Understanding Hunger*

If hunger was the only reason behind why you ate what you ate, then most of us probably wouldn’t have so much of a struggle with obesity and weight loss. The reality is that there are all sorts of reasons as to why you will sit down to eat what you eat throughout the day, and sometimes those hunger cues are actually hunger related, and other times they have less to do with hunger and more to do with environmental factors that impact your interest in eating.

There are all sorts of things that can prompt you to eat a regular basis, such as:

  • A certain time of day (like a lunch break)
  • Seeing someone else eat nearby
  • The alluring smell of a favorite food
  • Stress, sadness, or any other strong emotion

Falling for unnecessary hunger cues is one of the leading causes of overeating. Becoming more aware of your body’s needs and understanding the difference between true hunger and other unnecessary hunger cues can help you reduce snacking.

Strategies to Cut Down on Overeating

Non-hunger related eating cues can be broken down into three simple categories:

1. Social cues are those that trigger you to eat because other people are eating around you. This would include the tendency to overeat when you are out with friends or at a party.

2. External cues are habitual, which are often ingrained and as such as pretty hard to break. This includes poor eating habits like having a snack before you go to bed or snacking while you watch TV, whether you are hungry or not.

3. Internal cues are the emotional or mental cues that trigger you to eat when you are anxious, upset or tired.

To start understanding the reasons as to why you are overeating regularly, try tracking your thoughts and decisions connected to food throughout the day. Keep a food journal and list not only what you eat, but why you decided to eat. You may find that simply asking yourself if you are actually hungry in those situations could have a big impact on how much you actually eat.

Becoming more aware of the different cues that trigger your poor eating habits can help you become more conscious of how excess calories may be working their way into your diet. Eliminating these unhealthy eating habits during your medical weight loss program can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

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*Weight loss surgery results vary between individuals depending on the initial weight, medical conditions and adherence to prescribed treatments. Speak to Dr. Bass about the results you can expect.