If you are like me and millions of others who have struggled with obesity, you know how it feels to have a never ending hunger. We can get those ravenous appetites that only complete gluttony can satiate – maybe. These cravings can hit any time of day and night – and nothing will satisfy it but junk food. You could eat a five gallon bucket of salad greens and still feel hungry until you get what it is you really want. And what we want in these situations are rarely healthy choices. Whether we want to admit this or not is irrelevant, it is still true for all with a problem of obesity.
Do we gorge on junk foods because they taste so scrumptious? Or do we gorge because junk foods make us feel good in the moment? Of course, the other variable is that not only do these foods taste good, they also give us an endorphin rush that makes us feel good.
Do you know what doesn’t give us an endorphin rush? Broccoli as well as all other vegetables fail to provoke our body’s release of feel good chemicals. If we are going to be intellectually honest, your local greasy spoon drive through restaurant’s food probably does not taste much better than fresh vegetables, but it makes you feel good for a moment, and then the moment is gone like a flash in the pan. I would be willing to wager that there are nowhere near the number of people heading out in the middle of the night after a vegetable tray as there are folks venturing out to their nearest fast food drive through.
Face it, when cravings hit, lots of us might venture out in any weather conditions in order to get a burger, fries, and ice cream. I do not personally know anyone who would go out in a heavy snow for a bag of baby carrots to snack on. Just like a good portion of you who have done these things, I have done so too.
When we think of the word “cravings,” our mind instantly wanders to fast food, salt, sweets.
“Craving” is seldom a word paired with anything leafy, green, or plant-based.
If you are going to remind me that french fries cause cravings, move to the front of the class, and pay attention! We unfortunately do not crave foods that are good for us – the consumption of healthy foods will often manifest itself in a begrudgingly slow movement from our plate to our mouths, followed by a disappointed face as we chew. Why can’t we yearn for spinach the way we yearn for a donut?
Our love affair with bad food is a learned behavior which often comes from the environments from which we were raised. When we continuously eat poor food choices, our taste buds adapt to higher levels of sugar and salt to the point where something notably high in either flavor is what begins to taste more normal to us. And of course, those higher levels of sugar, salt combined with unhealthy fats can give us those feelings of never ending hunger which can drive us crazy. You couldn’t convince me that you have ever gorged on healthy plates of food in the same manner as you have pizza for example.
And if you did gorge on healthy foods, you are far less likely to have any issues with your weight.
What causes junk food cravings and never ending hunger?
- Food euphoria. Unfortunately, our bodies are hard-wired to crave junk food. When you eat the junk foods you enjoy, you stimulate the feel-good centers in your brain which trigger you to eat even more. This is especially true with people who suffer from excess body weight and obesity. The brain’s reward processing system for food is like its mechanisms related to substance abuse. Sugar makes us want to eat more sugar. Fat makes us want to eat more fat. Our brains are chasing that pleasurable state of food euphoria. Eating a delicious pizza will lead to a significant increase of pleasant feelings, whereas consumption of a calorie-matched nutritional drink will not do the same for us.
- Lack of sleep. Studies suggest that sleep deprivation is associated with increased hunger – especially snack and sweet cravings. And you can blame it on your hormones. Lack of sleep causes hormone shifts:
- Ghrelin, the hunger-control hormone, increases, causing you to eat more.
- Leptin, the appetite-suppressing hormone, decreases.
- Cortisol, the stress hormone, may increase, stimulating your appetite.
- Research shows that sleep deprivation causes an increase in overall hunger, which can lead to cravings of sugar, fat or both.
- Habit. If it’s normal for you to eat junk food, it can be hard to break that cycle. You’re used to not cooking, preparing or planning. You eat whatever’s on hand because that’s what you’ve always done. And this is exactly why you must create anew nutritional lifestyle if you want your weight loss to be permanent.
- Stress. Stress, or emotional, eating really is a thing – and it’s the result of both nature and nurture. Some people find food helps distract them from negative thoughts and feelings. Others learned as children to use food to cope. Hormones are also responsible. Like lack of sleep, ongoing stress causes the body to increase levels of cortisol and other hormones connected to hunger. Studies show this hormone tsunami increases appetite — along with your desire for sugary and fatty foods.
Each of those causes of never ending hunger can all be controlled. You do not have to suffer from cravings for the rest of your life, nor do you have to lose your health to unhealthy cravings. Follow our easy and simple plan here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness and we can help you to achieve your weight loss objectives for exactly no cost to you ever! Subscriptions are free and easy if you would like for each of our new articles to come straight to your email as soon as we publish them. This is also free of charge to all. Our mission is a labor of love in helping others to lose weight in a healthy manner.