The smell of garlic being sautéed in butter is heavenly. I don’t think anyone who knows how to cook will disagree with this. And to my dismay, my neighbour makes a lot of dishes loaded with garlic-butter. Every time I walk into the corridor and get a whiff of this smell, I want to eat it. Even though I was perfectly full and satisfied a couple of seconds ago, this smell has the power to rewire my satiety cues.
This, my friend, is taste hunger.
So, let’s dig deeper and understand the relationship between taste hunger and weight loss…
So, what is taste hunger?
Well, you’re experiencing Taste hunger when you’re craving food for its taste. It has nothing to do with when was the last time you ate, or how full you are feeling. This taste sensation can be triggered by any of our senses, including sight and smell. That’s why this is one of the most common types of hunger.
It’s sometimes also referred to as mouth hunger, eye /visual hunger or nose hunger.
Signs of taste hunger
The signs for taste hunger can be watering of the mouth or drooling.
In my case, my kryptonite is decadent, sinful looking dessert. At that moment, and I am not exaggerating, everything around me seems to disappear!
Now since we know what Taste hunger is and some of its signs, let’s understand how to do deal with it while losing weight.
How to satisfy taste / mouth hunger?
I’ll start with a caveat. Dishonouring taste hunger for too long can lead to episodes of binge eating. Needless to say, that’s something you should avoid at all costs. Thus, below are some tips that can come in handy to satisfy this hunger.
1. Differentiate between physical and taste hunger cues
Taste hunger, or mouth hunger, is different from physical (actual) hunger but they can overlap at times. If you are trying to lose weight, it’s important that you know how to differentiate between them. This will help you make an informed choice. Learn to understand your hunger cues so that you can tell them apart.
2. Own up the decision
Once you can tell these hungers apart, make a decision. If you decide to eat for the taste, do so mindfully. You can always make up for it the following day or by throwing in a bit of extra cardio. If you decide to not give in to your craving, stick to that decision. Remember that it’s bringing you one step closer to your weight loss goals. Give yourself a high-five!
3. Space out your indulgence
Giving-in to your cravings every time isn’t good, but depriving yourself for too long is also not a sustainable solution. There will be a day when you can’t resist anymore and will end up overeating. So, have that cheat meal every once in a while. And make sure your weekly macros are in check. This will help you space out your indulgence to ensure it doesn’t have a negative impact on your goals.
4. Don’t overeat
Always be mindful of the things you are eating only for taste. And don’t overeat. Ever! Try asking yourself if you can describe the exact taste of what you are eating. This will warrant that you eat slowly and mindfully, helping you notice the smell, texture etc.
Often, halfway through the indulgence, you will realise that it isn’t as good as you’d expected. This can help you eat lesser than originally planned.
5. Try to find healthy replacements
Find healthier replacements for your cravings. Make a list. You won’t be able to build this in a day and there’s a level of trial and error involved. But make a note of the healthier indulgences that you like. For example, if you’re craving something sweet, try Greek yogurt or frozen grapes instead of ice cream.
6. Distract yourself
When trying to lose weight and eating healthy, your taste buds can’t rule your eating habits. So, try and distract yourself. This can be anything from calling a friend or going for a quick walk. Talking a walk has many benefits, not only does it help you take your mind off the craving, but it’s great for your cardiovascular health. You can use a smartwatch to track your daily steps. We highly recommend you set a daily step goal for yourself.
7. Chew a gum
Chewing gum can often be all the distraction you need. Also, if it’s a sweet craving that you have, it’s a double-barrel! In my personal experience, if I am chewing gum, I often don’t end up thinking about food as much.
8. Drink water
We give water far less credit than it deserves, me included! Having a couple of glasses of water can subside hunger and make you feel full.
Hope this helps you deal with your cravings and move forward in your weight loss journey. Not sure if you are falling for your appetite instead of your hunger, check out this article.