Eating is fabulous, let's be real! I look forward to it every day. BUT, why do we sometimes find ourselves asking "Why am I not hungry?!" It can be frustrating and confusing, but in this post I'm going to share with you the top 3 reasons why we find ourselves not feeling hungry.
Reasons You're Asking "Why Am I Not Hungry?!"
You're Not Hungry Due To Loss Of Hunger Cues
One of the most common reasons we don't feel hungry is because we've lost our hunger cues. Hunger cues are what our bodies use to regulate their energy intake naturally. They tell you "Hey, I need some food" and "Okay, I've got the energy I need!". But, after dieting and following food rules we lose these cues. Our bodies get so sick of telling us "I NEED FOOD!" and us not listening, trying to suppress our appetite, that they simple stop trying to tell us anymore.
This loss of hunger cues is why we feel SO lost when we come out of a diet, food rules, or meal plan. We have no idea how to eat anymore without rules! When this happens we typically swing and forth from hangry to overstuffed, we've lost sense of that comfortable middle ground.
If you feel like this is where your lack of hunger is coming from, don't worry! I have an entire post on how to get hunger cues back to help you out.
Not Hungry Due To Emotions
The second most common reason why we find ourselves asking the question "Why am I not hungry?!" is because we're experiencing super strong emotions.
When we feel stressed, anxious, nervous, or even happy and excited, those emotions can distract us from our hunger. Think about the last time that you had a rough day at work, feeling super busy. I bet you looked at the clock and said "wait, it's WHAT time?! How did I skip lunch?!" Am I right?! Then, but the time you realize it's been so long since you last ate you're ravenous!
Whenever the girlfriends in my membership program say they feel like their hunger cues are weak I always ask them what else is going on in life. Loss of appetite, or lack of appetite, can be due to the emotional toll we're under, but we hardly think of that!
If you're saying "Okay, Colleen, that's me!" here's my advice: ya gotta handle those emotions! That means making time for self-care if you're stressed or relieving anxiety. I recommend journaling for this- it's SUCH a powerful tool! You can checkout my post on how to start a happiness journal here and also grab some happiness journal prompts! And if you're just super excited and happy? Be sure to check in with yourself on the hunger scale (you can find a copy of mine in my free e-book, The Ultimate 5 Step Guide To Food Freedom) and use practical hunger. By practical hunger I mean saying "Okay, I haven't eaten in a few hours, maybe it'd be a good idea to give my body some nourishment".
You're Not Hungry Because Your Body Has Enough Energy
And, last but not least, you may not be hungry because your body has enough energy! Our hunger along with our energy needs ebbs and flows. It changes daily! Maybe you've had more energy recently and your body is saying "Ya know, I'm good!". I usually notice a slight decrease in my hungry after having larger meals. Your body may require less energy if you've been more sedentary, too.
Now, with this, I do think it's still important to check in on the hunger scale and use practical hunger. If we let ourselves go too too long without eating we're likely to swing from hanger to over eating, remember! But, you don't always need to force yourself to eat a huge meal just because it's meal time. Use your noggin'. The more you practice getting in-tune with your hunger and fullness, the easier it get!
Other Reasons Why You May Not Be Hunger
There are obviously other reasons beyond these 3 that can contribute to a lack of appetite such as medications, illness, underlying medical conditions, etc. If you read all of those 3 and are saying "Nope, none of those are it." I'd recommend talking to your healthcare provider to more individualized advice.
What If I'm Not Hungry But Want To Eat?
Oh this question! What if we're not hungry but the bag of chips or the brownies on the counter are calling our name?! Eating when you're not hungry isn't always a bad thing. Shocking, I know! But think about it: a bride and groom on their wedding. Would they necessarily be hungry for wedding cake after a full meal? Probably not but they still eat it! Or when my nephews hand me some of their goldfish crackers, you bet I'm going to take them from their little hands and eat them!
However, it is something to be mindful of, not being hungry but wanting to eat. It can be a sign of emotional eating- trying to mask handling your emotions with the comfort of food. Boredom eating is a super common reason for this and I have an entire post on how to stop boredom eating, so be sure to check that out.
Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on these 3 reasons and if you've ever experienced any of them. Bonus points if you leave a meal or snack that you love to eat when you're not hungry, but know your body needs food. For me that's usually a smoothie!
Happy eating & food rule breaking, friends!
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