What Happens In Your Brain When You Are Hungry?

Hungry brain is bad, right? Not a chance. In fact, we’ve learned that hunger can actually help you achieve your weight-loss goals as it helps you burn more calories, increase fat burning and improve your cardiovascular abilities.

You are hungry (or bored, or sleepy, or just not in the mood) and your brain responds to that hunger by turning your food cravings, hunger pangs and hunger cues into “mental signals” that are sent to your brain telling you that hunger is present. Your brain interprets this signal as a cue to get your food.

Your brain interprets this signal as a cue to get your food.

A very important part of what we need to know is what happens in your brain while you are experiencing a hunger pang. Does your brain send a signal to increase the amount of food you eat (or even to eat more if you are hungry), does your brain send a signal to decrease the amount of food you eat, or does your brain sends a signal to eat food you already ate?

It is not uncommon for a young child to experience a strong craving for food. Your child will probably become very hungry as she gets older. Your child will probably start eating very little at first and eat what she needs – all of her meals will be very small (usually in the form of fruits and vegetables). She will get fat and grow to become just like you – an adult that has gotten used to eating the same things each day.

Your child will likely eat just enough to meet her body’s physiological needs.

This is how adults function, too. We usually don’t really need as bad of a caloric intake as children. If you are getting enough sleep and eating enough solid food, you don’t often need to eat as much as an adult might. In fact, you are often eating more if you are very active (running, lifting weights, etc.)

The key to our success as weight-loss and eating-disorder patients is taking care of our bodies. And, even though your brain interprets our hunger as a cue to get food, your stomach and small stomach know what to do when your brain tells your hunger that you are having to eat. You should be able to eat what you need without getting hungry. If you keep on eating the same amount, or more, of food every day, your hunger pang should diminish and start to subside.

The best way to help your body burn more calories – the way that you keep eating more and burning off fat even when you are hungry -is by exercising every day. It is a key component to becoming a successful weight-loss and eating-disorder patient.

In some cases, a person may have to learn to limit their eating frequency and/or amount of food that they eat as they approach their weight-loss and eating-disorder goals. Other people need to learn how to eat when they are not hungry and burn off calories. Other people need to focus on keeping their blood sugar levels stable even when they are not hungry. It is all really an individualized solution.

It is critical that you listen patiently to your brain and focus on the things that are going to make you a patient and successful weight-loss patient. You will find those helpful tips and techniques that will allow you to become your healthy eating self even when you are not in the best mood.

If you are suffering from weight-loss or eating-disorder issues, please contact me for a free 15-minute Skype consultation.