Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hungry or just jonesing?

I used the term "starving" yesterday, and it stopped me cold. Was I really starving? Of course not. Was I really hungry? I actually don't think so. At the time I was a tad bored, a bit tired, and when I really thought about what I wanted, it wasn't a salad or a piece of fruit. I wanted Twizzlers.

So what is hunger? I've done some research and found out it's caused by a drop in blood sugar about four or five hours after you eat a meal. It really is my tummy's way of saying: "Feed me!" Sometimes, hunger might manifest itself in a headache or exhaustion.

When I was "starving" yesterday, it was about an hour after I ate a grilled chicken salad. There was no way I should have been even hungry. But it would have been so easy for me to fall off my diet wagon if there was a package of Twizzlers around. There was not, so I put a bag of Jolly Time in the microwave. I ate every kernel, and enjoyed each one.

So what exactly are cravings? Again, they can be caused by a dip in blood sugar, especially if you eat a meal loaded with highly processed carbs. Yesterday, this was not the case, so it had to be something else.

Boredom. And I was tired. Put the two together and my defenses drop to an all-time low. The key here: I actually took the time to identify what my problem was, and did something to fix it. That bag of popcorn cost me 3 Weight Watchers PointsPlus. It also got me to stop thinking about food. I was no longer "starving." Instead, I was extremely pleased with myself.

Lesson here: No. 1: Listen to my body; it is very wise. And No. 2: Prepare for hunger, cravings, starvation, whatever I am calling it. Have a variety of fast foods at the ready, so when hunger strikes, and it's not yet mealtime, I can eat something that won't immediately go to my hips. Fruit, veggies, popcorn, yogurt, celery spread with a low-fat Laughing Cow wedge: All good choices. Water or tea can also help.

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