How do you deal with hunger when you’re trying to lose weight?

The million-dollar question: Is there any universal reason most people quit their weight-loss diet?

The answer is “Hunger“.

But what exactly is hunger?

In this article, I’ll provide tips for managing hunger when trying to lose weight.

Let’s start with a fundamental question.

1. what is “hunger”?

Hunger is one of the most basic human instincts and it drives you to acquire the necessary energy.

You may feel a need to eat or feel an “empty” sensation in your stomach.

People typically start feeling hungry anywhere from a few hours to more than 12 hours after eating

Do you feel hungry and/or notice a lack of energy?

This might be due to not getting enough of these 5 food groups:

Calories, proteins, carbs, fat, and fiber.

Even though most people think that all they need is water and some kind of sugary substance like soda or juice.

This often isn’t enough for long-term health.

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2. Hunger vs appetite

Confusingly, the two words are spelled differently but have the same meanings.

When you feel hungry it means that your body wants energy and isn’t getting enough to sustain itself.

Appetite refers to when you’re craving food in relation to seeing it.

You might experience times when you catch a whiff of bread baking or see a crispy entree through the restaurant window and suddenly realize that you’re hungry.

On the other hand, “hunger” makes your body recognize that it should eat now, no matter what the food is.

It could be a burger from a fast-food joint or a fresh avocado from your favorite grocery store.

When you don’t eat, your body triggers the release of hunger hormones which make it start to produce more stomach acid.

This’s to make you ready to digest food when it arrives.

After eating, ghrelin levels decrease and levels of fullness start to rise.

We may have evolved to find food pleasurable, back when hunger was a survival trait for our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

It prompted them to go out and find food, which helped keep them energized.

Nowadays, since we need to eat just to survive, it makes sense that we feel pleasure from eating.

Appetite is how much you want a meal, while hunger reflects how hungry you are.

The difference between these two can be important when looking to lose weight.

For example, if your appetite for a particular food is high but your hunger for this food is low, it’s probably not the best choice since your body will keep craving it even though it’s not what you

3. Other reasons you may want to eat.

Being hungry isn’t the only reason you feel like eating.

However, try to only eat when you’re truly hungry – especially if you’re on a diet.

So it’s important that before you start eating, you confirm that what you’re feeling is actually hunger.

If you want to know whether or not you’re hungry, ask yourself “could I eat a meal of protein and vegetables”.

If the answer is “yes” then you’re probably hungry and should eat until you’re satisfied, if the answer is no then it may be that you’re only craving sugar rather than hunger.

It’s not always a good idea to eat based on emotional reasons that are not hunger-related (e.g., stress eating, comfort eating).

However, there’re many instances where it can be okay – like when you’re on vacation.

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4. How to reduce hunger?

Now here’s a question that arises:

How can you lose weight while enjoying tasty food that prevents hunger and helps you feel full?

For many people, the answer is: Eating a very low-carb, higher-protein diet.

When people properly follow a very low-carb diet, they often find that they’re just not very hungry anymore.

It’s possible that having higher levels of ketones is partly due to low-carb diets causing the liver to produce more ketones.

Ketosis, where ketones and fat contribute energy, becomes prevalent when carb intake is very low.

Research has shown that ketosis can suppress appetite for many people, and also that getting more protein at mealtimes is a healthy way to reduce your hunger levels.

As you slowly digest protein foods, your metabolism starts to go up and you become full very quickly.

Studies show that people on high-protein diets tend to eat less over the course of a day without deliberately restricting their calories.

This can be attributed to hormones like ghrelin and appetite which are controlled by dietary protein.

A low-fat approach is not a good way to end hunger.

A higher-protein, the lower-carb diet should contain most of your calories from fat.

Fat adds richness and improves the taste of your food which can help you stick to low-carb eating for longer periods.

It’s not just about adding fat to your foods to increase your satisfaction after eating.

You could also try adding things like butter, cream, olive, or coconut oil to the dish you’re making.

These can help create thin layers of flavor and taste without adding lots of fat.

Avoiding processed foods and sticking to whole foods can help you avoid overeating.

Processed foods that are high in refined carbs and fat tend to be very satisfying and we often eat too much of them.

There’re also desserts with an unhealthy amount of calories that have little to no protein or nutrients.

These highly-palatable foods can drive you to continue eating in an attempt to fulfill your nutrition needs.

One common downside to the combination of sugar; fat is that it can trigger cravings and make it difficult to stop once you’ve had “just one bite”.

It also doesn’t provide much nutritional value, which is especially important for wholesome meals.

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5. The 4 R’s that will help you conquer hunger

When you’re feeling what seems like hunger but unsure of the cause, your four R‘s should be replenishing, rehydrating, redirecting, or relaxing.

Replenish: First, be sure to eat low-carb meals and get enough protein, fiber, and fat at each meal.

You should never feel hungry on a low-carb diet.

So take another serving of protein or veggies – with healthy fats if needed.

Rehydrate: Could it be that your body needs water rather than food?

Often hard to tell whether you’re hungry or thirsty.

If your last meal was rich in protein, high-fiber vegetables, and some fat but you still feel you need something.

Try drinking a glass of water, a cup of tea, or another low-carb beverage

Redirect: If you ate a nutritious meal with a soothing drink, but need to eat again around an hour later, try to redirect your focus.

Turn your attention to work or getting tasks done around the house.

Call a friend to talk, play with kids, read a book or find some other type of distraction.

The important thing is that you don’t spend the next 6 hours conscious about food and what you are going to eat next.

Relax: Even though cravings and hunger pangs occur much less often on a low-carb or keto diet, they can still happen.

Whether you’re new to this way of eating or have been following it for a while.

Analyzing these hunger-like feelings may help you identify what’s behind them.

But some days you might feel hungrier, and that is okay!

It happens to the best of us.

There’re many ways to keep hunger and cravings at bay while trying to lose weight.

Eat nourishing food during true hunger, enjoy what you eat while eating slowly, and stop when you’ve had enough.

One of the best possible ways is by following this three-step trick:

  • Feeding your body when it feels hungry.
  • Eating mindfully.
  • Paying attention to the taste.

In addition to eating a nutritious keto or low-carb diet, it’s important to learn to distinguish true hunger from wanting to eat for other reasons.

Also, make sure to avoid foods that stimulate your appetite or trigger cravings.

Above all, honor your hunger by feeding your body what it needs to be healthy, strong, and satisfied.

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Amarjeet Nagrale

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