Hold your horses, people, I am about to go on a rampage. Right now, I feel so hungry I could eat a horse. Okay, so maybe only half a horse or a medium-sized pony. After a sensible breakfast of one scrambled egg and a piece of wheat toast, consumed with a full glass of water, I am still fighting the urge to order a large meat-lovers pizza with a side of breadsticks – don’t forget the cheese sauce. I think I need an intervention.
I realize overeating is often tied to anxiety and today – for unknown reasons – I am anxious. I am jealous of those who lose their appetite when stressed. I am the exact opposite. Food lifts my spirits. And you all thought I was the poster child for emotional stability, right? Come on – you can at least pretend.
Having battled with weight issues for most of my life, I honestly do know my triggers – mainly boredom and stress. I deal with it primarily by eliminating unhealthy food in my house. You cannot eat what you do not have. You will never find chips, crackers, candy, ice cream, or cookies in my pantry. I am one of those Lays addicts – I can never eat just one. If you are like me, though, not having snacks available only adds to my stress. It is a smart move, but a very irritating one.
So, what causes an individual’s intrinsic desire for food a.k.a. hunger? Appetite exists in all higher life forms. It serves to regulate adequate energy intake to maintain metabolic needs. Hunger, on the other hand, is a physiological “need for food” response caused by nerve signals and chemical messengers originating in the brain, primarily in the hypothalamus.
So that is the culprit – the hypothalamus. I want to fork that little puppy right out of my system. But, of course, it is not responsible for just hunger. While it is very small, it plays a crucial role in many bodily functions. It works to release hormones, regulate body temperature, manage sexual behavior, regulate emotional responses, and maintain daily physiological cycles. Okay, fine. I do need the rest of that stuff.
Then there is a fullness hormone produced in your fat stores called Leptin. It sends messages to that irritating little gland in your brain when to eat, how many calories to burn, and sets your body weight like the time on a clock. While scientists know that Leptin is critical in controlling hunger and weight, no one really knows how to treat it. Isn’t it a hoot that the hormones in your fat cells are ultimately responsible for your hunger? That is like putting the criminally insane in charge of the asylum.
I guess that means I am a hormonal time bomb today. I love having an excuse to be witchy. My fat cells must be intellectually challenged though, or they would be telling me to get a grip – that I am not hungry – I could live off the fat of the land alone for months. Of course, if they dared to do that, Dirty Harry would intervene, “Go ahead, make my day.” Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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