Your stomach is rumbling, it’s close to dinner time so you start thinking ‘where’s the food at?’. You must be hungry right? Wrong. Quite often we can mistake that slightly hangry feeling for hunger when all we really need is a big drink of water.
When we are hungry our stomach may feel hollow or start grumbling, this is our bodies and brains way of telling us that we are hungry. But did you know that being thirsty can also provide the same kind of reaction? This is because hunger and thirst signals are controlled in the same part of your brain; specific hormones are released when our stomach is empty which are received by the hypothalamus when we are both hunger and/or thirsty. If you don’t listen to your body carefully it is easy to get the two confused.
If you had a drink of water every time you felt hungry you may actually reach an improved hydration status, improve your skin and concentration levels as well as reach your weight loss goals more quickly. Almost 80% of my clients are not drinking enough water on a daily basis when we complete their initial consult and the importance of fluid intake can often be underestimated.
About 60% of your body is made up of fluid. Water is needed to maintain a good balance within our tissues, it assists in energising muscles, clearing skin, maintaining bowel function and can also promote weight loss or maintenance through better control of calories. Be sure to aim for a minimum of 2.5-3 litres of water per day, however if you work outdoors or train regularly you will require more fluids to replace those lost through sweat. Even if you are just braving the great Australian summer it is important that you keep your water intake up each and every day. My top tip is to try and get a good amount in before lunch time, that way you’re not playing catch up and are well hydrated throughout the day.
Next time you start to feel that tummy rumble try to tune into your body a little more carefully. When was the last time that you ate or drank something? That empty feeling in your stomach may be telling you that it’s time to drink some more and a large glass of water may provide that satiety your body is signalling. If you are still hungry 20 minutes later then it might be time to eat.
If you can learn to recognise the difference between hunger and thirst you may find you reach your goals sooner than you think as well as reaping the other benefits of being well hydrated.