One of the hardest parts of losing weight is dealing with the hunger that comes along with it. Your body is in the process of shedding fat and in order to do that, you have to be consuming less calories than you’re burning. Your body wants to maintain its weight and it will fight you all the way there, so naturally it’s going to send your brain signals that it’s hungry. Here are some of my tips to help you deal with that hunger and stay on track.
Quick note, if you’re already at a healthy weight, you need to listen to what your body is telling you and don’t ignore those hunger cues. You will end up causing more damage to yourself in the long run if you allow lose too much weight. Check out this bmi calculator to see where you fall. If you’re already at a healthy weight or underweight and feel like you need to “tone up”, consider adding muscle. Here’s a quick guide to walk you through some of those concepts. And if none of this applies to you, keep reading!
Drink lots of liquids
Sometimes that feeling of hunger might actually just be thirst. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. It helps to carry around a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day. You can add fruit, lemon, or flavor drops to it to keep it interesting. It may even help to set a timer to remind you to drink. Shoot for at least 8 cups a day.
Eat high volume foods
Vegetables are your best friend. They’re low calorie, but high in volume and fiber, which will help keep you full. Sometimes we’re not even really that hungry, but we just want to snack. Whip up a huge salad with a low calorie dressing and go to town. Another awesome high volume meal is soup. Make quick broth (Better Than Boullion is my favorite base) and add a ton of veggies to it. I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Soup Mix for some extra fiber and protein as well.
Try intermittent fasting
Now this is just from my personal experience, but I’ve had great success with this method. The idea here is to eat most of your calories in a small window frame. Now how you do it is really up to you. Some people like to fast until 4pm and then eat a HUGE meal and stop eating again at 8pm. Personally, I’ll get way too hungry before 4pm and end up overeating before then.
I prefer waiting until around 1pm to eat. I feel pretty hungry when I first wake up, but I drink a ton of water and then have some plain black coffee and then I’m fine until around 1 or 2. Then I’ll usually have a protein shake or something small and high protein. This keeps me satisfied again until around 4 of 5, which is when I’ll have another small meal. Since I got a lot of my protein requirements out of the way earlier, I’ll have something more tasty and higher carb, but still low calorie. Since I eat dinner with my partner, I like to save the majority of my calories for dinner (around 7pm). I’ll usually save an extra 100 calories or so to eat before bed, since I have trouble sleeping if I feel hungry.
Of course what works for you will probably be different, so make sure you experiment if you want to try this option!
Keep yourself busy
Try not to think about how hungry you are. Of course this is easier said than done, but it definitely helps if you keep yourself busy. If you’re just sitting there watching TV it’s pretty common for your thoughts to drift to food. Try going for a walk or even playing video games if you’re trying to just relax. Anything to keep yourself busy.
Make room for your cravings, in moderation
If you’re just dying for this one treat that you’ve been resisting for weeks, let yourself have it. As long as you don’t go overboard and you only do it occasionally, you’re not going to go off track. Most people fall off the wagon because they resist for so long and decide to finally give in and go all out. Once you’ve given in the first time, it’s easy to tell yourself you’ve already gone off track and ruined your progress, so you just give up. We want to avoid this.
It’s healthy to treat yourself occasionally.
Having the mindset that this treat scheduled in and you’re LETTING yourself have it is a much healthier way to view it. Maybe decide that every Saturday you’ll eat at maintenance and treat yourself with that donut you crave all week. Again, don’t go overboard, but also don’t restrict to the point that you give up.
Keep your goal in mind and accept it
Finally, we have to accept that we’re going to be hungry. It’s normal and there’s really no big secret to avoiding it. Accept that you’re doing something for your future self. It may seem miserable right now, but keep your goals in mind and know that this is only temporary. Once you hit that goal weight, you can eat at maintenance again and you won’t feel hungry anymore! Just keep pushing through and remember why you’re doing this.