Overcoming feelings of hunger is usually the hardest part of starting a diet. When you suddenly stop eating so many calories, it seems like your body is screaming! Your stomach hurts from hunger pangs, and you have that constant urge to walk to the fridge and grab a snack.
Most of the time, controlling hunger is about changing your habits. Our bodies become accustomed to eating more food, and when we stop it’s hard. You need time to adapt.
People who lose a significant amount of weight often look back and wonder how they ate so much food. The truth is, people need time to train their bodies to eat and be satisfied with less food. Your feelings of hunger when you’re dieting or changing your meal plan are more mental than physical. It’s usually your brain telling you it’s time to eat even though you’re not really hungry.
To get through those first days and weeks of a diet, there are things you can do to trick your mind and your body and control your feelings of hunger. Here are six tips to try.
Staying busy is one of the best things you can do to avoid ruining your diet. When you’re sitting there doing nothing, your mind shifts to what you normally would do in a moment like that – eat. Keep active, take walks, and spend time with friends to take your mind off of food. Start reading a good book or play some video games. Join a class or a club that gets you out of the house and cuts down on your snacking. It will pay off because you’ll be moving more and will have less time to feel hungry. Speaking of staying busy, this also includes staying on top of appointments such as regular dental checkups.
Recognize Your Weaknesses
Everyone is going to feel hungry when they cut calories, but how you react will determine whether your diet is successful and you hit your goals. What you can do to control hunger is to recognize moments when you’re at your weakest and most likely to cheat. Whether you are a late-night snacker or tend to eat too much when you’re out with friends, you need to pinpoint where you’re most at risk. Then, you can start avoiding those situations and stick to your plan. Avoiding triggers will also hold feelings of hunger at bay.
Buy Flavored Drinks
Snacking and eating for people who struggle can be like a drug addiction. Your body hungers not for food but for what the food gives you. It wants that burst of dopamine, the sugar high, or the mental comfort you get from eating food. One thing you can do to control hunger is to trick your brain into thinking you’re giving it the stimulants it wants, but only without the calories. Buying flavored drinks with no sugar or calories is a good start. This may not work all of the time, but it could be satiating enough to get you through a rough patch of hunger pangs. Drinking a lot of water is good for your diet anyway, and adding flavor can scratch your itch until the next meal time comes around.
Go Over Your Goals Again
One aspect of controlling hunger feelings is remembering why you’re cutting calories. Is it to get in better shape after a health scare? Are you training for some sort of competition? Whatever your reasons, reminding yourself of what motivated you to start is key to staying the course. A lot of people find success in journaling their diet journey. You can do something like that, or you can track your weight via an app every day and make a game out of it. The more that you hold yourself accountable, the less like you will be to cave when hunger comes around. You’ll be in a better position to dismiss urges and stick to your plan.
Melanotan-2 is a promising research peptide that has been shown to influence behaviors for the better. Research has shown that MT-2 promotes lean body mass, curbs hunger, and reduces compulsive behavior. In tests done on animal models, those that received MT-2 saw reductions in food preferences and fat storage. The animals that preferred fatty foods before the tests showed a decrease in how much they ate. MT-2 also mimics the effects of leptin, a hormone many scientists recognize as causing the feeling of satiety, or the feeling of being satisfied after a meal. MT-2 is not yet approved by the FDA for human use. Melanotan-2 is still undergoing more research to determine the future medical possibilities.
Eat More Protein
The foods you eat, not surprisingly, also impact how hungry you feel. Have you ever eaten something like a bag of chips or a cookie and you just had to keep eating them until you finally felt full? There are just some foods that make you feel more satisfied than others. One thing that delivers that feeling of fullness faster is protein. By eating a diet high in protein, you’re likely to feel full for longer, and you will be less prone to snacking. Eat more chicken, nuts, steak, tofu, avocados, and other foods known to have a good amount of protein. Eggs, turkey, and similar foods will help you feel satisfied for hours until it’s time for another healthy meal.
Controlling hunger is hard. There’s no magic pill that stops you from feeling hungry. Old habits die hard, and if you’ve been eating poorly for years, you’re not going to change how you feel around food overnight. Change takes patience and determination. These tips won’t make any miracles happen, but they will help you get through those times where you feel like you’re super hungry and have to have a snack. Using these helpful hints will get you through to your next meal and one more step ahead on your road to success.
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