Have you ever been tempted to reach out for a high-calorie food when you’re not hungry? It turns out that the human brain tends to send the message “I need to eat” as a response to emotions or situations that have nothing to do with appetite and misinterpret that signal constantly and as a consequence, you start gobbling down and of course, gain weight. The trick here is to learn to identify what your body is trying to tell you and offer the adequate solution it needs. The following tips will help you avoid that overload of calories in the best possible way.

Are you stressed? It is natural to want to reward yourself after working hard. That is why when you are under a lot of pressure for example when you have to finish a great project in the office; it is when you fantasize about some sweet gift for that extra effort. But having a massage or meeting with friends requires free time that is most scarce on these days of constant tenure.

Food, on the other hand, is an almost instantaneous reward, especially if you run to the refrigerator or order it from the car window in a fast-food restaurant. It is such a natural way to reward yourself, which nutritionists say that many people subconsciously begin to associate stress with a quick trip to the snack machine or a plate of chips. But filling yourself up with all that junk food will not leave you satisfied. When you’re stressed, your food is less tasteful and you are less likely to feel satisfied.

Have you noticed that after a bad night or exhausting sedentary work you are desperate to eat something sweet or full of carbohydrates? That’s because when you’re drained, the body asks you for an injection of energy, and a sweet snack gives it to you on the spot. The problem is that your body not only does not need those calories but that all that junk food will make you feel even more tired because the sugar-lift is usually followed by a rapid decrease in energy. Try chewing gum instead.

It is much better to energize yourself with exercise.

With exercise, the body depletes the protein reserves of the system, which explains why sometimes you want to eat cheese or meat after getting off the treadmill. But that sudden appetite does not mean that you should serve yourself a plate full of food. Instead of consuming hundreds of extra calories and thus nullifying the effects of the exercise you just performed, better satisfy those need for protein with a glass of skim milk, eight ounces contains just 86 calories, with that you have enough protein to calm your hunger until lunch or dinner.

Party temptations.

You feel satisfied after having dinner, but then you go to a party at a friend’s house and start eating again. You are surrounded by trays of food and people chewing it up, and the innate human desire to imitate others makes you think that you are hungry, when in reality you are not. How to resolve this conflict? Keep your hands and mouth occupied in something else, like talking to someone or drinking water.

Do you feel somewhat depressed?

When we were children, our parents and teachers often calmed us with snacks, which may be the reason why we associate these almost always sweets, with fighting depression. Think about how many times your mother told you to come to eat a cookie, so you stop crying. But as an adult what you should need when you feel sad is the emotional comfort of someone close to you. So instead of a grabbing doughnut, pick up the cell phone and call a trusted friend, or chat online. Connecting with others is very uplifting and better yet, leaves home to do something interesting.

You’re thirsty?

Hunger and thirst trigger almost identical messages in the brain, so often our body confuses the need to drink water with eating. If you ate recently and suddenly crave something else, the reason may be dehydration. That is why nutritionists suggest that the first thing you should do when you feel hungry is to drink water. Drink it and wait for ten minutes. The feeling of hunger will probably disappear instantly.

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