If you are “not exactly a spring chicken” like me, you might remember a 60s TV show called the Beverly Hillbillies. It was a comedy about the Clampetts, a poor family from the Ozarks who move to Beverly Hills after striking oil on their land.
The characters were very funny and made for some very amusing predicaments. One of the most memorable was the Clampetts’ nephew Jethro Bodine, who had an ENORMOUS appetite and was perpetually hungry.
Well, sadly, that’s a reality for many people. I’ve had several clients tell me they’re constantly hungry and are packing on the pounds or suffering ill health effects.
But what many people don’t realize is that it’s not just a matter of “willpower.”
Because there are sneaky little factors around you that can make your inner dinner bell clang even in the absence of true hunger!
Here are 10 of the little-known reasons you may be resembling Jethro Bodine and how you can turn them around.
10 Sneaky reasons why you’re always hungry
1- You’re thirsty
Many people think that they’re hungry when they’re actually thirsty.
Here are a few ways you can tell the difference:
- Next time you feel hungry between meals, drink a large glass of water and see if your “hunger” subsides.
- If your urine is dark yellow and opaque at any time other than first thing in the morning, chances are excellent you’re dehydrated and thirsty.
- If Ronald Reagan was President last time you drank a glass of water (other than water with your meds), and your beverages of choice are coffee, beer, wine and soda, trust me—you need water.
Make sure you’re drinking at least eight 8-oz. glasses of filtered water each day.
2- You’re eating too much salt
Heavy salt intake is usually associated with excessive thirst, but it can also stir up hunger!
Reducing your salt intake is not necessarily what it seems. For many people, the problem lies not in your tabletop saltshaker but instead in how many processed and fast foods you consume!
Processed and fast foods are notorious for containing copious amounts of both salt and sugar, so the more you avoid them, the less salt your body will have to deal with.
3- You’re PMSing
The hormonal changes associated with PMS trigger your appetite and cravings, especially for refined carbohydrates.
In order to help curb your cravings and even out your blood sugar, be sure to concentrate on complex (not refined) carbs like vegetables, plus proteins like meats and cheese, and good fats like eggs, nuts and avocado.
4- You’re a diet soda drinker
Most people who drink diet soda think they’re doing something “good” for their waistline. After all, it’s got zero calories, right?
Well, what you’re actually doing is sending false messages to your brain!
When your brain senses the sweetness of the soda it expects calories to follow. When they don’t, your brain starts to DEMAND them--and you feel hungry as a result.
So it’s best to lay off soda (both diet and regular).
5- You’re stressed
Your body’s biological response to stress (whether physical or mental) is the “fight or flight” reaction.
Your adrenal glands release adrenaline to raise your heart rate, put glucose into your bloodstream and increase your respiration.
Then cortisol is released to help keep you going and refuel your body. As part of that, it makes you hungry so you can replace nutrients you may have used up in your stressful event.
This is fine if your stress is temporary and short-lived. But when you’re chronically stressed day in and day out, this mechanism operates in overdrive…and can give you a nagging appetite as a result.
If chronic stress is a problem for you, it’s time to chill out—do whatever works for you. Measures like massage, deep breathing, prayer, meditation, acupuncture, exercise, taking up a hobby and even adopting a pet have all been shown to help.
6- Side effects of your medications
Certain medications can cause increased appetite, including allergy meds, insulin, steroids, certain blood pressure drugs and anti-depressants.
If you’re on any medications, check the literature and see if increased appetite is a side effect. If so, talk to your doctor about alternatives (preferably natural alternatives).
7- You don’t get enough sleep
Lacking sleep has been linked to higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which can trigger hunger.
Plus when you're sleep deprived, you’re more likely to choose sugary, refined carbohydrates to help provide a quick rush of glucose for energy. This can put you into a yo-yo of sugar highs and lows and perpetuate your cravings.
The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re getting less than that, it’s time to hit the hay earlier.
8- Your thyroid is out of whack
While most people are familiar with underactive thyroid (and the tiredness and weight gain that typically accompany it), having an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can rev up your metabolism and cause increased hunger.
Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include a racing heart, changes in your menstrual patterns, hair loss, tremors, sweating and fatigue.
If you suspect your thyroid is out of whack, see a doctor for testing. Request that he perform a TRH Stimulation test.
9- You may be diabetic
Having undiagnosed and/or uncontrolled diabetes makes it difficult for your body to get blood sugar (glucose) to the areas that need it. As a result, your body might think it’s starving and—you guessed it—trigger your appetite as a result.
If you haven’t had routine bloodwork in a while, see your doctor and get your blood sugar levels tested.
10- You’re undernourished
Your body's hunger signal can be triggered by a lack of nutrients--not merely a physical absence of food in your stomach.
So if you're eating lots of nutrient-poor processed and fast foods, you are very likely undernourished and repeatedly sounding off your inner dinner bell. Of special concern here is lacking protein, fiber and fats, all of which are essential to your good health and help fill you up and keep you full!
In addition, if your digestion is dicey, you may not be absorbing nutrients as well as you should!
The more you concentrate on wholesome real foods, the better nourished you will be—and less likely to snack or overeat.
To help encourage better digestion, here are 2 ways to help:
- Make your meals easier for your system to digest. My Great Taste No Pain system can show you what foods to pair together for dramatically improved digestion, and less gas, bloating, heartburn and constipation too! And you’ll just LOVE the delicious recipes too.
- A complete digestive enzyme supplement like Digestizol Max can give your body a helpful enzyme boost, which is especially important if you’ve had gallbladder or gastric surgery, use acid reducers, are elderly or have been a lover of processed or fast foods most of your life.
Now you are armed with the information you need to get a handle on your hunger now!
To your health,