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January 5, 2012

Hungry, Thirsty or Bored?

Dinner Diva
Hungry, Thirsty or Bored?

By Leanne Ely, CNC

Have you ever said these words, “I’m hungry!”?

I’m going to bet 100% of us have uttered those words, and probably most of us said it today! The deal is though– are you really?

How do you know when you’re truly hungry?

That’s an excellent question because so many of us really don’t know. We don’t understand the difference between hunger, thirst and sometimes, recreational eating for the sake of eating. Why is this?

I believe there are a whole bunch of reasons and strangely enough, most of which we’re not 100% aware of! A lot of us cannot read our bodies internal signals. We confuse hunger with thirst. We’re not drinking enough water and consequently, we mistake thirst for hunger. So a good self check before you head for the fridge is to gauge how much water you’ve drunk so far that day. How much do you need? More than you think! And no, not all liquid counts as hydration. Some beverages like tea and coffee dehydrate. Personally, I drink a minimum of 4 24-ounce bottles of water a day. I work out and run; I drink coffee, so I need that much water. On a particularly hot day, I will drink more.

Is that amount of water appropriate for you? Not necessarily—I could be taller, weigh more, move more, sweat more and therefore, have more need for 96 ounces of water a day than you. The deal is getting in touch with your own inner signals to figure it all out. A good test to find out whether its hunger or thirst is to drink an 8 ounce glass of water at the first sign of hunger, then wait 15 minutes (remember, we can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes, include waiting to eat!). If you’re truly hungry, that hungry feeling won’t go away and by all means, it’s time to eat. If you weren’t hungry, you’ll be just fine and a little more hydrated.

If you’re eating out of boredom, you know the cure already. Keep track of what and when you’re eating. Keep a food journal (this includes everything, even water) before proceeding to the next level (eating). If you’re dealing with boredom, make a list of things to do other than eat and do one of them. If you’re hungry, find something healthy to nosh on and enjoy it. Snacking is actually encouraged in my book, Body Clutter. It’s the grazing aspect of eating that is discouraged! We’re human beings with one stomach, not cows with several.

We all get hungry, but sometimes we’re just thirsty or bored! Get in touch with what real hunger is and get to know the difference.

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  • Divahorne

    Leanee, re your statement ’And no, not all liquid counts as hydration. Some beverages like tea and coffee dehydrate.’  Current studies show that if you regularly consume the same amount of tea/coffee on a daily basis that in less that a week the caffeine no longer acts as a diaretic.  So yes, those to beverages do count as hydration as long as you drink them on a regular basis.