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What eating a big meal does to your body

Overeating is a habit

Even though your stomach has a hormonal system for telling your brain it is empty, it can also raise your hunger levels at specific times by learned associations, even if you had a large meal.

If you repeatedly eat chocolate after dinner when you sit on the couch, your body can start to associate sitting on the couch with eating, and you'll experience a craving.

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What eating a big meal does to your body

What eating a big meal does to your body

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191127-why-do-you-feel-hungry-after-eating-a-big-meal

bbc.com

5

Key Ideas

The sensation of hunger

Hormones get released when we are hungry: NPY and AgRP from the hypothalamus, and ghrelin from the stomach.

Ghrelin levels tend to be higher in lean individuals and lower in people with obesity. It might be that high levels of insulin, needed to metabolize a high-carbohydrate diet, are inhibiting the production of ghrelin in people with obesity.

Feeling sated

About a dozen or so hormones are responsible for making us feel full. 
  • GIP and GLP-1 are responsible for stimulating the production of insulin to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates.
  • Other hormones are involved in slowing down the movement of food through the stomach.
  • CKK and PYY are vital in reducing the feeling of hunger. (Increased PYY causes a loss of appetite and is particularly high in patients who have a gastric band fitted to reduce the size of the stomach.)

Overeating is a habit

Even though your stomach has a hormonal system for telling your brain it is empty, it can also raise your hunger levels at specific times by learned associations, even if you had a large meal.

If you repeatedly eat chocolate after dinner when you sit on the couch, your body can start to associate sitting on the couch with eating, and you'll experience a craving.

Starting wrong eating habits

It seems quite easy to acquire desires for certain foods by associations, but more challenging to get rid of them.

  • After only four days of repetition, your body can crave specific foods daily, for instance, chocolate.
  • Any mood, even a positive one, can become a craving trigger, as long as it is consistently followed by food.
  • We eat more when we are socially engaged.

Breaking bad eating habits

After we had a big meal with family or friends, we can feel hungry at the next mealtime. It is because we have grown accustomed to overeating on special occasions. But, eating something nice once does not mean that you have to do it on the subsequent days too.

To curb bad eating habits, focus on unlearning learned eating desires.  

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Making peace with food

It doesn’t mean giving in to every craving; it means getting rid of the idea of “giving in” to “bad foods” altogether. Eat that Oreo when you want it, without any negative emotion attached, and you won’t feel like you need to eat the whole bag.

Respect your fullness

Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Intuitive eating is about understanding what foods your body feels best eating, and how to make your own food choices based on your own hunger and fullness

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Intuitive eating

It is a philosophy of eating that makes you the expert of your body and its hunger signals.

Essentially, it’s the opposite of a traditional diet. It doesn’t impose guidelines about wha...

The basics

To eat intuitively, you may need to relearn how to trust your body. Distinguish between physical and emotional hunger:

  • Physical hunger. This biological urge tells you to replenish nutrients. It builds gradually and has different signals, such as a growling stomach, fatigue, or irritability. 
  • Emotional hunger. This is driven by emotional need. Sadness, loneliness, and boredom are some of the feelings that can create cravings for food, often comfort foods. 
History of intuitive eating

Some of the concepts of intuitive eating have been around at least since the early 1970s, though the term wasn’t coined until 1995.

The program was built on the principle that diets don’t work and that lifestyle changes and personal care are more important for long-term health.

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Reject the diet mentality

Dieting isn’t sustainable. Quick-fix plans cannot deliver lasting results.
T
he first principle of intuitive eating is to stop dieting—and to stop believing societ...

Honor your hunger

Eat a sufficient amount of calories and carbohydrates to keep your body “fed” and satiated. Once you learn to recognize these signals in your own body, it becomes much easier to trust your instincts and repair unhealthy relationships with food.

Make peace with food

Give yourself “unconditional permission to eat.”

People realize they don’t really want that food that was forbidden before; they just got caught up in society telling them they couldn’t have it.

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Reward Response

For many people eating a little sugar stimulates a craving for more. Sugar can lead to intense feelings of hunger.

Sugar has addiction-like effects in the reward center of the brain, cau...

Sugar Addiction

Sweet foods can be more addictive than cocaine, one study found.

Over time, greater amounts of the substance are required to reach the same level of reward.

Memory

Even a single occasion of increased glucose levels in the blood can harm your brain. It can impair your memory and attention.

High sugar consumption causes inflammation in the brain. But, it can be reversed by following a low-sugar, low-GI diet.

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Food cravings

They are an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable, and the person's hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food. We usually feel cr...

What causes food cravings
  • An imbalance or changes in hormones
  • Emotional issues (eating for comfort)
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Dehydration 
How to reduce cravings
  • Lower stress levels: stress promotes cravings for comfort foods.
  • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration manifests itself as hunger, so when you get a craving, drink water.
  • Get enough sleep: not getting enough sleep alters the hormonal balance.
  • Eat enough protein.
  • Avoid hunger: under-eating can make food cravings worse.
Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.
Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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Eating Distract from Emotions

We often associate eating with relief or even excitement, and it’s only natural that we’d reach for those same feelings when we’re worried or sad.

Why we choose comfort food

Comfort foods don’t tend to be healthy. We want cake or pasta or chips when we’re emotionally eating. We have emotional memories around certain foods, which are more likely to involve your grandma’s lasagna than a salad. 

But after we eat for emotional reasons, we’re replacing our original feelings with the emotions that arise out of eating.

Comfort food

We associate comfort food with positive memories.

Think about all the happy and comforting memories you have involving food. Maybe your family used to celebrate occasions with a trip to the ice cream shop, or maybe your mom or dad used to soften the blow of a bad day with macaroni and cheese. When you’re feeling rejected or anxious today, eating one of those foods is an instant connection to that soothing time.

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Our Subconscious Beliefs
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Our Thoughts Make Us Weak

False subconscious beliefs include a feeling of nobody caring about what you have to say, a feeling of worthlessness and imagining yourself to be a miserable failure.

The astounding part is that we live most of our lives carrying these chronic false beliefs in us, manifesting them into unconscious actions leading to eating disorders.

Curing The Negative Self-Image

The cure to a negative self-image formed by your beliefs is to be aware of what you think, speak or do. If you start to recognize your behavioural patterns, your hunger cravings and just pause before a habitual activity is starting, you can get a grip on the underlying emotions that drive these beliefs and corresponding actions.

Awareness and body-connection become your starting point, and one can then learn to recognize, manage, accept, and allow emotions, with eyes wide open.

Awareness Is Key

Emotional eating is sometimes called "mindless eating" because we often don't think about what we're doing and let our unconscious habits or drives take over.

Find Relaxation Techniques

When you’re under stress, your body is likely producing higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that tends to make people crave sweet and salty food—the stuff that’s generally not good for us. 

Create a simple stress management plan, or find stress relievers that fit with your specific situation.

Cope in Healthy Ways

Many people use food to deal with uncomfortable emotions like anger, frustration, and fear. There are healthier ways to cope with emotions:

  • Talking to a friend.
  • Journaling: When you feel like reaching for unhealthy food, reach for a pen instead.
  • Exercise.

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Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
  • It makes your day simpler: fewer meals= less stressing about what you'll eat.
  • It helps you live longer: you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
  • Still up for debate, but intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of cancer.
  • It is much easier than dieting, once you get over the idea that you need to eat all the time.
Different Fasting Schedules
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  • Weekly Intermittent Fasting: One of the best ways to get started with it - do it once per week.
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