The Struggle with Hunger When Losing Weight
Last updated: June 2023
Have you ever noticed an increase in hunger when you are trying to diet? Some may think, “well of course I am hungry because I am eating less.” Others may feel that this is something they will only have to deal with in the short-term because once they have lost the weight their body will readjust.
A study done on 35 obese adults attempting to lose weight over a two-year period found that while calorie intake decreased, feelings of hunger and fullness actually increased during those two years. The hormone levels were measured before and after meals during these two years and showed that fullness was achieved, but physically the patients did not feel it. They were able to keep the weight off over the two years but continued to struggle with the feelings of hunger. The study concluded that obese patients undergoing weight loss will most likely have to deal with feelings of hunger for the long term. So how can you battle hunger? Here are a few tips to keep the stomach happy while the pounds are shed.1
Choose more fiber
Fiber is an important part of all diets. It helps us stay fuller longer due to the increased time it takes for the body to break it down. It also helps keep us regular and promotes good bowel health. Some examples of ways to add fiber into your diet are:
Try to load your plate up with as many non-starchy vegetables as you can. Large salads are a great way to eat low calorie and still feel full.
Make sure what grain-based carbohydrates you do eat are whole grain. Whole grains have not been refined to remove their most fibrous parts.
Choose brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa and farro for your grains. These are all loaded with fiber and will keep you satisfied longer than plain white rice or pasta.
Although they contain carbohydrates, beans are loaded with fiber. A quarter cup of black beans contains more than 7 grams of fiber.
Eat your protein
Protein also takes longer to break down in the body leaving you more satisfied than if you ate a meal without it. Some great protein options are eggs, cheese, nut butters, fish, lean beef, turkey or chicken. Try adding one or more to all meals to keep you satiated.
Use a small plate
Loading a small plate so that it looks like it is heaping may trick your brain into thinking you are eating more than you actually do. No seconds needed!
Tips to remember
- Feelings of hunger may remain long term after weight loss
- Increase fiber, protein, healthy fats
- Use smaller dishes to make your meal seem bigger
- Speak with your physician if you have specific questions about a weight loss plan
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