The hardest part of dieting is not eating! Your body gets used to the amount of food you eat. Whatever your dietary habits are, your stomach, brain, and the rest of your body become programmed to expect it. They want the same amount of calories, and when they don’t come, you start to feel those hunger pangs.
And it’s not necessarily because you’re hungry. Certainly, if you go hours and hours without food, you’re going to get hungry, but the biggest adjustment for a lot of people who start diets is overcoming the body’s behavioral response to food.
Think about it. For years, you’ve trained your body to respond to the amount of food you eat. People who are overweight can eat way too many calories without feeling full because their body has programmed responses. It converts what it needs into energy and stores the rest as fat for a future date. If suddenly, you start feeding your body less food, it says, “Hey, wait a minute! This isn’t what we are used to getting.”, and the hunger sets in.
Successful diets are made in those moments when you feel hungry and don’t respond by eating food. Certainly, there is a difference if you’re feeling hungry and it’s time to eat, but people who are serious about changing their physical condition or altering their eating habits have to train the body to respond properly.
This can be very hard. It takes work. Your body will likely need weeks to adjust to your new normal if you’re cutting calories. A lot of diets are made or broken in those first few weeks. People start exercising and dieting, but those hunger pangs can be extremely challenging to deal with. Here are some tips on what you can do to deal with hunger without eating and sabotaging your diet.
Tip 1 – Drink A Ton of Water
One of the best things you can do to deal with feelings of hunger is to drink more water. Most people, especially people who are accustomed to overeating, mistake thirst with hunger. Their body needs more fluids, not more food.
Drinking a gallon of water every day can help stop you from eating mindlessly or snacking. For many people, multiple snacks throughout the day, whether it’s a candy bar or a small bag of chips, can make or break a diet. Instead of reaching for snacks, grab a water bottle. If you aren’t used to drinking a lot of water, you can use zero-calorie flavorings to make it easier to get down.
Drinking a lot of water will also help you eat less when it’s time to eat. You’ll feel full faster. Increased water intake is also linked with a faster metabolism, and it’s good for skin health.
Tip 2 – Go to Bed Earlier
Just like people eat when they’re thirsty, they also eat when they’re feeling bored. Most of that happens at night, hours after our last meal for the day. Part of your nightly routine may be a bowl of ice cream or a bag of popcorn as you sit down with friends and family for a movie or to play some video games.
Late-night snacking can be very detrimental to physical health. Your body doesn’t have enough time in the day to burn off the calories you’re feeding it. Instead, all of that food is converted to fat while you sleep.
If you’re having a hard time not eating at night or dealing with hunger at night, try going to bed earlier! Move up your bedtime by an hour. Odds are you’ll feel better rested and have more energy. When you get better sleep, you’re also less likely to have mood swings throughout the day that can lead to stress eating.
Tip 3 – Exploring Peptides & Hunger Control
It’s hard to not eat when you’re feeling hungry. If there are things you can do to control how hungry you feel, you’ll be less likely to eat. Oxytocin is a natural protein hormone that has multiple functions. Some research indicates that oxytocin plays an important role in hunger regulation and possibly feeding behavior. Even though it’s generally regarded as a neurological hormone, researchers are increasingly expanding its scope of potential treatments.
Tip 4 – Find Other Natural Appetite Suppressants
There are things you can do to suppress your appetite and fight off hunger pangs. Eating a diet high in natural fats and protein, for example, will leave you feeling fuller for longer compared to, say, a diet of empty carbs or sugars. Eating things like dark chocolate is believed to help regulate appetite. Drinking green tea and drinks infused with ginger can also help. Some people report that drinking coffee keeps them from feeling hungry in the morning, which helps them lower their total caloric intake for the day.
Tip 5 – Exercise Before Meals
Going on a long walk or run can help keep you from snacking and sabotaging your diet. By exerting yourself, you’re giving your body the hormonal response it needs to feel satiated, so you won’t be so eager to eat a bunch of unhealthy food.
For the most part, exercising regularly helps people stick to their diets because they know how hard it is to exercise when they’re out of shape. There’s a deeper level of commitment to all aspects of health and wellness, so the inclination to have some cheesecake after an hour-long workout isn’t so strong.