There is no escaping it; if you want to lose weight, you are going to have to eat less. Eating less reduces your calorie intake, creates a calorie shortfall, and forces your body to burn fat for fuel. You can achieve this in several ways including:
- Eat smaller meals
- Eat fewer meals
- Cut down on certain food groups e.g. low-carb and low-fat diets
- Replace meals with a low-calorie meal replacement shake (How I lost weight with meal replacement shakes)
While your body is very happy to burn fat in place of food, your stomach will not be so happy you are eating less, and you’ll probably feel hungry as a result. You might be able to ignore your hunger for a few hours, or even a day or two but, eventually, it will get the better of you, and you’ll probably overeat as a result.
I’ve struggled with hunger in the past, and so I have gathered some of my best hunger-fighting tips and tricks for this article. The next time you feel hungry, try not to give in and eat a pile of fattening food. Instead, try one of these tried and tested tips for yourself!
1. Drink water
Water contains no calories, and yet it can scare off hunger. Water fills your stomach and stretches the receptors responsible for telling your brain it’s full. Drinking a tall glass or two of water fills your stomach like food does but without derailing your diet. Water is also good for your digestive system and essential for virtually every reaction that happens inside your body. Drink water between meals to prevent hunger or drink it when hunger strikes.
2. Have an apple
Apples are very low in calories, containing around 60-70 for a medium-sized apple. However, because they are high in fiber and water, they are also very filling. Even if you are really hungry, I’m willing to bet you won’t be able to eat more than two in a single sitting! Because they are sweet, apples can also help derail your sugar cravings too. To make your apple go a little further, use an apple slicer to create some bite-sized pieces and then take your time eating it. An apple a day can help keep hunger at bay!
3. Distract yourself
Do you find you are hungrier when you are bored? Do you feel hungry when you are watching TV or otherwise not mentally or physically busy? Me too! Avoid hunger by keeping yourself busy; you can’t eat if you are doing things after all!
Good activities for distracting you from food include:
- Go for a walk
- Do some exercise
- Tidy your house
- Do some work in your garden
- Read a book
- Play a video game
- Phone a friend
It doesn’t matter what you do so long as it takes your mind off food!
4. Have a protein shake
A protein shake will help stabilize your blood glucose, halt any sweet cravings you have, and make you feel full. Protein is very satiating. Go for a whey protein or something similar that contains mostly protein and very little carbohydrate or fat. A single serving should contain around 20 grams of protein and less than 100 calories. Check out this article on choosing the best protein powder and my protein shakes recipes..
5. Have a protein bar
Protein bars, like protein shakes, are filling and can provide relief from your sugar cravings. They are portable, and some taste like candy bars. Unlike candy, they are low in sugar and fat and pretty good for you! Some contain a lot of calories, so it’s important to read the label, so you know what you are eating. If you have big protein bars, you may need to cut it in half to avoid consuming too many calories. Your protein bar (or half a bar) should provide you with around 100 calories. This will be enough to shut down hunger, but not so much your weight loss suffers. Read my article about the best protein bars here.
6. Ask yourself if you are really hungry
Are you really hungry or are you eating out of boredom or habit? Many of us feel hungry simply because we habitually eat at certain times or in certain places. The next time you feel hungry, ask yourself this simple question: Am I hungry enough to eat a bowl of raw broccoli?
If the answer is yes, you really are hungry, and you probably need a small snack (healthy snack recipes here); choose one of the options listed above. However, if you aren’t hungry enough to eat raw broccoli, you probably aren’t hungry at all! You’ll often find that, if you wait a few minutes, your hunger pangs will pass all on their own.