Hunger is a natural response for the body in a calorie-deprived diet during a weight loss program. A bit of hunger on a weight loss program is normal and sometimes simply needs to be tolerated.

Being hungry is actually not just about the stomach being empty. It has a lot to do with the various hormones produced by the body:

  • Leptin – Secreted by your fat cells. Increase in  Leptin level reduce hunger
  • Ghrelin – Secreted by the stomach lining and it stimulates hunger
  • Cholecystokinin – Secreted by the small intestine. It acts as a hunger suppressor
  • PPY3-36 – Secreted by the large intestine. Slows down gastric emptying and increase digestion efficiency.

All these hormones play a part in controlling hunger. They interact with the brain and tell the body to increase appetite. That is why it is better to go slow with diet rather than a drastically calorie reduced diet.

Here are 10 ways you can do to control hunger:

1) Eat Lean Protein

Lean protein suppresses appetite.  A study from the University of Washington School of Medicine showed that by reducing carbohydrate and replacing it with protein and increasing the protein from 15% to 30% in the diet improve weight loss. This is due to increasing leptin sensitivity and reducing appetite. Therefore, you should eat lean protein in every meal.

2) Eat Breakfast

Skipping breakfast correlates to late day hunger and bingeing. You will tend to feel hungry throughout the day and overeat to satisfy the constant hunger.

3) Eat Many Small Meals

Eating small meals throughout the day is better than eating 3 large meals. It keeps hunger at bay and increases the metabolic rate, which helps to burn fat. Of course, you should eat the right food and not on high calorie snacks. Apples and other fruits, nuts, carrot and celery sticks are good alternatives.

4) Avoid Very Low Fat Diets

A non-fat diet increases hunger. Eating fat do slow down gastric emptying and helps to even out blood sugar by providing a mixed meal which is not purely carbohydrate. Eating fat also provides a psychological satisfaction and satiety to a meal. Of course, you should choose the healthy fats such as Omega-3 rather than saturated fat. You can get healthy fats from nuts and seeds.

5) Eat More Fiber

Fiber forms bulk to your meal without giving you large amount of calories. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes are good examples of fiber rich food. You should target for 25%-35% of fiber a day. Fiber is a good substitute when you are reducing carbohydrates in your diet.

6) Drink Plenty of Water

Water fills up the stomach and satisfies the psychological need to eat something. It also hydrates the body. When your body is dehydrated, it can trigger hunger. Drinking 2 liters of water can burn 96 calories.

7) Allow a Free Meal Sometimes

Who says you have to stay in a calorie deficit diet 100% of the time? Give yourself a free meal once in a while. This will satisfy your cravings and you are more likely to tolerate hunger and deprivation better.

8) Exercise

Exercises actually decrease appetite. It trains your body to be tougher and you are more likely to stick to the weight loss program closely.

9) Sleep

A study from the University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin showed that sleep deprivation increases Ghrelin level in the blood that increases hunger.

10) Keep Alcohol To Minimum

Research has shown that alcohol can distort your body’s perception of hunger, satiety and fullness. Men have shown to be more prone to eating and drinking more with alcohol than women.

Follow these 10 strategies in controlling hunger during your weight loss program and you are well on your way to success.

Do you have other strategies to control hunger? Do share it in the comment box below.

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