What should I do if I feel hungry during the 4-4-12?

Hunger has two origins, and it’s important to learn to distinguish between the two. Acute hunger is driven by the stomach emptying itself after having been full (generally a few hours after a meal). This is a time when your body has sufficient energy, and you don’t actually need to eat, even if you don’t enjoy the discomfort of an empty stomach. This hunger usually passes fairly quickly. Try drinking more water during this time to provide volume to your stomach. Chronic hunger, on the other hand, occurs when the body begins to sense a genuine energy deficiency, such as insufficient body fat combined with starvation/prolonged fasting. This is an extremely rare scenario. Nevertheless, to help distinguish between the two, notice when you are feeling hungry. Feeling acute hunger is actually a good thing—it’s healthy to be hungry 30–60 minutes before your meal. It means your body is ready for more fuel.

Tips for Avoiding Hunger: 

If you feel you are feeling too much hunger, you may want to change something up. 

  • If you eat lunch at noon and feel hungry by 4 p.m. but are not planning on eating dinner until 6 p.m., you may want to try eating lunch later (perhaps at 12:30 or 1 p.m.). 

  • You may also need to add more protein and healthy fats to your next lunch. When choosing which carbohydrates to eat, remember that rapidly digested (i.e., “processed”) carbohydrates induce hunger more quickly. Complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat digest more slowly in the body and keep you full longer. 

  • Matcha and Unimate are great products to have in place of a snack, and they may help counteract the hunger you’re feeling.

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