Dealing with hunger while dieting is an issue that most people deal with. Losing weight and eating a lot less than you are accustomed too is a recipe for stomach rumbles.
By reading this article you’ll come away with 12 strategies you can use against hunger before you quit your diet.
1. Avoid Fast food
Have you ever had a meal at a fast food restaurant, only to be left still feeling hungry not too long after?
Maybe you’ve noticed that you can or tend to overeat substantially when eating out.
This article by the Washington post explains the effects of fast food very well, but essentially when you eat out, you are likely to eat more.
Junk food, fast food, whatever you want to call it, is usually loaded with sugar, sodium and other additives designed to hook you fast leading you to crave a lot more.
And of course, it’s easy to consume and delicious, making it easier to eat fast and leaving you unsatisfied.
By eliminating or significantly reducing your fast food intake, you get rid of food that is specifically made in a way that will leave you hungry.
How to do it
Simply avoiding being in situations to consume junk food will go a long way here.
But there are other things you can do as well. For example you could eat a filling snack before going out to eat.
Or enjoy fast food on occasion, treating it as a special activity more so than a sin. Having this better food relationship can prevent binging when fast food does eventually hit your table.
2. Increase Protein intake
Protein is not just for building muscle and getting swole.
It is an essential part of your daily diet.
And in terms of dealing with hunger while dieting, protein will keep you feeling very full.
There have been many studies over the years on protein for weight loss, in this study for example participants who were on a high protein diet lost significantly more weight than their counterparts who were on a normal diet.
Protein rich foods take longer for your body to metabolize, keeping you fuller over that duration.
Out of the three macronutrients protein, fats, and carbs, protein takes the most energy to digest by a large margin.
So by adding more protein to your diet, you can eat the same amount but feel more satisfied.
How to do it
Protein rich sources are very abundant and available to the average person, and contrary to popular belief you don’t have to spend a lot more to eat like you are building muscle.
If you want to keep under a certain calorie limit, then there are a number of high protein low calorie foods available to you such as;
- Chicken breast or thigh
- Greek yogurt
- Canned tuna
- Cottage cheese
- Protein cereal
- Protein powder
- Eggs and egg whites
Meal planning can help make sure you hit your macro goals like protein.
3. Increase fiber
Similar to using protein for dealing with hunger while dieting, fiber can also be a vital tool.
Fiber is a form of carbohydrates that your body does not digest, yet has many positive health benefits for your daily life. Some of these benefits include regulating bowel movement, lowering cholesterol and of course, aiding in weight loss.
Because fiber is not absorbed and slows down the absorption of nutrients, it creates a greater feeling of fullness.
Many people lack the minimum daily recommended levels of fiber of 25 grams per day, but if you make the concentrated effort to hit that goal, your hunger levels will thank you.
How to do it
Fiber is available through various easy to get foods.
Before purchasing any types of fiber supplements, consider just increasing the amount of fruits and veggies you eat. Both types of food are high sources of fiber, have a ton of variety, and of course go into many dishes.
4. Increase sleep
As we get older, sleep tends to become less of a priority in our very busy lives. 1 in 3 adults don’t achieve the recommended sleep of at least 7 hours.
We have been told again and again why sleep is important, and in this case, sleep is vital for dealing with hunger while dieting.
There are two important hormones that come into play with hunger, Ghrelin and Leptin.
Ghrelin is responsible for hunger levels and increasing food intake while leptin on the other hand has the job of keeping the body feeling full.
When sleep levels are low, Ghrelin increases while Leptin decreases, a combination that can lead to overeating all day.
If you decide to focus on better sleep, your hormone levels can stabilize and decrease how hungry you are.
How to do it
Adding more sleep is difficult, especially if you have a lot to deal with. Kids, jobs, chores etc.
But creating a sleep schedule can improve all areas of your life, not just hunger and weight loss.
Start by setting a goal for a minimum of 7 hours, the recommended amount.
Then practice good sleep habits before bed, essentially you want to lower the stimulating activities like screen time.
Finally if tracking becomes an issue for you, plenty of fitness devices like a Fitbit, help track not only your activity levels but quality of sleep as well.
5. Reduce stress
Stress has a lot of negative effects on our general health.
With so many potential stressful triggers in modern day life, it’s a little difficult to avoid.
Double that difficulty when you are trying to stay disciplined on a diet.
If you do become stressed out, your body can release cortisol which in turn increases your cravings for sugar and fatty foods.
Emotional stress eating is actually a common issue you can encounter.
So if you are having a lot of trouble dealing with hunger while dieting, reducing your everyday stress can give you better control.
How to do it
Find the key areas in your life that contribute to stress. See what about them gives you problems.
Minimize the ones you can or find ways to tackle the difficulty about them.
Of course, that is easier said than done because often the important things are the most nerve wracking.
You also can pick up a hobby that is geared towards clearing your mind. Meditate, gardening, maybe even get some workout equipment and make your own home gym.
If you are looking to add some convenient and adjustable workout gear, Bowflex has great options from dumbbells to cardio machines.
6. Move more to eat more
Sometimes it’s not about adjusting your habits and choices for less eating, instead changing so you can eat more is viable too.
Let’s say you use a calorie calculator and find that with a sedentary lifestyle, you can eat 1500 calories a day to lose a pound a week.
Instead of being satisfied eating so low, if you increase how much you move each day, you could boost the amount of food you enjoy as well.
How to do it
It doesn’t take a lot of movement to increase how much energy you use up each day.
Starting from a no activity type of living, here are a few changes you could try for yourself.
- Walking 10,000 steps a day to lose an extra few hundred calories, again a fitness tracker can help with this.
- Lift weights 2 – 3 times a week
- Simple decisions like choosing to take the stairs or parking further from the store don;t seem like much but can add up over time.
If you need equipment to get started, Bowflex has a wide range of options that are highly adjustable and easy to use. They are great to start creating a home gym that fits your own needs instead of going to a general gym.
7. Avoid Big Deficits
Look, I get it, when you start out with a diet and weight loss goal, you want to hit the ground running and quickly build up momentum and big results.
I have been there. And like many others I have failed.
Getting overly excited when you first start diet usually leads to drastic measures, one of these being a big calorie deficit.
To lose a pound each week a calorie deficit 500 is needed. Usually that’s fine. Pushing for two pounds can be ok in certain situations as well.
It’s very easy with the simplicity of the concept of calories to over do it.
When you stretch yourself to in by cutting out tons of calories and essentially eating nothing, you set yourself up for quitting fast and if you don’t, long term negative health effects.
How to do it
To keep yourself from creating a big calorie deficit and thus increasing your hunger while dieting, follow these simple diet practices.
- Start slow. Use a smaller deficit until you become comfortable and adjust after that.
- Set a long term goal instead of a short term one, which can encourage you to feel rushed.
- Have realistic expectations so you don’t become impatient with the process
8. Drink More Water
According to this study in the European journal of clinical nutrition, drinking sufficient water can help decrease the amount you eat.
Are you really feeling hungry, or do you have a tendency to overeat during meal time?
In the study, tests were done on individuals eating breakfast. There was one controlled variable, drinking 2 glasses of water with their food.
The result of the study showed that although the subjects did not have reduced hunger long after they were finished eating, they were considerably more satiated during the meal.
Because it is such a simple change to implement, drinking more water to your meals can greatly reduce the overall amount you consume.
How to do it
This might be as easy as a simple, remember to drink water at each meal. For most people, that is enough.
However, there are tools available to you to help track the water you are drinking. Most basic fitness apps that track calories also have the option to keep a record of the cups of water you drink.
If you want a little extra, or maybe wanna feel fancy, get a smart bottle that reminds you to drink water so you can stay on track.
9. Avoid Empty Calories
Do your calories seem high at the end of the day yet you still feel hungry. As if you know you it’s in excess but your stomach says not enough?
Look at your calorie sources in detail. Is the majority coming from processed foods, high sugary snacks, or drinks?
These types of foods tend to be easier to digest, take less energy for your body to digest, and keep you struggling with dealing with hunger white dieting.
On top of the empty nutritional value, they also tend to be very high in calories.
Replacing them with whole foods, particularly those high in fiber and protein will keep you fuller longer.
How to do it
If you track calories, simply go down each item and see if a majority of your food is empty calories.
If you don’t track, take a hard long look at your eating habits, and most importantly be honest. See what foods can be replaced and make the change.
Dealing with hunger while dieting: Conclusion
No one likes feeling hungry while on a diet. It isn’t enjoyable, and also unmotivating at times.
The idea of action towards better health should be with the long view in mind, and something that isn’t enjoyable might make you cut your journey short.
Now you have a 9 strategies to help with dealing with hunger while dieting. If you feel ready to start a workout too, try out my free beginners workout program designed to get you started and ready for long term success.