Do you feel hungry all the time? Do you wish you knew how not to be hungry, or even how to ignore hunger? Well, especially if you have a long history of dieting and restricting your intake, constant feelings of hunger can be expected.
Perhaps you want to find a way to ignore hunger so you can reach your weight loss goals. Or maybe you just hate the feeling of always being hungry and want to overcome it once and for all.
Well, I got some good news for you! I’ve put together several tips (all dietitian approved) to help you overcome feelings of hunger and start feeling normal around food again.
These tips will help you prevent hunger, but also help you understand why you feel intense hunger and how to remedy this. So let’s go ahead and jump right in!
1. Create a regular eating pattern
The number one tip is ensuring you are creating a regular eating pattern. This means making sure you are eating regularly throughout the day.
I know it may seem obvious, but eating regularly is a great way to ensure you never get too hungry. If you are wondering where to start, I suggest trying to eat every 3-4 hours during the day. This is going to be a great starting point.
From there, you can experiment a bit!
If you notice you are hungry 2-3 hours after a meal, eat a meal or snack every 2-3 hours. Notice you don’t get hungry until 4-5 hours after meals, then eat every 4-5 hours.
Remember that everyone is different and your level of hunger is going to be dependent on your activity, size of your meals, individual metabolism and so much more. If you have a long history of dieting, then I highly suggest sticking to eating every 3-4 hours for a period of time. This is because chronic dieters tend to have altered hunger/fullness signals, meaning they may feel hungry all the time or rarely at all.
2. Build satisfying and filling meals
Next, it’s important to build satisfying and filling meals and snacks. You can easily do this by including filling macronutrients and ensuring you are eating an adequate portion.
There are going to be four components that will help you feel full and satisfied after every meal and snack. These include:
I highly suggest trying to include a food source of each of these nutrients in each meal and snack. Some examples of foods in each category include:
- Grains like bread, rice, tortillas, pasta, etc.
- Any fruit and fruit juice
- Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn, peas
- Dairy products like milk and yogurt
- Baked goods, candy and soda
- Vegetable oils
- Nuts and seeds
- Meats like beef, pork, poultry, seafood
- Nuts and seeds
- Protein powders and bars
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, corn tortillas, whole wheat flour tortillas
Try adding a food from each category (and yes if the food is in multiple categories it counts as each of these categories) into your everyday meals and snacks and you will be able to tell the difference!
3. Incorporate treat foods daily
This may seem like an odd one, but it’s important to recognize the role of physical and emotional hunger when it comes to wanting to know how not to be hungry.
While physical hunger stems from not eating enough or often enough, emotional hunger tends to come in the form of cravings. So once you tackle your cravings, you will stop feeling emotional hunger!
Now, you’ve probably heard tips on how to stop cravings. Perhaps it’s replacing a cookie with an apple, or just distracting yourself until the craving diminishes. But these tips can actually amplify cravings to a point where it will develop into a full on binge. So let’s not go down that route.
So what do I recommend? Even the food you crave! I know what you’re thinking, why is this dietitian telling me to eat all the junk food I want?
Well, that’s not exactly what I’m saying. The reason why I suggest eating the foods you crave is because the more you eat a food, the less exciting and the less likely you are to overeat it. On the other hand, if you restrict the foods you crave and try to avoid them at all costs, you will likely overeat these foods when you do give in and eat them.
So instead of avoiding the food completely, I highly suggest incorporating these foods back into your diet slowly.
If you don’t even know where to begin with this, I suggest checking out my online course, “Binge Free + Flourishing” where I go over how to reintroduce trigger foods back into your diet.
Click here to learn more about the course: Binge Free + Flourishing Online Course
4. Consider reevaluating your weight loss goals
Finally, it’s so important to consider reevaluating your weight loss goals. If you are constantly hungry, it may just be because you aren’t eating enough in general.
Perhaps you have set your calorie goal too low and are really struggling to reach it. Remember, lasting weight loss takes time! While it’s tempting to set your calories to 1200 per day and try to lose weight as fast as possible, this can be very harmful to your metabolism and is likely not maintainable long term.
Instead, set small calorie deficit goals that are easy for you to maintain long term. No, you won’t lose weight as fast, but you will likely sustain your weight loss for a longer period of time.
Along with this, maintaining a smaller calorie deficit will make losing weight so much easier, which will likely lead to better results when you consider adherence.
Final thoughts: How not to be hungry
Let’s sum up everything you need to know when it comes to how not to be hungry.
First off, make sure you are eating often, ideally every 3-4 hours. Next, make sure you create satisfying meals and snacks by adding a carb, fat, protein and fiber source. Next, ensure you are eating the foods you crave throughout the day to ensure you satisfy emotional hunger. And finally, reevaluate your weight loss and calorie deficit goals and ensure you are setting realistic goals for yourself.
Hope these tips were helpful!