Satiating Your Hunger and Quenching Thirst

By John Paul de Guzman

Have you ever felt hungry or thirsty during or after a workout? It is not uncommon to confuse the two sensations when it comes to your appetite and wonder, “Should I eat or drink, and when?” In this article, we will identify the body’s different signals and how to mindfully respond to them to manage hunger and thirst.

Hunger is the body’s signal indicating its need for food and energy. There are three types of hunger that reflect your body’s need for food in everyday life: physical, emotional, and situational hunger. First,  symptoms of physical hunger include stomach growling, weakness, headaches, loss of concentration, and mood swings. Be mindful of these physical signals and respond to them regularly because if they are ignored, then the body will release hormones that increase the sensation of hunger, decreasing the hormone that enhances satiety (Brown, 2017). Second, emotional hunger is the desire to eat to cope with feelings (i.e., sad, lonely, anxious, or bored). Unmanaged emotional hunger can lead to eating disorders and/or worsened emotional health, which in extreme cases professional support from a mental health counselor or dietitian is suggested.

The best way to manage hunger is to recognize these signals to distinguish between physical versus emotional hunger. Then, use The Hunger Scale to measure your hunger level before, during, and after eating to monitor your food intake:

1-Extremely hungry
2-Very hungry
3-Mildly hungry
4-Satisfied (not hungry nor full)
5-Midely full
6-Very full
7-Extremely full

Third, situational hunger is influenced by your surroundings. For example, extra-large restaurant servings, food ads, and your home and workplace influence your food intake. Furthermore, when individuals are eating and distracted by watching television, on a phone call, or browsing the web, their attention is drawn away from the food being eaten, which can lead to over-consumption (Crome, 2017). In response to these habits, the Food and Brand Lab recommends the “C.A.N.” approach, which encourages making healthy foods Convenient, Attractive, and Normal (Brown, 2017). For instance, consider decluttering your kitchen, pre-washing and slicing produce, preparing healthy meals in batches on the weekends for your workweek ahead, or replacing unhealthy snacks with better on-the-go options. As you can see, there are different types of hunger, but if you listen and respond to these signals mindfully, your relationship with food will be more positive.

Meal timing is key to workout performance and recovery. It is normal to feel hungry after a workout because exercise burns calories. Whether or not you eat before your workout can impact your hunger later in the day. In fact, exercising in a fasted state will lead to early fatigue, poor stamina, and increased hunger later (Bachus and Macdonald, 2015). Sheri Berger, BaySport Registered Dietitian, recommends that for quick energy, pre-workout meals should consist mostly of carbohydrates and consumed 1-2 hours prior to strength training (e.g., a smoothie or Greek yogurt with fruits, nuts, and honey) or having a small snack (e.g., granola bar, fresh fruit, or a bagel with peanut butter) about 30-60 minutes before cardio or circuit training. Following cardio or circuit training, eat a small snack within 30 minutes after your workout and a meal, composed of a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 carbs and protein (e.g., pasta with a salad and a glass of milk), within 2 hours of finishing. Similarly, post-workout meals following weight training should be consumed within 2 hours and composed of a carb to protein ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 (e.g. grilled chicken with rice and broccoli). Whenever possible, choose whole foods.

At the same time, if you feel hungry, you might actually be thirsty. Thirst is the body’s signal that it is on the way to dehydration. The American Council on Exercise emphasizes that most people do not drink enough water before, during, and after exercise, but it is recommended to drink whether you are thirsty or not. Consider the various factors that influence intake throughout your day: sweat rate, water lost through excretion, food and beverage consumption, metabolic water loss and any water lost through respiration. Given that, the brain sometimes confuses a lack of fluid with not enough food, signaling physical hunger symptoms. In addition, be aware of concentrated and decreased urine (urine should be a pale yellow), weight loss, increased heart rate and low blood pressure, dry mouth and eyes, and constipation. Because water composes more than half of the human body, it is impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it and must be consumed to replace the amount lost each day during basic activities.

Water is the best form of hydration for most individuals, and it is recommended to drink eight 8 ounce cups of water a day. Before exercise, drink 2-3 cups of fluid 2 to 3 hours before workout and 1 cup of fluid 10 to 20 minutes right before activity. During exercise, drink 1 cup of fluid every 15 minutes, and after exercise, drink at least 2 cups. Sports drinks are not needed unless the activity exceeds 45-60 minutes to replenish salt lost during sweat. If sports drinks are unavailable drink water and having a salty snack (i.e. pretzels). Moreover, daily water intake does not always need to be met through the consumption of plain water (Nitschke, 2017). Foods and beverages possessing hydrating properties that work to our benefit include: fruits fresh, frozen or canned in natural juice, leafy greens, dairy, coffee/tea, tomatoes, and oatmeal.

In conclusion, listen to your body’s hunger signals and respond to them accordingly. Time your meals and check the hunger scale to monitor food intake, choosing whole foods whenever possible. Remember to drink throughout the day to quench your thirst and that there are alternative sources from which you can fulfill your daily water intake from. Taking steps to manage your thirst and hunger will promote a more positive relationship with food and a satiated appetite.


Bachus, T., R.D.N., & Macdonald, E., R.D.N. (2015, July 20). Why Am I Always Hungry After a Workout? Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Brown, K. (2017, March 10). All About Hunger. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Crome, G. (2017, March 7). Mindful Eating. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Healthy Hydration. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2017, from

Nitschke, E. (2016, December 28). Eat Your Water – Sources of Hydrating Foods. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from

Author’s Bio

John Paul (JP) is a American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer. He is a Bay Area native and long-time San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan. He spent most of the winter shredding the slopes on his snowboard, but is ready to hit the ground running again to train for his 7th full marathon.

Reduce Your Risk of Cancer: 5 must-have foods

By Sheri Berger

March is Colorectal Cancer prevention month. A combination of a healthy diet, regular physical activity and healthy body weight can lower your risk of cancer. Consuming a plant rich diet with a focus on variety is a great way to reduce cancer risk. No single food or nutrient will prevent cancer alone; it is the synergy of nutrients working together in the overall diet that provide cancer protection.

Here are five plant foods that are excellent to include:

1. Cruciferous vegetables are nutrition powerhouses that resemble a cross or “crucifer,” hence the name. Some of the most common varieties are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, kale, collard greens, and broccoli. This magnificent vegetable group supplies folate, magnesium, fiber, potassium, vitamins C & K, and beta-carotene in the diet. There is strong evidence that cruciferous vegetables lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Tip: Cruciferous vegetables are versatile and easy to incorporate. Add leafy greens to smoothies, soups, sandwiches, wraps, or make them the sandwich wrap!

2. Grapes are an excellent source of the cancer fighting, inflammation reducing, and longevity associated compound resveratrol. In studies, resveratrol has been shown to block the development of skin, breast and leukemia cancer. The skins of grapes contain the highest levels of reveratrol, which may be associated with some of the health benefits of drinking red wine. For cancer prevention, it is recommended to only drink alcohol in moderation.

Tip: Enjoy grapes as part of a snack or add them to a leafy green salad to add a variety of texture and bit of sweetness!

3. Quinoa is a wonderful whole grain that is rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. A variety of healthful compounds in whole grains give this food group high potential for anti-cancer promotion. A cup of quinoa contains about 222 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein. Quinoa is not low calorie, but it is very nutrient dense and filling. Consuming a variety of fiber rich whole grains foods is important for cancer prevention, especially colorectal cancer.

Tip: Add a variety of vegetables to quinoa to boost the quantity without significantly increasing calories.

4. Flaxseed is an excellent source of lignins, fiber, ALA (plant form of omega-3), and vitamin E. A suggested serving size is 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed which contains 150 calories and about 7 grams of fiber. The high fiber content gives flaxseed potential for helping to prevent colorectal cancer. Further research is needed, but flaxseed may also help to prevent breast cancer because of the lignan content.

Tip: To get the full nutritional benefits, consume your flaxseeds ground. Sprinkle them in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, salads, or muffin, bread, or pancake batter.

5. Beans are a member of the legume family, which also includes split peas and lentils. Legumes are excellent sources of folate and fiber, providing 20% of the recommended daily amount per serving. Fiber helps to control weight and it protects colon cells, helping to decrease cancer risk. Folate and phytochemical rich components of beans also show promise for anti-cancer effects.

Tip: Canned beans are convenient and nutritionally equivalent to dried, rinse with water to remove most sodium.


American Institute for Cancer Research fight-cancer/

Renee, J (2/18/14) Livestrong, Foods That Fight Colon Cancer. Retrieved from that-fight- colon-cancer/

Thomas, M (1/27/11) Livestrong, Quinoa Rice Nutrition. Retrieved from rice-nutrition/

About the Author:
Sheri Berger is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist having completed her B.S. in Food/Nutrition & Dietetics and a dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago. Sheri has a diverse professional background that includes hospital and outpatient clinic patient support, preventive wellness programs, corporate wellness services, cardiovascular disease management, and working with seniors. Sheri enjoys engaging her clients in pursuit of their personal wellness goals and leading by example with her healthy lifestyle. She has been certified in adult weight management since 2005. She belongs to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, California Dietetic Association, and the San Jose Peninsula District of the CDA. Sheri enjoys spending her free time with her family and she loves to run marathons.

Hydration: The Importance and How Much We Need

By Shayna Pascoe

Hydration: the process of causing something to absorb water. Water is the source and the basis of life. Over two-thirds of the earth is made up of water and the human body is composed of about 60% water. It literally surrounds us and makes us, but the question is…WHY IS WATER IMPORTANT?

The human body needs water for many reasons (Mayo 2014):

-Water helps flush toxins out of vital organs
-Water helps nutrients get carried to cells for proper functioning
-Water provides a moist environment for ear, nose, and throat tissues for breathing
-Water is involved in every type of cellular process, including metabolism


Without the proper amount of water, the body’s normal functions become impossible to perform. This is the process of dehydration. Dehydration can result in fever, diarrhea, and/or vomiting (Laskey 2015). Water helps with so many problems our bodies feel, such as hunger, headaches, soreness, and weariness. Drinking water helps maintain the homeostasis within the body so that all the organs and
muscles are happy! A simple solution to the many problems our bodies face can be resolved with simply drinking more water.

It’s hard to see the signs that our bodies need water, it’s usually later than we’d like. The feeling of thirst is actually an indicator that our body has already been deprived of water. Our blood pressure also raises if the body isn’t replenished with the proper amount of liquids. Another indicator is urine color—the lighter or clearer the urine is, the more hydrated a person is; on the other hand, the darker or more yellow the urine, the more dehydrated a person is.

All of our organs depend on staying moist and using water to pass along substances to other parts of the body. The lungs need to stay moist to breathe air in and out. The heart needs water to make up our blood plasma to help transport many substances throughout the body. The kidneys, liver, and intestines use water to help flush out waste in the body (Laskey 2015). Water is essential for all bodily functions.


Because there are so many functions, it’s important to get the proper amount of water. We lose water every single day through our breath, precipitation, urine, and bowel movements. Since so much water is leaving the body, it means we need to replenish it. The old rule is get 8-8 ounces of water. This is a very broad rule, but easy to remember.

Since then, we understand that our water needs are dependent on many factors: your health, how active you are, and where you live to name a few (Mayo 2014). If you’re sick, you tend to lose even more fluids and need more water. If you are exercising, the body is moving and demands more oxygen and blood in the muscles; more water is needed to help this process and to prevent soreness. With intense exercise, a sports drink or snack with high-water content would be needed to replenish what the precipitation lost. If you live in hot or humid weather, you would need more water as well to maintain body temperature.

When a person is not drinking the proper amount of water, it is quite difficult to lose weight. For those who don’t drink enough, drinking more water could actually bring them closer to their weight goals. Without water flushing out toxins and nutrients fully, it gets stored within the body.

The Institute of Medicine had stated men should have around 13 cups of water and women around 9 cups of water per day. Again, the exact number is all relevant to each person’s lifestyle.


There are many foods that can help with water consumption. The food we consume actually contributes an average of around 20% of our overall water intake. Many fruits and vegetables have high-water content. Eating some of the following as snacks throughout the day can help the overall water intake:

Watermelon, Cucumbers, Iceberg Lettuce, Celery, Radishes, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Cauliflower, Eggplants, Spinach, Starfruit, Strawberries, Broccoli, Grapefruit, Carrots, Cantaloupe, Pineapples, Cranberries, Oranges, and Raspberries (Macmillin, Srivastava).

Water can help with regulating body temperature, help with bowel movement, and help with metabolism. Our body constantly gives us signals that it needs water, we just need to know how to recognize it. Our brain sometimes confuses our need for hunger and our need for thirst. We may feel hungry, but try drinking water and see if that feeling is relieved. Drinking before meals could also help people lose weight. A study showed that people that drink a glass of water before their meal eats an average of 75 calories less calories per meal (Shaw 2009).

Sport drinks such as Gatorade are prescribed for post-workouts since the body needs to be replenished of nutrients that were lost, such as sodium. Some of the foods listed previously could be seen as better than water—in the realm of sport drinks—since it is combined with natural sugars and other important nutrients like amino acids (Srivastava).

Try to replace those other sugary beverages, like soda and coffee, with just a glass of water. Though it may technically have water, the sugar and other substances need to be flushed out with more water!


Just like a car needs gas, our bodies need water. Without it, we will burn out and just stop dead in our tracks. We are in constant need of water to help regulate all functions of the body. For the body not to work hard and stress to do everyday tasks, we need to make sure it has enough water. Water can be obtained through many sources, as listed above and many more! Make sure to take into account all the aspects of your life and from there decide how much water you actually need. To stay happy and healthy, drink more water!

To read more about dehydration, visit the National Library of Medicine’s site:

To get more tips on how to stay hydrated, visit WebMD’s page: 10-ways- to-stay- hydrated

We need water to live, thrive, and survive.


Laskey, Jen (2015). “The health benefits of water.” body-health.aspx

Mayo Clinic Staff (2014). “Water: How much should you drink every day?” and-healthy- eating/in-depth/water/art- 20044256

Mayo Clinic Staff (2016). “Dehydration.” 20261061

MacMillin, Amanda (2016). “15 Foods that help you stay hydrated.”,,20709014,00.html

Shaw, Gina (2009). “Water and your diet: Staying slim and regular with H20.” WebMD. weight-loss- diet#1

Srivastava, Mala “Lists of fruits & vegetables with a high-water content.” SFGate vegetable-high- water-content- 8958.html

About the Author:

Shayna graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California with a B.A. in Kinesiology. She has been working as a Physical Therapy Aide in multiple clinics. She has worked with patients for preventative reasons as well as post-injury. Shayna enjoys being goofy and helping others remind themselves to take on any task one step at a time and to with a smile on her face. She is a lover of all sports, but basketball and the Golden State Warriors are her passion. She has participated in Tough Mudder and plans on doing it again. She loves taking hikes and going on adventures in nature, especially for the post-hike meal.