You’ve just eaten lunch and you’re already counting down the hours (minutes?) until afternoon tea. Familiar? I thought so.
Read on to find out why you are still hungry and what you can do.
Reason #1: You’re not eating enough
Solution: Eat More
Simple as that. If you have history of restrictive dieting and/or calorie counting, it is highly likely that you are under fuelling your body. Trust that nature knows best and start by adding more of our most nutrient dense foods – protein, good fats and non-starchy vegetables – to each meal. You will honestly watch your satiety skyrocket. This is particularly important if you crave sweets after a meal or suffer from a regular case of 3.30-itis.
Reason #2: You’re actually thirsty
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. If you’re not drinking 2.5-3 litres of water per day, start by increasing your daily natural fluid consumption. Carrying a water bottle with you, drinking a full glass of water prior to a meal and drinking herbal tea (particularly in cooler weather) are great strategies to work with.
Reason #3: There’s not enough protein on your plate
Solution: Increase Your Protein
Protein is our satiety macronutrient that balances blood sugars and therefore helps to control our weight. Aim to eat a variety of good-quality protein by choosing free-range eggs, grass-fed hormone-free beef, organic hormone-free chicken and fresh salmon. Vegetarian and vegans may need to consider supplementing with a good-quality pea protein powder, which adds variety and minimises the starches that come with legumes, lentils, and other similar plant-based protein sources.
Reason #4: You’re suffering from fatophobia
Solution: Add Good Fats
Fat is essential for hormonal production, which is just one of many reasons why there is no requirement for low-fat products or diets. The right type of fat, however, is extremely important:
- Always cook with saturated fat, such as coconut oil, butter and animal fat, as they are highly heat stable and maintain their structure under high temperatures. They are also a fantastic source of slow release energy and along with protein, contribute to satiety and blood sugar and insulin control.
- Add avocado, salmon and almonds for essential omega 3’s.
- Avoid polyunsaturated seed oils, high doses of omega 6 and trans fats – theses are highly inflammatory and can lead to hormonal imbalances and chronic health conditions.
Reason #5: There’s not enough shut-eye in your week
Solution: Get An Early Night (or 7!)
Studies have shown that an average of 7.5 hours of sleep per night can help assist with weight loss. How? Our hormones. Ghrelin tells us when to eat and leptin tell us when to stop, so in short, more ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain. And this is exactly what happens when you are sleep deprived.
In addition, your metabolism slows down and you are more likely to reach for that sweet treat or extra latte for a quick pick-me-up.
Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey says “when you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort food”. Time for some shut-eye, don’t you think?
Another benefit of adequate sleep is that you are more inclined to rise early and fit in a quick workout. Exercising first thing in the morning is fantastic for your metabolism and a great way to accelerate your body’s fat burning ability. Simply start with a 30-minute walk around the block.
Which reason do you think you suffer from for that dreadful 3.30-itis? Tell me below.