Hunger or Thirst? Interpret the Signals

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to know the difference between how it feels to be hungry and how it feels to be thirsty. Otherwise, you could be consuming more calories than you need, which makes it harder to achieve your weight loss goals. However, it’s relatively common for people to confuse thirst for hunger. Because the signal your body sends when it wants a tall glass of water can be mistaken for the sign it sends when you need a snack, you have to react wisely to save yourself hundreds of calories.

Happy woman drinking water from a glass outdoorThe same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting hunger and thirst signs, which can result in mixed signals. You should aim to eat every three to four hours — if it’s been less time than this, you might not be truly hungry. Signs of hunger include feeling weak, irritable or moody, or your stomach rumbling or feeling empty. True hunger comes on gradually, not suddenly.

The symptoms of dehydration may begin before you realize you are thirsty. You may have a headache, feel tired, sluggish, light-headed, irritable, or experience nausea or constipation. Your urine may also be a dark yellow, and your mouth may feel dry. Drink water at regular intervals throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and you’ll have less of a chance of becoming dehydrated.

Drinking enough water is important for maintaining health, but even more so after weight-loss surgery. A main goal just after surgery is to stay properly hydrated—drinking 2 or 3 ounces every 30 minutes throughout the day.

Your best bet when you feel hungry is to have a glass of water first, wait to see if you’re satisfied. If you still feel hungry, then eat.

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Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda to talk about your weight-loss options. He and his team of experts can help you find the best treatment for you.


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