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Hunger Pangs: A Signal from the Brain and Hormones

Hunger pangs are a signal from the brain and the hormones and
influenced by many external cues, habits, and emotions.

Have you ever been in a situation where your stomach was growling? One minute you are okay
and the next minute you are starving?

Our bodies are amazing. They always know what to do, right? Ghrelin (responsible for the
growling) and Leptin, not to be confused with Hansel and Gretel, play a significant role. The
hormone Ghrelin makes you feel hungry and the hormone leptin signals your brain that you
have received enough energy (food). These hormones often get out of balance when you have
too much body weight. The GOOD NEWS is that your body begins to adjust as you lose

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Often, at the onset of a diet the hormone Ghrelin is produced at a particular level. Once you
start regulating your calorie intake and trying to eat smaller portions, Ghrelin becomes dominant
signaling HUNGER….have you ever heard of feeling HANGRY?

The longer you go without satisfying these urges, the more you will notice that your hormone balance
begins to reset. Your feelings of hunger will begin to diminish. No more wild swings from feeling okay
to that panicky starved feeling.

Here are some ways to ease your hunger pangs

● Follow a food plan and stick to it. Dieting is never the answer long term, but sometimes you need a
plan to define your goals and to assist in healthy weight loss. Study it, plan for it, and try your best to

● Make sure you’re getting enough protein. Sometimes this is hard, but eating
enough protein helps you feel fuller longer. Protein takes more time to digest
than carbohydrates do, which leads to a longer time before you experience
HUNGER. Data exists that suggests protein can boost your metabolism, and
help burn calories more efficiently.

● Eat more Fiber. If you’re in our program you will hear me talking about fiber a lot. I’m a
“fiber pusher”. I think most folks are deficient in fiber and I personally believe it’s
the unsung hero of health. Fruits and veggies are always a great source, but you
may be limiting fruit, seeds and nuts. Leafy greens with cut up raw veggies offer
a great way to increase fiber intake. Just add one tablespoon of your favorite
vinaigrette to top it.

● Make the switch to complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrate loading brings a
lot of folks into our program. Intake needs to be limited. However, if you are
going to eat carbohydrates make sure they are complex carbohydrates. Simple,
processed carbs are nothing more than sugar, and they raise your glucose,
insulin, and levels of fatigue. They also contribute to weight gain. Make your
body work harder (and happily so) by eating whole grains, farro, quinoa, beans,
sweet potatoes, and more. These options are so much better for your body and
for feeling satisfied.

● Ask yourself if you are REALLY HUNGRY? This is a good question to
consider when dealing with a growling stomach. Other needs masked as hunger are:
thirst, loneliness, stress, fatigue, boredom. Take a moment to consider the big
picture. Drink a big glass of water and see how you feel. If you determine that
yes, you ARE HUNGRY, then try eating some cut up raw veggies dipped in just
a LITTLE hummus. You get both fiber and protein to signal fullness to your brain.

● SLOW DOWN. Slow down your thoughts. Slow down eating. Slow down
overall, and experience a sense of calm. This gives you the opportunity to
check-in with your senses, to get to know your body and its signals, and to make
healthful decisions.

Hunger Pangs are a Normal Body Function

When good old Ghrelin signals hunger, know that those pangs are a natural function! It is what
we often do after receiving those signals that becomes dysfunctional. Use this little bit of scientific
talk to win the battle against over indulgence. You Can Do It!

Our Medical Weight Loss program at Profile MD offers a scientific approach to winning the battle
against excess weight. Our clients experience lots of support, great tips, medical oversight and
help, and accountability. Reach out to us for a FREE consultation.

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