Managing hunger while on a weight loss program

Managing hunger while on a weight loss program in Mt Juliet

You’ve decided it’s time to lose weight and you’re ready to take on the challenge … but then the hunger strikes, making it difficult to stick to your well-laid-out plan. How do you manage hunger when dieting? Here are a few tips to help you fight hunger while on a weight loss program.

Don’t over-correct

We live in a world of instant gratification. When we click a button, we’re taken directly to the website we’re looking for; when we order online, we can get our package in less than 24 hours. Unfortunately, weight loss doesn’t -- and shouldn’t -- operate under the same model. We can’t just swipe a card to lose weight, we must form habits and be patient. When setting a diet plan, be realistic about the time and effort it will take to get to where you want to be.

Making sudden, significant changes to diet and exercise can actually derail weight loss plans. Why? Your body is programmed to maintain weight and does so by regulating energy intake (food)  and expenditure (exercise). When there’s an imbalance in energy intake and expenditure, the human body works to restore balance. 

Basically, when you cut calories and increase exercise, the body’s natural response is to become hungry and eat more. That’s why it’s important not to “over-correct” by cutting too many calories or increasing exercise too much at once. Ease yourself into weight loss by setting incremental goals that focus on long-term results, not instant results. This patient approach doesn’t just help you lose weight, it also makes it easier to keep the weight off.

Eat more protein & fiber

Of course, it’s natural to be just a little bit hungry when starting off on a weight loss plan. Again, your body is programmed to maintain -- not lose -- weight. Here’s the good news: eating foods rich in protein and fiber will help you stay full longer. Studies have shown over and over again, that protein suppresses the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, which keeps hunger pains at bay. 

When you start to feel hungry, eat healthy protein-rich foods such as nuts, legumes, poultry, or greek yogurt. These sorts of foods allow you to fill up on fewer calories, helping you avoid unhealthy binging. Likewise, fiber-rich foods help to keep you full. These foods are dense and absorb water, giving your body the feeling of being full. Fruits, vegetables, and seeds such as chia and flax seeds are great foods to incorporate into a diet to help you feel full.

Drink lots of water

During the day, it’s easy to forget to drink water. We get stuck in meetings, we’re running late to pick the kids up … whatever it is, drinking water isn’t always top of mind. Water intake is important to a diet plan because again it helps keep you full. The weight of water in your stomach, like protein and fiber, will help keep those hunger pangs away. 

While humans don’t need a ton of water to survive, our bodies function better when well-hydrated. In fact, it’s common to mistake symptoms of dehydration for hunger, causing us to eat food when we actually should be drinking water. Dehydration can also cause drowsiness and fatigue, causing appetite to spike. As a general rule of thumb, when you start to feel hungry, drink a glass of water. If the hunger doesn’t subside in 20 minutes or so, then eat a protein and/or fiber-rich snack.

When it comes to weight loss and weight management, we can manage hunger by eating certain foods or drinking more water, but at the end of the day, the key to weight loss is not just checking the boxes, it’s committing to forming healthy habits through consistency and patience. Yes, these tips will help you stick to your diet, but committing to these tips for the long-haul will set you up for long-term success. 

Have a question about diet and weight loss?

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8:00am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

8:00am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

8:00am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

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Inspire Medical
151 Adams Lane #18
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
(615) 453-8999