But, I Just Ate….

funny-pictures-cat-hungry-for-horse

We all know that familiar feeling:  you’ve already eaten, but you’re still feeling inexplicably peckish. Logically, you know that you’ve eaten enough food for now…perhaps even the day!  Yet you still can’t stop thinking about hunting after some sort of snack. You know that technically you shouldn’t be, but you are:  you’re still hungry!

This feeling can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to increase your lean body mass.  But you’ll be interested to know that one such explanation for this persistent hunger has more to do with human evolution than with a lack of will power or discipline.

“It isn’t easy to lose weight because our bodies conspire against us,” says Dr. Tony Goldstone, a medical doctor and endocrinologist at Imperial College, London, who studies obesity, appetite, and the hormones involved. Dr. Goldstone tells us that every time we lose weight, our bodies kick in to try and prevent us losing any more!  Hunger is simply a biological reflex, and out of our control.

In our distant past as early humans, finding food was far less simple than going down to the store.  Getting enough to eat was a daily struggle, and the focal point for much of existence.  So, mechanisms developed, mediated by chemical messengers in our body, to drive our behaviour towards finding food.  We have bodies that were built in an age of scarcity, so the same drives and desires to eat as though food is hard to come by still exist, even though we now live in an age of plenty.

From that gnawing feeling in your gut to your thoughts of cravings, hunger exists for a reason:  it is your body’s way of telling you that you need to give it more energy.  If we never felt hungry, we wouldn’t survive!  And the key to the way we feel lies in our hormones.

You’re already familiar with serotonin, which is involved in happiness and depression, and you know all about estrogen and testosterone, our body’s sex hormones.  Here is another hormone you should know about: ghrelin.  Ghrelin is a key hormone involved in appetite regulation.  Simply put: it’s the chemical that makes you feel hungry, slows metabolism, and decreases the body’s ability to burn fat.  Ghrelin levels in the blood spike before meals and drop afterward.  If you haven’t eaten enough, your stomach releases ghrelin, which travels to your brain and makes you think of food. 

(**Interesting side note: I read a study where people who were given ghrelin injections felt voraciously hungry, and, when turned loose at a buffet, ate 30 percent more than they normally would!!  Fancy that.**)

But it gets more complicated, according to Dr. Goldstone.  Our bodies will produce more ghrelin if we are in more dire need of calories; such as if we haven’t eaten in a long time, or when we haven’t slept enough and need to boost our energy levels.  If people have not had enough sleep, or enough slow wave sleep, they will have even higher levels of ghrelin; therefore, sleep deprivation increases appetite.

Ghrelin levels are also jacked up by the body in times of stress!  This could help explain why so many of us in high stress jobs want to snack all the time, as counter intuitive as this may seem when working a job that is not physically demanding.

So what can we do about this hunger, given that we are as saddled as we are with biological constraints?  There are simple measures we can take by keeping our hormonal checks in mind.  Eat regularly, don’t skip meals, and always eat breakfast so you start off your day by restocking your depleted energy stores.  Try to eat foods that are richer in complex carbohydrates and try to avoid sugary food and drinks so you don’t have a big spike in sugar levels. Protein laden foods are helpful to satisfying your body’s needs!

Today’s Workout:

Buy-in: 2 rounds of – 5 inchworms, 10 situps, 15 squats (coaches use some of this time to get newbies up to speed if they are unfamiliar with the exercises in the WOD).

WOD: “Mini – Me”

This workout consists of two short metcons, both are scored for fastest time.  Combine the times of both workouts for your score.

Mini WOD 1 – 3 rounds for time of:

  • 15 wallballs (14/20)
  • 10 pullups

Zone 2 – assisted pullups, 10/14lb medicine balls

5-10 minutes rest (time for a second heat to go if there are lots of people)

Mini-WOD 2 – 2 rounds for time of:

  • 500m row
  • 20 double crunch
  • 20 pushups

Zone 2 – scale to pushups from the knees

Cash-Out: Foam roll lower body with coach!

Gymnastics

Wednesday 7:30pm Sept 8th

Skills:

  • Muscle-ups On Rings and Bar
  • ( actual Gymnastics Kip on Bar/ On P-bars)
  • Front Levers

WOD: TBA

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