3 Deceptive Hunger Signs You Should Avoid

Do you often find yourself needing an afternoon nap or sugary latte in the middle of the day? When you’ve got a pounding headache, do you immediately reach for a snack to alleviate the pain? These are common misleading signs of hunger that can lead to weight gain and sabotage your weight loss progress! Don’t let these common symptoms of fatigue, dehydration, and stress get you sidetracked. Read on to discover how to recognize and combat these sneaky, misleading signs of hunger — and find out what your body is really trying to tell you!


Keri Gans, MS, RD, author of “The Small Change Diet.” says, “When you’re so thirsty that you’re dehydrated, you’ll likely get a headache.” A headache may mimic the signs of low blood sugar, which you may confuse for hunger.

Instead of eating something to alleviate your headache, try drinking a glass of water!

Low Energy, Lack Of Focus

If you’re having trouble focusing or you’re feeling fatigued, you may start to crave sugary, salty, fatty foods. Food is fuel! When you start to feel hungry and tired at the same time, your body is signaling that you need energy in the form of something nutritious. Unfortunately, once we get to this point, we usually find ourselves reaching for foods that lead to weight gain. Gans explains, “When people are tired, they tend to choose more unhealthy foods than they would if they’d had adequate sleep, and are more likely to overeat.”

When you start to feel fatigued in the middle of the day (and you’ve had a good night’s rest), Gans suggests that it may be because your body needs a little energy boost. Choose a snack that is high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber to give your body a natural energy boost! Be sure to keep your snacks under 250 calories to stay on track with your weight loss goals.

If you’re feeling drained at the end of the day, hit the sheets instead of reaching for a late night snack.

Craving Sugary Foods

Gans says “Some people look to soothe themselves with sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods when stressed.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or down, you may be tempted to reach for a sugary treat because these foods have been proven to boost levels of serotonin. An increase in serotonin can help you feel calm for a brief moment, however, this is a sign of emotional eating.

When you need to ease your nerves, it’s okay to choose a meal that will receive your stress. The trick is to choose a snack mindfully. Eat a satisfying meal without any distractions. Chew slowly. Savor each bite and take note of how the food is making you feel.

Another trick to control emotional eating is to call a friend, take a workout class, or treat yourself to a massage to relieve stress! 

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