people rarely feel tremendously hungry.  It’s important to pay attention to your body signals and emotional states.  Going more than four hours during the day without eating causes the metabolism to drop as the body strives to preserve energy.  It also may result in overeating later in the day.
However, from years of experience working with overweight people, I can tell you that there are many unwise reasons people eat besides hunger.  People eat to relieve stress; some find food takes their mind off of the stressor while others choose crunchy foods to expend the energy that is building up.  Sometimes people eat to be social and “fit in,” perhaps succumbing to peer pressure.  Workplaces are filled with opportunities to feel the need to eat.  Often people eat to decrease fatigue, when what they really lack is sleep.  Some folks eat out of habit, because it’s mealtime or because they always eat when they come home from school.  A major reason people eat too much is because it tastes good.  This common restaurant behavior brings up one last reason diners overeat – because they paid for it. 
Enjoying a well balanced diet and eating at least three times a day is best for overall health and weight management.  Let me know if you need help with either what or when you eat, so you can look, feel, and be your very best!

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