How to Tell if You're Really Hungry or Just Thirsty

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You hear it all the time but to lose weight you have to work at eating less. This isn’t to be confused with deprivation, for that will actually work against you. It’s really more a matter of learning to practice proper portion control and to eat healthy, the way that you are meant to. You should look to the right food as fuel for your body, and therefore you need to develop a healthy attitude with food and eating in general. The problem that a lot of people have is eating out of boredom, out of an emotional reaction, or simply out of an unnecessary need. If you find that you are questioning if you are really hungry or if you are actually just thirsty or trying to fulfill some other need, then you are not alone.


It’s actually not as hard as you might think it is, and the truth is that many of us eat when we’re not even truly hungry in the first place. If you find that you feel hungry even after you eat a meal, then this is likely something else at play. Sometimes though it may be more difficult to tell, and this is when you want to really test yourself. If you continue to eat when you’re not even hungry then you will definitely have trouble losing weight. You’re actually giving your body something that it doesn’t need, and this isn’t good for anything. It’s imperative to learn to listen to your body and understand what true hunger feels like.


Though you may feel that you are really hungry you want to test this, particularly if it comes at a time where you shouldn’t feel hungry at all. This is a matter of learning to listen to your body and get to know what you truly need in a day for fuel. Here are some helpful ways to determine if it’s time to eat or if something else might just do the trick for a change.


Gauge your emotional state: Far too many of us eat for reasons besides hunger, and they often have much to do with our emotional state. You may be eating out of boredom because you have nothing else to do. You may be eating to help cope with or cover up something traumatic that happened in your life. If you are turning to food for comfort or to escape your emotions, then this is not really hunger that you are dealing with. You have to fill that need with something other than food, and that will lead you down a healthier path overall.


Consider your energy level: If you really need an energy boost then food may be the answer. If you just woke up and need a boost then a nutrient packed breakfast may be the answer. If you are practically falling asleep or feeling sluggish or rundown, then you might need some food. Oftentimes though if you find that you have enough energy and are just in search of a little snack, then it’s not that you are really hungry but just looking for food out of habit. The amount of energy that you have may dictate if you need to eat or if you need to do something else entirely.


Drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes: This is a great test that can measure if you are actually hungry, or if you are confusing it with thirst. To some of us, the body may send similar signals when it’s either hunger or thirst and so it can be quite confusing. If you find that you are in doubt then try drinking a glass of water quickly. Give it time to settle, so just a few minutes, and then reevaluate. Many people find that when they use this test that the glass of water does the trick and there is no need for a meal after all.


Give it 15 minutes when you first feel hungry and then measure it again: Health experts will tell you that hunger pangs can come about every 90 minutes, whether you actually need to eat or not. If you feel hungry then give it about 15 minutes before you give in and eat, and then see how you feel after that. You might find that you aren’t really hungry and that this break helped you figure out that food was not needed. If you are, however, still not satisfied and you find that your stomach is grumbling then a small snack with a big glass of water may help do the trick!