Thursday, August 2, 2012

Learning how to identify physical hunger

Yesterday, we talked about understanding the absence of hunger.  I forgot to mention that you will not feel the absence of hunger as your eating...


The reason for this is that physical hunger is a biological signal that triggers ones food-seeking behaviors. (and no -- all food seeking behaviors are NOT biologically driven!)

At a very basic level, what happens is this:

Your body senses that the fuels necessary to maintain your current state of activity are getting low.  Once that happens the brain signals for neurochemicals to be released causing us to feel hunger.  If the situation doesn't change, more of those signals are stimulated and more hunger registers.

Once we start to eat (some science is pointing to the smell of food being the first signal), intake of calories start to register as the food is being chewed which sets off chemical messengers back to the brain.  More signals on the progress of the food will be sent from the stomach.  More in from the intestines.  Once enough calories have been registered by the brain, it shuts off the hunger signal.

If you're not physically hungry -- there is not messenger cascade to turn off.  The first physical signal you are going to get is when your stomach registers it is being stretched(from too great a volume of food sitting there!).  So, after eating that (second) dessert after dinner at the neighbors, you won't register a cessation of hunger as a potential stopping point because you weren't hungry in the first place!

Just another reason to work on you use and understanding of the Hunger/Fullness scale!

You need to learn the difference between physical hunger and trigger eating.  You won't be able to use absense of hunger as a stopping point for eating if you weren't hungry in the first place.

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