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Is Eating With an Empty Stomach Bad for You?

Is Eating With an Empty Stomach Bad for You?

As humans, we tend to want food when we’re hungry. It makes sense, right? Our stomach growls and we reflexively look for something to eat. But what if I told you eating on an empty stomach was bad for you?

Think back to the last time you were hungry, I mean really hungry. Did you sit down with a balanced meal? Probably not. Once we get to the point of saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” we are likely to overindulge in whatever food we can get our hands on.

When your stomach is empty, your blood sugar levels drop, sometimes rapidly. Because your body wants to take care of itself, it focuses on getting fed with whatever high-calorie foods it can find. Have you ever noticed your cravings for junk food tend to be highest when you’re ravenous? That’s why.

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    An empty stomach is likely to start your meal with all the wrong foods

    When you’re hungry, almost any food looks good. But even once you get the food and finish eating, you tend to feel the need to find more food because you don’t yet feel satisfied! The hungrier you are, the harder it becomes to resist unhealthy foods like burgers, pizza, ice cream, sweets, etc.

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      A research about shoppers going to the grocery store while hungry has shown that they’re a lot more likely to consume unhealthy food. Shopping while hungry can result in unhealthy meals for the rest of the week. Aner Tal of the Food and Brand Laboratory at Cornell University says,[1]

      “hungry people tend to think of more high-calorie foods that provide more energy, which affects the choice of foods they buy for the week. These foods may include red meat, candy and salty snacks, in contrast to lower-calorie foods like chicken breasts, vegetables and fruits”.

      Numerous reports all lead to the same conclusion, best summarized by Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at the NYU Langone Medican Center in New York City,

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      When the body is deprived of energy, it goes into survival mode. When that happens, the natural response is to reach for high-calorie foods to replace calories lost and store them in the body in case of another famine. It’s like hibernation, but it only leads to gained weight and ill health.

      Be Prepared

      If you know you have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to eat, start by having a healthy snack around at all times. If you work at a desk, have some almonds or other high protein snacks in a drawer. When you feel yourself getting hungry, grab a handful of nuts to ward off that painful hungry sensation.

      If you feel you don’t know where to begin when it comes to stocking up on healthy snacks that aren’t just raw veggies, this article can provide some great suggestions! These snacks should not serve as meal replacements, necessarily, but rather a way to settle the hunger until you can have a balanced, healthy meal. When you have some form of backup food in reach, it makes it easier to eat well, even in a rush.

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      Snack on!

      So the next time you are making your grocery list, make sure to stock up on healthy snacks that are easily portable, as well as foods you can make into healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not only will you feel healthier and less stressed about finding something to eat when you’re hungry, but you’ll be so much happier with how you are treating your body.

      Featured photo credit: Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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      Jolie Choi

      Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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      Last Updated on November 15, 2019

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

      Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, these bad habits are difficult to break because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

      Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental and emotional health.

      Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

      If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

      Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

      1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

      Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

      Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

      Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

      2. No Motivation

      Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academics and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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      This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family and life in general.

      If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

      3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

      Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to break bad habits.

      A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to eventually become a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

      A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

      The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

      4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

      One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

      We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

      Over-eating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of crisps, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are needed by us. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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      You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

      5. Upward Comparisons

      Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

      The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

      These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

      6. No Alternative

      This is a real and valid reason why bad habits are hard to break. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

      Someone who has physical or psychological limitations such as a disability or social anxiety may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

      Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

      Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

      7. Stress

      As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing bad habits.

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      When a person is stressed about something, it is easy to give in to a bad habit because the mental resources required to fight them are not available.

      Stress plays such a huge role in this that we commonly find a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

      8. Sense of Failure

      People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

      Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

      Over-eaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store.

      Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

      If such people slip even once with a glass of wine or a smoke or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

      9. The Need to Be All-New

      People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

      These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit.

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      10. Force of Habit

      Humans are creatures of habit and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

      Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or munching on crisps when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

      These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

      Final Thoughts

      These are the main reasons why bad habits may be difficult to break but it is important to remember that the task is not impossible.

      Do you have bad habits you want to kick? My article How to Break a Bad Habit (and Replace It With a Good One) gives you tips on well, how to kick bad habits while my other article How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You gives realistic information on what to expect while you’re trying to quit them.

      There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

      Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?

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