The #1 Challenge People Face When Losing Weight Is An Inability To Control Hunger. If You Have Trouble Sticking To Your Diet, You'll Want To Read This...
Are you finding it almost impossible to control hunger and stick to your diet?
Is willpower fading, and the urge to constantly eat, taking over every waking moment?
In this article, you'll discover why internal and external food cues are potentially ruining your efforts to lose weight.
But there's good news!
Because the vast majority of these cues are within your control. And I'm going to give proven solutions to help control hunger, for good. After you've read this article you'll be more confident in managing your diet and have the tools to successfully lose weight.
So, if you want to finally control your hunger and not let thoughts of food haunt you incessantly, read on.
And if you'd prefer to listen to the audio version of "How To Control Hunger For Weight Loss", click the play button below.
Why You're Struggling To Control Your Hunger
Trying to control hunger in a calorie deficit can feel like a constant challenge. It's as if you're constantly fighting against your mind and body.
One minute your belly is rumbling so loud it sounds like a washing machine, filled with bricks, on spin cycle. And the next minute, your brain is telling you it's time to eat, despite having only eaten 5 minutes ago.
Not only that, everywhere you turn, food temptation surrounds you. Whether it's Sandra from work offering you delicious frosted muffins she so loving baked last night, or the smell of your favourite treats in the canteen, you're bombarding with signals to eat.
Not exactly the recipe to make dieting easy, right?
What you're experiencing are intrinsic and extrinsic hunger cues. We all have them. And all of us try to manage them (most of the time unsuccessfully). So if your goal is to control hunger, understanding these hunger cues might be the secret to dieting success you've been missing.
Hunger cues appear throughout daily life, via "The Hunger Loop". Understanding how this Hunger Loop works will help you control hunger and successfully lose weight.
So let's get started by delving into your intrinsic drive to eat.
The Internal Cues Impacting Your Ability To Control Hunger
Your body doesn't want to lose body fat. Through years of evolution, the human form has developed into a complex and brilliant machine for survival.
Without you realising, your body is working to maintain balance (or homeostasis). And hormones play a vital role in this. In relation to hunger, Ghrelin and Leptin are the hormones predominantly influencing your hunger drive.
Ghrelin, typically referred to as the 'hunger hormone', regulates appetite. The more Ghrelin released by the body, the more hungry you'll feel.
Leptin controls satiety, or feelings of fullness. When Leptin increases you feel full and have less intrinsic urge to eat more.
When you create a calorie deficit, your body may start to increase Ghrelin in order to get you to eat. And, as you're eating less, Leptin may be lower, leaving you feeling less full. This perfect storm of hormone changes is what you're fighting against.
So, when the goal is to control hunger, it makes sense to try and decrease Ghrelin while simultaneously increasing Leptin.
Control Hormones To Control Hunger?
Undoubtedly, you've heard about (or maybe even tried) hormone diets. Nutrition "Gurus" promising to control and optimise your hormones through their special diet, to help you lose more weight than ever before.
But the truth is that you can't do very much to manipulate hormones, beyond making better nutrition and lifestyle choices. There is no miracle hormone diet.
After a night of bad sleep, you feel hungry all day and have the urge to eat anything in sight. This is partially as a result of hormonal changes happening in your body.
So that's Ghrelin, what about Leptin?
One simple strategy to help manage Leptin is to eat more satiating foods. Opting for foods that are nutrient-dense and low calorie, such as vegetables, fruit, and lean protein, allows you to eat more and increase feelings of fullness, thereby helping you better control hunger.
These are just two simple strategies you can use, and there are more. You can click here to download my free 30 Day Lean Life Kickstarter Pack, in which I'll send you a guide on how to control cravings and hunger through 6 simple techniques.
You can also listen to this interview with Dr. Stephan Guyenet, author of the book, "The Hungry Brain". In it, Stephan goes into more detail about the reasons you overeat.
The External Cues You Need To Master If You Want To Control Hunger
In reality, you have the greatest control over external food cues. Mastering the things you can directly influence will be the difference-maker when it comes to trying to control hunger.
Ideally, you need to assess which external cues affect you the most , then make lifestyle and diet adjustments to work in your favour.
These external cues materialise within the Hunger Loop, which has 3 distinct phases:
Let's look at each one in turn to discover how to better control your hunger.
The Hunger Loop: Stage 1 - The Urge
Your desire to eat is "The Urge". Think of this like the Bat Signal being shone into the night sky. The call telling you to go eat your bodyweight in chocolate and pizza.
The changes in hunger hormones are intrinsic cues, but there are many external cues also influencing your decisions to eat.
For example, it may be a force of habit, "I always eat at this time."
Do you have set times when you eat during the day, regardless of whether or not you feel hungry? Or do you simply have a habit of grazing on snacks throughout the day? Again, you might not even be hungry, but it's what you've always done.
Can you change this? Disrupting or adjusting your meal pattern may help. Becoming more aware and in-tune with your internal hunger cues may help you avoid mindless eating.
Another example of an external cue is Food Visibility. Does the mere sight of food cause you to want to eat? The sight of Sandra's cakes, cooking programmes on the TV, or even the smell of freshly baked bread in the supermarket, are all external cues impacting your ability to control hunger.
So stop and assess if you see any patterns or vulnerabilities in your day-to-day life. What can you control and adjust to better manage your urge to eat?
The Hunger Loop: Stage 2 - The Planning
Once you've made the decision to eat, you move on to the planning phase. Essentially, this is where you decide what and how to eat. And this can have a significant influence on your innate ability to manage hunger.
For example, if you don't put any thought into what you're going to eat, you may end up choosing something energy-dense that doesn't hit the mark when it comes to hunger. Although, it may very well taste really fucking good.
But planning doesn't only come down to what you eat. There are other external cues within your control. Here's a few to think about.
Habits And Societal Norms
The size of the plate you use may have a small influence on how much you eat. If you have a bigger plate, will you be tempted to pile it high, so your portion looks adequate?
On top of this, the societal norm in the West is to "clear your plate". Something I was always taught as a child. In fact, in my house, you didn't get to leave the table until you'd eaten EVERYTHING. This might result in an ingrained behaviour that means you habitually eat beyond fullness.
So is there a way you can change this? Think about ways to develop good habits around meal times.
Packaging And Portion Sizes
Packaging and portion suggestions can also influence how much you plan to eat. Typically, food packaging has suggested serving sizes. These can be a doubled-edged sword, as they may cause you to eat more than is necessary to control hunger. Likewise, they may be too small and leave you unsatisfied. Ultimately, you need to find the balance that works for you.
However brief this planning stage is, think about the food choices you're making and if they will help or hinder your hunger drive. Also, pay attention to portion sizes, making sure you strike the balance between satisfied and stuffed.
And if you're someone who's frequently found working their way through a family-sized bag of nuts or an entire tube of Pringles, consider portioning these snacks into smaller packages to help control your own servings sizes.
The Hunger Loop: Stage 3 - The Eating
This is the part of the process you have down to a fine art. But are your eating patterns and behaviours your biggest downfall when it comes to trying to control hunger?
Highly Palatable Foods
Highly palatable foods (ie food that tastes good) are easy to overeat, if not controlled in some way. Processed snack foods and takeaways aren't inherently "bad", but when it comes to controlling hunger, they might not be the best choices. Instead, fill your diet with nutritious whole foods at least 80% of the time. So if you're eating 2,000 calories per day, at least 1,600 of those calories should come from fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and fish (depending on your food preferences).
And for more information on food palatability and satiety, you can download a Free Guide To Calories, by clicking here.
Having a wide range of foods in your diet is a great thing. Basing your diet on inclusion, not exclusion certainly creates a healthy relationship with food. However, in certain situations it can be beneficial to limit food variety, particularly when trying to control hunger. Let's use a bowl of rice as an example.
Imagine you have a bottomless bowl of plain white rice in front of you. And you can eat as much as you want. After a while the taste gets a little dull and you'll probably have had enough.
But what if the same bowl of rice was then smothered in your favourite sauce? Could you eat a bit more? I think you could...
Adding differing flavours could make food more appealing and result in you eating more than you otherwise would.
In modern-day life you rarely have 5 minutes without some form of distraction. And often you'll spend meal times eating at your desk, on the move, in front of the TV, surfing social media, or possibly more than one of those things at the same time.
These constant distractions can lead to rapid consumption of food, which in turn could lead to less feelings of fullness.
You also might experience a degree of social and peer pressure. When you're out for dinner with friends, they might chow down on their food like a hungry wolf, and guzzle drinks like they've spent 3 days in the Sahara without water. Consequently, you feel the need to keep up. Potentially, causing you to consume more calories than you planned and not leaving you feeling full either.
Tips For Eating And Better Hunger Control
If your goal is to control hunger, here's the main things to focus on when it comes to eating:
- Reduce the consumption of highly palatable foods.
- Reduce food variety.
- Obtain 80% of your calories from nutrient-dense, whole foods.
- Eat without distraction and take c.20 minutes to consume your meals.
- Eat a high protein diet to help increase satiety and control hunger.
- Reduce liquid calories to increase feelings of fullness.
The Bottom Line On How To Control Hunger For Weight Loss
Trying to control hunger and stick to your diet for the long-term is HARD! But it's not impossible. Becoming aware of, and managing, external food cues will help you better control hunger and finally achieve the body you've been striving for.
The skill of being able to control hunger might feel as challenging as mastering Jedi powers. Thankfully, it's easier than lifting rocks, droids, and x-wings with your mind. In fact, with a little forethought, keeping hunger at bay will become something you rarely have to think about.
First you need to understand the "Hunger Loop" laid out in this article. Once you know the detail of these stages, you can identify your weak points, make lifestyle adjustments, and better control hunger in the future.
Your goal should be to create and environment where internal and external food cues are not overpowering you. And this is done through the habits and food choices you make. As you begin to control these aspects of your diet, your urge to continuously eat will be reduced.
Although, always remind yourself this process will take time. It took time for Luke to master his Jedi skills, and it's going to take time for you to master your hunger as well. Sadly, there are no Jedi mind tricks I can use to make miracles happen overnight. So commit to learning and adjusting to the inevitable mistakes and slip ups.
Only then will you become a true fat loss Jedi.
Here's What To Do Next After Learning How To Control Hunger
After reading this article, you might be excited at the prospect of transforming your physique.
Through my online coaching programme, The Lean Life Method, I'll help you lose fat, build muscle, and achieve the body you've been striving for. Ultimately, taking the guesswork out of training and nutrition so you can live a leaner, healthier life for good.
With The Lean Life Method, you’ll learn a simple, stress-free way to achieve your fitness goals and feel more confident and healthy than ever before, without torturing yourself in the gym, avoiding wine and pizza, or killing your social life in the process.
And I understand the fact you're unsure about coaching. After all, you've spent thousands on pills, powders, and programmes that delivered nothing. So what's different about me?
The simple truth is this... I get results. And I'll teach you everything you need to know, so you can maintain those results. So answer me this.
- How much precious time are you spending trying to figure out what's right, instead of making progress?
- Are you sick and tired of never seeing the results your hard effort deserves?
- How much stress and frustration is your lack of progress adding to your life?
A lack of clarity might be holding you back from living the leaner, healthier life you deserve.
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But for now, all I’ll say is, keep living the Lean Life. And I’ll see you soon.