Food is essential to our wellbeing, but occasionally our desire for it can go out of balance. Whether you are eating too much, too little or to console your emotions, in this episode, Jen shares what influences your appetite and how to bring it back into balance.

Did you enjoy the podcast today? Please let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Every month I draw one lucky reviewer to have a free one-hour consultation with me. Also, remember to subscribe wherever you’re tuning in from so that you always catch the next episode.


Appetite is the desire to eat food, sometimes due to hunger. It exists to help your body know it needs energy intake (food) to maintain your metabolic needs (keep living and moving).

The Canadian Society of Gastrointestinal Research published that a person is less likely to have a preference for what they want to eat when they are truly hungry.

What can cause an increase in appetite?

  • Boredom, stress, or another heightened emotional state
  • Seeing or smelling food that appeals to you
  • Routine, habit, or a special occasion (obligation)

What causes a loss of appetite?

Pregnancy, metabolic problems, chronic liver disease, dementia, HIV, hepatitis, hypothyroidism, chronic kidney failure, heart failure, some recreational drugs, chemotherapy, morphine, codeine, and antibiotics.

How to increase your appetite

  • Eat foods that look and smell appealing
  • Using spices and herbs to improve the flavour
  • Make meals enjoyable by playing music and presenting the food in an attractive way
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day
  • Eat at consistent times each day
  • Plan your meals the day before
  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Eat off a red plate

How the colour of your plate can impact your appetite

A study from Cornell found that people who used plates with colours that highly contrasted their food colour (for example, red pasta on a white plate) served themselves 22% more.

Yellow and orange are colours that make people feel hungry. The colour red is associated with emotion and passion. So, when one sees red combined with yellow and orange, they become passionately hungry.

Blue is the colour to help suppress your appetite. Blue evokes images of blue skies and oceans, the calming nature of this colour is said to soothe the body and slow down metabolism, thus curbing one’s appetite. 

White plates and white foods are often associated with excessive consumption, especially when it comes to snacks. You tend to forget that white foods contain calories, and this leads to mindless eating. White foods and foods eaten from white dishware are also less satisfying.

How to decrease your appetite 

People can practice mindful eating by:

  • Waiting until they are moderately, but not ravenously, hungry
  • Avoiding distractions, such as the TV, during meals – I watch comedies when I eat, and it helps me eat slower too
  • Taking five deep breaths before eating
  • Using their senses to appreciate how the food looks, smells, and tastes
  • Taking small bites and chewing thoroughly
  • Paying attention to the body’s signs that it is full
  • Live from prevention and keep crap out of the house to be less tempted

You can also increase feelings of fullness by avoiding processed foods and simple sugars. Instead, you can focus on meals that contain a balance of protein, healthful fats, fibre, and carbohydrates.

Stress eating

You knew I would get around to talking about stress and hormones! For many of us, food has become a way of handling stress. 

When we are stressed, our adrenals are activated, the fight or flight response sends a blast of hormones throughout our bodies. After a stressful event, we need instant fuel to keep going, so we crave carbohydrates and fats – that’s why we eat chocolate when we’re stressed. Adaptogen herbs are crucial to help with this. There is a link to the one I use in the show notes.

Mood Eating

Have you ever noticed that an hour or so after lunch you are ready for a nap or a trip to the vending machine? Depending on the Glycaemic Index (GI) of the food you’ve eaten and the level of chromium in your body, your blood sugar can be going up and down like a rollercoaster and taking your moods, emotions and energy levels along for the ride. 

The Glycaemic Index is a method of classifying the glycaemic (blood sugar) response to carbohydrate-rich foods. High GI foods enter your bloodstream faster, giving you that sugar hit whereas low GI foods enter more slowly and raise energy levels without the sugar spike.

If you eat a ‘healthy’ salad and meat sandwich on white bread for lunch chances are that an hour later you’ll be ready for a nap, chocolate or coffee – it’s the mid-afternoon slump that we know so well. 

This is because the white bread is a high GI food, meaning that it causes your insulin levels to spike and your body to overreact draining you of energy and leaving you feeling tired and lethargic. 

The trick is to remove the refined grain and so that the overreaction doesn’t happen – simply switching to brown bread is a good start (listen to episode 4 about bum glue).

You can also reduce the glycaemic impact of high GI foods by combining them with good fats or high-quality proteins, both of which have low glycaemic indexes (listen to episode 16 where I talk about sugar cravings). 

Healthy Life Hacks

So, the healthy life hacks I want to leave you with today are: 

  1. Identify what’s going on. If it’s stress deal with that first.
  2. What colour plate are you eating off? 
  3. If you know there is a time of day that you forget to eat, set alarms come from a place of prevention. If you overeat, be busy leading into that time.
  4. Remember, you are in control.

Did you enjoy the podcast today? Please let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Every month I draw one lucky reviewer to have a free one-hour consultation with me. Also, remember to subscribe wherever you’re tuning in from so that you always catch the next episode.

Are you looking for more great resources? Get a free copy of my Feed Your Body ebook here and be sure to explore my blog while you are there.