To Eat or Not to Eat: The Thirst Question

While the header may sounds a bit awkward, there is some truth in it when wanting go loose some kilos. I am talking about the inner battle between hunger versus thirst.

Although the wish for caloric intake or adding some liquid to your system are defined differently, the mission control of signalling your body for a fill-up is actually the same. The hypothalamus, a part of your brain, is solemnly responsible for controlling hunger and thirst based on signals from the body.

These feelings – feeling a bit faint, a gnarling little rumble in your stomach, perhaps the first signs of dizziness or an upcoming headache – are connected to your body signalling “give me some fuel!”. And it is not always clear for the hypothalamus which signal is the right one.

You may just be thirsty when you think you need to open the fridge and dig into leftovers or snacks. Just looking for a pick-me-up to get back on the energy track. The body is much more sensitive to a drop in hydration levels compared to getting some yummy in your tummy.

Even a 1.5% drop in a body’s hydration level can be a reason to feel those earlier-described symptoms. And we do lose more fluid than calories daily to offset our homeostatic balance.

Contrary to what many may say, we have more energy stored to keep us going for quite some time. Our internal drive to eat is largely influenced by one’s environment and habitual munching traits. Or when stress is taking over, we tend to grab to something to chew on. A battle of hunger versus thirst may emerge. Yet, are you genuinely hungry?

Give the following a go. 

Once you feel the urge to eat, grab a glass of (soda) water. Don’t go for coffee, tea, soft drink, energy drink or alcohol. Once finished, wait for 15-20 minutes and see if the feeling of hunger is still there. By using a scaling technique (from 1 to 10), you determine whether the same hunger sensations are still there.

When you score of 8 or higher on the hunger scale (where 10 is defined as “I am famished!”) go ahead and give yourself permission in grabbing something to eat. Minimally processed, whole foods in a meal format still reign supreme. 

By naturally spicing up your water with lemon, lime, fresh fruits, or mint, the chances of you losing that hunger feeling may even benefit this urge not to eat just yet.

It is vitally important that you are honest with yourself, fine-tune your environment and attune with your hunger feelings.

A habit that you already have in you.

And it can be that simple.

Always, through my whole life, I’ve had a thirst for knowledge. | Emmitt Smith

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