Many of my patients complain they are always starving. Assuming they are experiencing real hunger, the need for food that comes from the stomach, not head hunger or appetite, the desire for food, there are explanations and solutions.
As an RDN, to understand my patients’ eating behaviors and individualize diet plans, it’s important to discuss hunger and understand where it’s coming – the stomach or the head. Once I determine whether the issue is hunger or appetite, I need to know when it starts: immediately after eating, 1 hour later, 4 hours later or no specific time. – Based on this information, I can identify inappropriate or unnecessary eating. Is the patient bored, stressed, anxious, angry, eat inappropriately, or any of innumerable reasons? Once understood and determined whether hunger is medical or dietary or emotional, or a combination, solutions can be developed.
As a nutrition consultant, I consider many dietary issues before developing an individualized diet plan and strategies to manage hunger. Did you eat breakfast? Was the interval too long between meals? Are you eating refined foods rather selection food with limited processing? Are you having a balanced meal – combination of starch (preferably high fiber/limited processing), protein, and vegetable, with modest fat? Do you snack frequently?
People who have followed “one-size-fits-all diets” based on pseudo-science are often too restrictive or eat inappropriately. It’s important to understand diet fads and trends are not sustainable. In addition, many individuals develop habits and behaviors that contribute to dissatisfaction and hunger. To say it simply: too many diets coupled with misinformation have prevailed.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist, a meal plan and nutrition therapy need to start with an evaluation of a patient’s customary diet and eating behaviors. This personalized approach includes education, meal planning, behavior modification, and maintenance strategies.
In my next blog, I’ll give you the top 5 reasons you are always starving along with the strategies to normalize your hunger.
Further reading on how to identify reasons for and how to manage hunger: