Why do I feel hungry after eating?

Do you ever find yourself thinking “Why am I still hungry after eating?”

Feeling hungry after a meal is more common than most of us might think. And in this blog, we will explore some likely reasons for feelings of hunger or lack of satisfaction after a mealtime.

Some factors to consider:

  1. Are you eating enough?

If you’re finding yourself feeling hungry after a meal, consider am I truly eating enough?

Often our idea of what should be enough has been influenced by diet culture and the messaging we have been exposed to over time, which often is not enough.

Human bodies need a lot more food than most people think!

  1. Was the meal filling?

While you could feel physically full from say a meal of protein and vegetables, chances are you won’t actually feel satisfied.

Satisfaction is what ‘turns off’ the hunger signals and ‘turns on’ those fullness signals.

If you’re not feeling satisfied after a meal, it is likely that your body will continue to seek out food in an attempt to hit that satisfaction point.

If you are regularly depriving yourself or feeling guilty about eating a bit more food to feel satisfied, there is a high chance that your body will try to compensate by making those hunger signals louder.

So, what is a satisfying meal?

Generally speaking, a satisfying meal is one that contains enough energy, protein, fat and carbohydrates that meets our body’s needs. And don’t forget flavour for a satisfying eating experience!

Having a substantial meal with these things in mind will help to keep you feeling satisfied and energised.

It is also worth noting that food can be satisfying without being filling. For example, cheese and crackers, candy, smoothies, a muffin. So when you are deciding what to eat, it can be helpful to consider both – physical hunger and satisfaction.

  1. Do you follow rules around food and eating?

Do you have a list of foods that are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and do you spend a lot of your time trying to avoid the ‘bad’ or ‘off-limits’ foods?

By trying to avoid them, we tend to crave and desire them more because of the deprivation mindset, which can lead to an all-or-nothing approach to eating. This often leads us to eat a lot more than we may genuinely feel like, and unfortunately, this process often repeats.

Whereas, if we were to enjoy the food we were eating, without the feelings of guilt or shame that comes with thinking of food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, we may feel more relaxed to eat the food and move on, simply because we have given ourselves permission to have it again another time.

By granting ourselves unconditional permission to eat and eating foods that we truly want, we ease the psychological deprivation and over time we are no longer driven to ‘give in’ or binge on particular foods.

Focusing on making enjoyable and satisfying meals and snacks that include a variety of different foods allows for pleasure and health.

If you find yourself feeling hungry after eating, I encourage you to consider eating more, or something different.

And to sum it all up:

A portion of food depends on…

  • How hungry you feel
  • How satisfying the food is
  • How you’re feeling
  • How the food tastes

And so much more.

Notice what feels good for you. It will vary each day.

We appreciate that exploring some of the concepts in this blog can be quite complex. If you are noticing this brings up more challenges for you, please consider reaching out to a non-diet Dietitian or trusted GP.

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