While we’re in lockdown, for most of us, our lifestyle has become sedentary. We are undergoing mental and emotional stress which often leads to binge eating. It is natural, when we are stressed, we find outlets to overcome it and the first thing that comes to mind is eating! A sedentary lifestyle coupled with irregular sleep leads to hunger cravings which ultimately leads to gorging on unhealthy food such as junk food, chocolates, refined foods, bakery products, juices, soft drinks, pizza, etc. that lead to weight gain. Let’s take a deeper look.
How Much Time Does It Take Food To Get Digested?
- After having a meal, our GI tract slowly empties by pushing food through the stomach and from there it goes to the small intestine where it gets absorbed and then it reaches the large intestine. It takes approximately 2 hours for this entire process.
- Hunger cravings occur 2 hours after having a meal when food gets digested. So, our brain picks up messages from the stomach and tells us that it’s time for our next meal.
- This entire system is regulated by 2 hormones in our body which are known as hunger hormones – Ghrelin and Leptin.
- Ghrelin stimulates appetite and is produced in the stomach when it’s empty and promotes fat storage.
- Leptin controls appetite and signals the brain to stop eating.
- If we eat after every 2 hours, ghrelin will not be released and there won’t be any overeating.
Tip To Control Hunger Cravings
- Eat before you feel hungry at an interval of 2 hours.
- Have 6 meals in a day: 3 main meals and 3 mid meals and eat slowly. Have a fruit as a mid meal and avoid having fruits with the main meals.
- Snack on nuts like foxnuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, mixture of various seeds to help you stay full.
- Add spices and chillies in your food as it increases the satiety.
- Avoid fasting: Skipping meals can cause your body to go into a fat storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories.
- Have jaggery, jaggery powder, stevia leaves and honey to curb sugar cravings.
- Include proteins in all your meals. Proteins are the building blocks of our body. It takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and is considered to be more satiating than carbs and fats. It keeps your energy levels up and appetite down.
- Have fiber rich foods since it helps in regulation of bowel movements and helps you feel fuller for a longer duration. It doesn’t add calories to your diet and cannot be converted to glucose. Include leafy green vegetables, fruits with the peel like apple,pear, plum and even berries, sweet potatoes with skin, potatoes, oatmeal, fenugreek seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, cinnamon powder, drumstick, garden cress seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, figs, raisins and prunes.
- Quench your thirst to control your appetite by drinking plenty of water. Drink 12-15 glasses of water throughout the day. Have 1 glass of water before and 1 after having your meal, as water is a no calorie quencher, you’ll be able to decrease your hunger before you start eating so you aren’t starving at the table. In case you don’t like the taste of plain water, have green tea, cinnamon tea, buttermilk, coconut water, lemon water or detox water.
- Exercise for 30 mins everyday: since it lowers the level of ghrelin. It increases the feeling of fullness, increases your metabolism and helps in burning more calories. Indulge in yoga, pilates, cardio, stretching, skipping, dancing, etc.
- Have a wake up and sleep schedule: To avoid midnight hunger pangs, don’t stay awake for a longer time post dinner and have soups, salads and protein rich meals for dinner to avoid eating junk food. Make a habit of having 1 tsp flax seeds post dinner since it has fibers that will make you feel satiated.
We hope this article helps you understand your hunger cravings and helps you curb them. For more tips on controlling hunger cravings, check out Healthy Reads or tune in to expert nutritionists on GOQii Play.
Stay home, stay safe, eat healthy and #BeTheForce