Are You Always Hungry? Here Are 3 Possible Reasons Why

It’s normal to feel hungry a few hours or more after a meal and after you wake up in the morning. But it feels like you’re hungry all the time. You’re always hunting down a snack, almost never feel satisfied after eating it, and can’t figure out why.

The answers might not be as complicated — or serious — as you might think.

Do you feel hungry barely an hour after eating? Are you constantly going to bed hungry — or eating before you go to sleep? Here’s why your stomach probably never stops rumbling.

You’re stressed

Stress

Stress | iStock.com/RobertoDavid

Everyone reading this has engaged in at least one “stress-eating” experience … this week.

Bad day at work? Ice cream for dinner. Unexpected breakup? An entire large pizza just for you.

There’s actually a totally scientific reason why this happens. (Not that it’s any excuse to keep doing it.) Stress releases hormones that, through a series of mechanisms scientists are still trying to understand more clearly, make you feel hungry. You eat because your brain says “eat.”

But why can’t you stress-eat carrots instead of ice cream? Probably because you’ve unintentionally trained your brain to recognize that foods high in sugar make you feel good. So when you feel stressed, either out of frustration or anger or sadness, your learned response is to reach for dessert.

You’re eating the wrong foods

Even if it seems like all you do all day long is eat, the quality of your food can make a huge difference — or not. Most people don’t like to be told they’re doing the wrong thing — but think of it as “missing out” on extra-filling foods.

One of the most dangerous things about junk food isn’t its sugar or fat or sodium content. It’s the “empty calories.” These foods don’t fill you up because there’s really nothing in them to trigger a feeling of fullness. You keep eating until the potato chip bag is empty because┬áthere’s nothing telling your brain it’s time to stop.

Foods high in fiber, though, fill you up and tell your brain when to hit pause much faster. Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and quinoa (though there are many others) can give you the fiber you need to end feelings of hunger and keep them at bay for hours at a time.

You’re exercising a lot but haven’t changed your diet

Exercise

Exercise | iStock.com/GeorgeRudy

Yes, if you’re getting off the couch and working out consistently, you should be proud of that. Good on you for sweating! But it’s possible to overdo it — especially if you take the calorie-deficit weigh-loss strategy a little too far.

Eating less and exercising more can lead to weight loss. But as previously mentioned, if you aren’t filling up on the right foods, you’re probably not going to get the results you want. Especially if you follow up every workout with a donut, flavored iced coffee, and okay fine maybe a few more donuts.

Despite its many short- and long-term health benefits, exercise alone can’t solve all your problems. You have to put back in some of the calories you burn, and most of them need to be “good” calories. You should always aim to “refuel” on foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and proteins.

With the right stress-management techniques, foods, and calories-in-calories-out ratio, there’s a chance your constant hunger could finally subside. If these methods don’t help, consider talking to your doctor. Some medications and health conditions could be contributing to your seemingly endless quest for food.

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