Is hunger good for me?
Yes, mild hunger can benefit your health and your life! This course will show you how to harness hunger with intermittent fasting.
Have you ever been so hungry that you can’t really concentrate?
Or have you ever eaten on a full stomach just because something looked good?
Between these two extremes is a healthy amount of hunger –
a Goldilocks zone!
In this Goldilocks zone, hunger can be healthy and productive for you.
Too much hunger can
prevent you from thriving.
Chronic or ongoing hunger causes discomfort for millions of people around the world.
But too little hunger – or
always eating as soon as
you are hungry – can also be damaging for your health.
A bit of hunger can make you more alert and boost your health
and your memory.
It is a signal that tells your body to fight stress and tells your brain get to busy learning!
But what is hunger?
What makes you hungry, how can you manage it and how can a bit of hunger be good?
Swipe to learn more!
Hunger is the physical sensation that drives you to seek out food. Hunger is partly controlled by a hormone called ghrelin.
A hormone is a chemical messenger.
The ghrelin hormone sends messages from your stomach to your brain to increase your appetite.
Ghrelin was only recently discovered in 1999 by Japanese researchers. It is mainly produced in your stomach.
After hours without food, high ghrelin levels can make your stomach spasm.
You may know this as hunger pangs or stomach growls!
Stomach growls are not the same as extreme hunger or malnutrition, which causes severe discomfort and drains your brain power.
In other words, some hunger pangs and stomach growls on a daily basis can be part of your body’s healthy cycle of getting, storing and using energy from your food.
Mild hunger helps you tune into what your body really needs. How much energy and what kind of energy do you need right now?
If you are very hungry,
you likely don’t want candy!
Experiencing mild hunger also helps you learn to tell the difference between hunger and cravings.
This helps with weight loss.
A craving is a strong desire to eat typically calorie dense foods.
Cravings can be triggered by seeing or smelling food – or even
by stress or staying up late at night!
Mindful technique to deal with cravings:
Try not to immediately give in to your craving. Instead, explore the thoughts and sensations that have come with this urge to eat.
Does the craving start to fade with time? This is how you know it is a craving rather than true hunger.
But if you start to feel irritable
or have low energy levels,
you should eat!
Now you know what hunger is and how you can manage it by being more mindful of it. But how does mild hunger improve your health and wellbeing?
Find out in the next few cards!
Hunger is in fact a mild
(but good!) stress.
Hunger increases levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body.
But in response to this increase in cortisol, your body ramps up the production of other stress-busting compounds!
Your body sees both hunger and stress hormones - ghrelin and cortisol - as signals to turn on many different stress resistance genes.
Hunger can build your
resilience to stress or your ability
to keep calm in uncomfortable or stressful situations.
Hunger is a sensation that your ancestors knew well.
Your brain is designed to work better hungry – it’s a survival adaptation rooted deep in your evolutionary past.
Your surviving ancestors outlasted hunger during physically and mentally challenging hunting raids that lasted for days.
In this sense, tools to manage hunger are built into your biology!
Hunger makes you more alert and active by raising your cortisol levels. Cortisol has been shown to improve activeness and alertness in healthy adults.
The hunger hormone ghrelin can also improve your brain function and even your mood.
But humans are no longer hunter-gatherers.
Many of us have the choice to eat whenever we’d like. There is often food temptation all around us, all day.
Many of us are also taught to see hunger as a bad thing and to eat around the clock to get the
energy we need.
But modern researchers have discovered that fasting overnight or skipping a meal here and there can help improve heart and brain health.
Letting yourself feel a bit hungry for several hours at a time takes stress busting in your body to new levels.
It tells your cells to recycle old and damaged components.
Fasting doesn’t mean
you need to skip meals.
Simply fasting 12-16 hours overnight can help you eat fewer unhealthy snacks and develop a better relationship with food.
In summary, try to find a Goldilocks balance between too much and too little hunger on a daily basis.
A bit of hunger is important
for your health!
You should never experience
hunger around the clock.
If you are chronically hungry,
please seek help. You can visit
your local food bank or shelter.
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