There are manifold annoyances of dieting but hunger can challenge your patience and sanity nearly beyond tolerance. It makes adherence to a diet less likely which is a big fucking problem because, as you may recall from this article, adherence is the most critical factor in losing weight.
I’m a 200-pound dude who can lose weight by eating 2,700 kcal/day and so hunger when dieting isn’t an issue for me. But some people are more prone to hunger than others. If that’s you, here are seven strategies to minimize hunger on a diet.
1. Don’t lose weight too fast
Weight loss rate of 0.5-1% body weight per week is probably going to be best under most circumstances. Yes yes, I know — you want to lose like halfa trillion pounds of weight per week but you will have to deal with the 0.5-1% recommendation. As you get closer to seeing abs, go with the lower end of the range.
Ignore the advice and not only will you feel immoderately peckish but you also risk muscle loss which, as I said in this article, is a pretty good indicator of a subsequent body fat overshoot (weight regain).
2. Choose higher volume food options
After eating a meal, satiety can be signaled to your nervous system by calorie amount and the degree of tissue stretching in the stomach (The Renaissance Diet 2.0 book, 2020). So it makes sense to eat more of these…
Rather than these…
Basically, your diet should revolve around higher-volume foods. Not only do they tend to be more filling but also less calorically dense thus, more conducive to weight loss.
This may sound awfully stupid but what I’m trying to say is that you need to eat less junk and more whole foods [insert ‘well duh’ here].
3. Eat less hyper-palatable foods
Another reason why you need to eat less junk and more whole foods is that the former tend to be hyper-palatable. A combination of fat, simple sugars and sodium has been directly implicated in enhancing food palatability which makes food taste awesome. The result? You want to eat more of it.
Hyper-palatable food also tends to be calorie dense and assuming you don’t eat it until it starts to come out of your ears, these foods will leave you feeling unsatisfied.
So less of these (‘less’ doesn’t mean ‘eliminate completely’ becuz flexible eating, remember?):
And more of these:
4. Bias meal timing
Hunger goes up and down throughout the day. For example, some people are less hungry in the morning, and pushing the first meal later in the day could be a good way to minimize hunger in the evening. So if your hunger varies throughout the day, try biasing your meal timing.
5. Increase protein intake
The evidence shows that protein is generally more satiating than carbs or fats per gram. So if you’re not consuming the recommended protein intake, for the resistance training population it’s 1.6-2.2 g/kg of BW or 0.7-1 g/lb of BW, you’re probably not optimizing your diet. Not to mention that protein also helps to maintain muscle mass when dieting.
So, more of these, please:
6. Don’t drink calories
If you drink an intemperate amount of beer, coke, and juices, don’t DM me on Instagram and ask me hey, Egis, can you tell me why I feel so freakn hungry to the point that I end up overdosing on Ben & Jerry’s every other night?
It’s because you drink too many calories and that, my dear reader friend, should be avoided when on a diet. This goes not only for alcohol, coke, and juices but also the so-called ‘healthy’ smoothies and powdered ‘greens.’
In my world, if you drink calories while dieting, you’re five IQ points short of a moron.
7. Get enough sleep (sorry new parents)
A new parent + a newborn baby = holy Jesus fuckfarts, I want to sleep so bad. So new parents get a pass for a few years. Everyone else should find a way to sleep at least seven hours every night because a lack of sleep makes weight loss, which includes hunger control, considerably more difficult.
A 2021 systematic review of 50 clinical trials concluded:
I don’t care how well you sleep but if you sleep five or six hours consistently, you will not make good decisions when it comes to eating. When you’re tired, your hunger and fullness signals are probably off.
So if your goal is to lose weight in a more enjoyable way, prioritizing sleep is essential.
These seven strategies to minimize hunger on a diet can be beneficial but… you’re still going to be hungry. And that’s fine because hunger is a normal part of weight loss. Being a little hungry is a good sign because it means you’re in a calorie deficit.
Now excuse me — I need to go to sleep because it’s 2 am and I need to get my five hours of sleep. Why do I sleep five hours when I just said you should get at least seven? Well, because if you’re stupid, you do things that you shouldn’t do. Actually, I just made that last part up. It’s 7:30 in the morning and I just had my seven and a half hours of sleep.
P.S. If you’d like me to walk you through the process of setting up a fat loss plan that’s actually sustainable long-term, check out my 1×1 Coaching Program.
Originally published by me on Medium on August 24, 2022