Appetite is an extremely complicated beast that scientists still don't even fully understand. Do you feel out of control, do you feel you don't know when to eat and when not to eat? Well, never fear because there are basic guidelines that can help you get control of the monkey brain that is driving you to eat when you aren't actually hungry. Take a look at this chart to understand what drives you to eat and factors that can quiet your appetite. This chart is from Natasha Turner's book, The Hormone Diet, which I highly recommend you read if you haven't already.
Before you read further, please take note that honouring your hunger is extremely important. This chart is for you to understand why you eat when you are not actually "hungry".
Factors that make you want to eat
Factors that quiet your appetite
Sight of food and smell of food
Out of sight = out of mind!
Overweight or obesity (high body fat)
Maintaining a lean body (low amounts of body fat tissue)
Variety of foods and mixture of tastes (why buffets and standing in front of the fridge grazing are our downfall!)
Avoiding buffets or grazing in front of the cupboard or fridge. Limiting flavours or your exposure to a variety of foods can help to keep your appetite in check
Cold body temperature
Warm body temperature -- Have a hot shower, drink a mug of hot water or do some push ups to warm up!
Lack of sunlight or bright lights
A healthy dose of sunshine or bright light
Internal body clock -- we tend to get hungry at similar times each day and our appetite increases in the winter
Eating regularly throughout the day, starting with a balanced breakfast
Limiting consumption of alcohol to one glass of wine after your meal
Jet lag, sleep deprivation and shift work have been found to stimulate our appetite
Enough, good quality sleep
High intake of carbohydrates and lack of fibre and fats that help us feel full and satisfied
Consuming protein, carbohydrate and fats mixed at each meal and snack
Brain chemistry imbalance (low serotonin and dopamine) and an unhealthy digestive system
Balanced brain chemistry (sufficient serotonin and dopamine) and a healthy digestive system
High fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and artificial sweeteners increase our cravings and caloric intake
Consuming enough fibre in our diet and avoiding processed carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, fructose and HFCS
Emotional causes -- stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, boredom
Managing stress and feeling satisfied (sexually and otherwise)