I’m hungry and I have a BIG appetite!


Hunger versus appetite.

Hunger is the body’s message that it’s time to refuel. The stomach gurgles, growls and makes us blush, and eventually, if we ignore it, we experience light-headedness, fatigue, irritability and weakness. All of which are signals that our blood sugar levels have dropped.

Appetite is our desire to eat. And appetite will stimulate salivation and stomach contractions. Appetite can be hunger based, but it’s more often a conditioned response to cravings, emotional stressors, childhood food habits, boredom, late night television, seeing someone else eat, easy access to food.

Dummies.com breaks it down this way: “When you’re hungry, you eat one hot dog. After that, your appetite may lead you to eat two more hot dogs just because they look or taste good.”

Some ways to be the boss of your appetite:

Eat regularly. If you feed your body with regular timing you are less likely to push yourself to the edge of insanity and then claw your way back with every cheesy, meaty, salty, sugary, food within reach.

Chew your food. The digestion process begins with the saliva in the mouth. When we inhale our food, we’re less likely to digest properly, leaving us feeling uncomfortable, as well as undernourished as our body works harder to break down the food. The body also takes 15-20 minutes to register that we are full. Taking our time with the food we eat helps us receive these signals rather than overriding them.

Get creative with your snack options. Sweet vegetables, green apples and blackberries and raspberries, may take the mind some getting used to, as an alternative choice for sugar, but the body will not suffer the extreme spikes and drop in energy levels with moderate use of natural sugars. Seaweed snacks, roasted nuts and celery make a healthy alternative for salty tastes.

Finally, when you feel the call of your belly, or the roar, as it may be for many of us, ask yourself, am I really hungry?

You can still have the snack even if you aren’t really hungry, but you’ll begin to bring awareness to your habits and that is surefire way to get a handle on hunger versus appetite.

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