How To Turn Off Hunger Switch
Learning to manage my leptin, ghrelin, cortisol, and insulin was a good start
Hunger is an emotion. It is essential for our survival. Real hunger serves the purpose, but false hunger puts us into trouble. It is a false hunger that causes obesity and many other ailments. Based on my experience, I introduce simple techniques to turn off the hunger switch naturally. I live with full satiety.
There are several hormones affecting hunger and satiety. However, two of them are critical and control the process. Understanding the roles of these two hormones and the factors that influence them can help us manage our hunger logically and consciously.
I don't want to go into biological and anatomical details. Instead, my purpose is to create awareness of these two critical hormones to make my point in this article. Within the hunger context, two additional hormones are worth mentioning: insulin and cortisol.
Let me introduce ghrelin and leptin first.
Ghrelin and leptin are two chemical messengers running the show in our body. These two hormones are like yin-yang. While ghrelin increases hunger, leptin lowers it.
Ghrelin is straight forward. It is designed to make us hungry to feed our body to get vital energy and other building blocks like protein to nurture our organs.
Leptin is a bit tricky. It is a regulator for energy balance. Leptin acts on cell receptors. It is mainly made up of the adipose cells, but it aims to diminish fatty tissues. In other words, it regulates fat stores.
In simple terms, like a thermostat, if leptin senses our fat stores are full, it sends satiety signals to the brain.
The tricky bit with leptin is a condition known as "leptin resistance". This condition causes excessive and unnecessary hunger. Remember, leptin instructs the brain to stop eating. If we have leptin resistance, our brain does not get this signal. Thus, we feel hungry at all times.
There are, of course, other conditions that we need to consider. For example, excessive sugar in our bloodstream triggers insulin. Another culprit is chronic stress which increases cortisol. I briefly touch on these additional hormones affecting our hunger. I also experienced that dehydration and uncomfortable emotions cause hunger.
Let me share my experience.
Three significant lifestyle changes helped me reduce my emotional hunger and increase the feeling of satiety. They are changing my diet, fixing my sleep issues, and learning to fast.
When I was on high carbohydrate diets, even though I used to eat frequently, six times a day, I felt a lot of hunger pangs. I used to use chewing gums and unnecessary and risky appetite suppressants. They did not help at all because they did not address the root causes of hunger.
As I mentioned Sugar Was Killing Me But I Found Smart Ways to Beat It. It was astonishing to see my blood sugar was going very high after the main meals. Fruit juices were skyrocketing it. My elevated blood sugar took four hours to settle into a reasonably healthy range.
When blood sugar drops suddenly, after a massive insulin spike, I was feeling terrible hunger.
Changing my diet was the best and most sustainable solution to address hunger issues.
Replacing carbohydrates with healthy fats as an energy source was an excellent start.
Fat created satiety for me because leptin was sensing sufficient fat in my body and kept sending the right message.
To this end, a ketogenic diet solved the root causes of my problem. At later stages, I even found a better diet which suited my lifestyle and genetic makeup.
Moving from glucose dependence and providing ketones' alternative energy to my brain, all my depressive, pessimistic, and moody hunger feelings were replaced by positive emotions.
When I got fat-adapted, a majority of my hunger feelings disappeared. I felt full and satisfied.
Later I learned to fast. I used the intermittent fasting regime. Eating my food in a smaller window and fasting for the rest of the day. Fasting is very easy for me in a high-fat diet. I have energy from fat, and my leptin works well.
When I feel hungry, I know that it is real hunger. My body needs to replenish. It is not emotional hunger anymore. Therefore, I cut snacks and reduced the number of meals. I still eat only one good meal a day and thrive with it.
Fasting helped me detoxify my digestive system. Using gelatin from bone broth fixed my leaky gut. Occasional use of charcoal helped me trap toxins. A healthy gut was an excellent solution to my hunger pangs.
The last but not the least was fixing my sleep issues.
Sleep played an essential role in fixing my hunger problem. When I did not have a quality sleep, my hunger was reaching an extreme state. Analyzing the sleep logs through my smartwatch, I noticed that, even though I was sleeping eight hours, the quality sleep was sometimes under six hours. It was evident in my overall feelings.
By making these simple lifestyle changes, I turned off my hunger switch. I don't feel unnecessary hunger anymore. Being fat-adapted, my brain does not go into starvation mode. It uses body fat effectively. As a bonus, I keep my lean muscles. If I am hungry, I am really hungry. The food feels delicious too.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.
About the author
I'm a writer and published author with four decades of content development experience in business, technology, leadership, and health. I work as a postdoctoral researcher and consultant. My background is at https://digitalmehmet.com.