There are a lot of things that contribute to hunger including boredom, and filling emotional holes, but considering the current state of the Standard American Diet, it is most likely a much more simple and scientific underlying cause.
If your daily diet is not including whole, local, organic foods, you are likely malnourished. You might be thinking, “Malnourished? But I need to lose weight!” It is entirely possible, and most likely if you are overweight that you are not getting enough vitamins, and minerals in your diet.
You see, when you eat highly processed foods and “fast” foods, you are giving your body high calorie foods that have virtually no nutrient value. They have little to no fiber. So when you eat a high fat, high salt, high sugar, processed food, your body will still be hungry for what it really needs.
For the record, if your food container says “enriched with vitamin (fill in the blank)” or “added fiber” it is because that food has been so processed, that all of the naturally occurring nutritional value of that food has been processed out. Taking a perishable, whole food and creating a non-perishable item, requires removing all of the parts that oxidize and go rancid and adding preservatives.
Why is adding nutrients and fiber back into the food a bad idea? Our food and nutrition sciences are very new, there are parts of whole foods that are beneficial to our bodies that we do not even know exist yet. It is much like pharmaceutical drugs. We process plants down to the one part that we want to isolate to use it for its known benefits and in that process, we eliminate all of the naturally occurring safeguards that plant has incorporated in itself that make it safe, and beneficial, for us to consume.
Life is moving at a faster pace than our bodies have had the chance to evolve to deal with. Our bodies still function from a place where they must be efficient at conserving calories in our fat stores to prepare for famine, or just to get through the process of hunting and gathering our foods. So when we eat a high calorie food, our bodies grab it and hold onto it. At a cellular level, we need vitamins and minerals to allow our cells to create energy, to move hormones around, to clean our blood and all of the myriad of functions that we have no conscious thought of. Our bodies are holding onto the calories to give us energy but they still need micronutrients in order to actually function.
Make sure you are including whole foods in your diet every day. If you do not like green leafy vegetables, look into a good green supplement, there are plenty out there that you just add water to. Look for green super foods in those supplements such as chlorella, blue green algae, and spirulina. Your body will thank you with more energy, clearer thinking and eventually, a decreased appetite.