How Do I Stop Feeling Hungry?

Hungry WomanHow do I stop feeling hungry?  Hunger is a strong desire, a craving, a need for food and describes the discomfort, weakness or pain caused by a prolonged absence or lack of food such as you will experience on a calorie controlled diet.

Hunger is also the biggest problem to sustained weight loss.  Most people can put up with it for a few weeks even months but ask anyone who has tried a conventional diet long-term and they will all agree: over time, it is impossible to endure hunger and the associated feeling of deprivation.  Not only does hunger make it virtually impossible to stick to a calorie restricted diet, throw in a large dose of exercise and 9.9 times out of ten, hunger will always win out! Worse still, give in to hunger at this point and you will find the problem goes into over drive and becomes one of over eating.  You have let yourself get too hungry and everything else goes out the window!  Been there?

Key here is the point that if you want to lose the weight and keep it off you must avoid feeling hungry.  You must keep your appetite satisfied and chose foods that will truly satisfy your hunger.  (Clue: think paleo/primal eating).  Experience shows that if you let your appetite grow and get to the point of feeling very hungry (ravenous) you are more likely to reach for carbohydrates (for sugar for starch) than to sit tight in quiet anticipation of your next meal!

So the best food group for appetite control is protein.  Eat a meal rich in protein foods and you will experience greater satisfaction over a longer period of time than a meal rich in carbohydrates.  And you will find that you eat less over time but without experiencing hunger!  It is worth taking a moment to understand the effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss.

There is no doubt that we do feel full after a carbohydrate meal but how many of us have experienced intense hunger an hour later?  It is a food’s ability to satisfy hunger over a longer period of time that counts.  This is key.  This is what our forefathers knew though of course they did not have access to the junk food and highly processed foods that pre-occupy us today.  Carbohydrates cause other difficulties for example they also disrupt our blood sugar.  Fast sugar releasing carbohydrates – that is doughnuts, milkshakes, white bread, pasta and the like cause a spike in blood sugar that prompts surges of insulin that can affect blood sugar levels driving them down: this complex hormonal response will trigger hunger and strong cravings particularly for those fast releasing carbs.  It’s a vicious circle and one to avoid!

Fat satisfies our hunger, period.  Try it and see.  It tastes good and gives texture to our meals.  However it’s true value lies in the fact that it has no effect on insulin secretion.  Let ‘s say that again.  Fat’s true value as an appetite suppressant is that it doesn’t stimulate insulin secretion and thereby avoids all the problems with plummeting blood sugar levels outlined above.  In addition, fat stimulates the secretion of the hormone cholecystokinin which slows down the rate at which the stomach empties of food and therefore helps to promote feelings of fullness for longer.  It is also impossible to over eat fat, your body doesn’t let you..don’t believe us? Try it and see.

Check out the results of this eating experiment on overweight men in 2008.  This study concludes that high-protein, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets reduce hunger and lower food intake significantly more than a high-protein, medium carohydrate non-ketogenic diet.

To manage our hunger our meals must be based on protein and fat.  Carbohydrates are not necessary in our diet but can be useful to add variety and texture to our meals.  In this way we avoid becoming hungry and we avoid situations where our ravenous hunger drives us to make poor food choices.  And this is how I stop feeling hungry.  The rest is up to you!

About Paleo Works

Paleo Works Have you ever wondered how you arrived at “being overweight” and thought how difficult it is to get rid of and keep off those excess pounds? Hi, I’m Katie and together with Mike my husband, we are Paleo Works. As a busy working mum of four, I often watched others embark on weight loss progammes only to return to their start weight (and then some) shortly after reaching their target. Why was this happening? Conventional dietary wisdom would have us believe that it’s YOU who has failed. But Mike and I thought different. We felt that there had to be something wrong with that conventional dietary wisdom after all we can’t all be hopeless? So we studied intensely, sought out advice and read avidly. We questioned robustly and talked with many on various 'dieting' regimes. What we found was radical, our story has to be told, our knowledge has to be shared. So If you are ready to stop blaming your self for being overweight and ready to change your approach to weight loss then contact us and let’s get started!

Posted on February 1, 2012, in Conventional Wisdom, Paleo Diet and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. First let me say yes I am addicted to sugar. I have known for years, but have never done anything about it. Now that I admit to it and want to change my eating habits I am having a very hard time living in the real world.
    The majority of people, everyone I know, eats what is considered bad food. I can’t give up friends and family to eat like this all the time. Any advice on how to continue living?

    • Yes and as I assume you now know we’re talking about addiction here and so you’ll be subjected to peer pressure and much of it. Don’t fret I know what your going through, it’s akin to quitting smoking or other narcotic substance. The unfortunate thing is, sugar is socially acceptable despite being responsible for more deaths than tobacco. It is all around in everything, however the good news is unlike tobacco, alcohol and the like, sugar addiction is relatively easy to combat. Cravings and come downs usually only last around a month. Stick with it and remind yourself why your doing when times get hard, keep nuts, cheese, tins of fish (though never in sunflower oil) or fruit to hand when out and about.
      Read a little more here on peer pressure:

      • Thank you for answering. It is not peer pressure, it’s how everyone eats and what we can afford. A lot cheaper to feed people pasta then salad and well, it tastes better on a cold winter day.
        I quit smoking almost 6 years ago and am now finally starting to feel better from that.
        I am trying to learn more about these kind of diets, but every one says something different. I’m cutting down on stuff I know is really bad like a bag of chips for lunch, but I don’t think I will ever be able to eat only what any of these diets say.
        I do thank you for the information and will keep reading what you are writing.

  2. I know this, but I still find it HARD to put it into practice. I find myself just thinking about sugary foods. I don’t crave bread, potatoes, crisps etc., I crave sweet stuff – any sweet stuff, even if I have just had a high protein, high fat meal with little to no carbs – I’m on a ketogenic diet and have been for a couple of months, but the sweet cravings are getting worse, not better! How on earth do you combat that, I realy would love to know?

    • Hi Lian

      Take a look at this article from our blog:

      You have had an addiction to sugar and like cigarettes, cocaine or alcohol it is going to stay with you and challenge you for some time. But…. don’t get caught up in your story! We all come with a built in reset button. Trust that a high fat, high protein ketogenic diet is giving you the physical means to combat the addiction. It may be that the hunger, the sweet cravings are prompted by deep seated habitual learned behaviour.

      Good luck, Katie 🙂

    • Wow– after a couple of months, eh? Well, Dr. Oz recommends an indulgent (Comparatively so) “Faturday” to succumb to the cravings, if you promise yourself to “be good” the rest of the week. I, too, have found that I can indulge once/week or less with apparent impunity. Perhaps you can do this to reduce the cravings. Try it and see, objectively observing yourself and your physiological and psychological response to it.

      Beginning last night and ending tonight, this is my first serious off-the-wagon in 6 months. It began with 1000 calories of chocolate and will end with brownies, pizza (whole wheat crust), and nachos. Mega carbs! Lots of contraband. But, I am bracing myself for any urges that will follow, and I know from experience that they will. I will “be good” tomorrow and beyond. I still have 60 more lbs to lose (lost 70 so far) and don’t want to quit now. I’ll be back to Paleo or Weight Agency Method tomorrow.

      • Of course everyone is free to choose what they eat, when and to what extent. However we advocate and adopt a real foods diet for many reasons, health and longevity being the primary reason, weight management being an effortless by-product of optimal nutrition comes fairly low down the list as it’s a given. Once your free of the effects of sugar addiction and begin to experience the dramatic benefits of that real foods have you will never look back. In addition processed foods (the so called treats) are the reason we have diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer. Why would you want to put yourself at such risk and feel so bad afterwards for such a small hit of sugar. Yes I remember how good they tasted, but that was when I too was addicted to sugar, though now I no longer even consider chocolate, pizza, brownies, nachos or bread as food and certainly no ‘treat’.

        • All excellent points– no argument. My focus was mainly for people who DO go to a party and indulge in the wrong foods. Too many will use this as an excuse to go off their diets, but if they get back to eating healthy right away, their indiscretion will hardly be a blip on the radar screen.

          I still look at sweets fondly, and occasionally indulge (bracing myself for the subsequent appetite increase) then go back to sensible eating. An indulgence is NOT the end of sensible, healthy, eating.

      • Wow, does that require some serious effort to eat all that and then get back on the wagon – You’re a better man that I Gungardin… Good luck with that, and I like the sound of cheat days, but don’t know if I have the courage to try them – YET…

  3. I don’t have a diet program but I do enjoy eating. i also enjoy a workout program called insanity and hip-hop abs 😉

    Thank you for sharing your blog. Absolute wonderful reading material & great information.


  4. Very interesting! I’ll have to remember this as I continue on my diet and gradually bring in other foods.

    • Sadly, so few people realize that refined carbohydrates are what not only modulate our appetites but actually ADDICT some people! If you avoid sugar– especially high fructose corn syrup– flour, rice, potatoes and corn, you will be amazed at how tame your appetite becomes. No more ravishing hunger, which was caused by plummeting blood sugar, which was driven up by the refined carbs, which addicted you in the first place. Once you make that connection and avoid the carbs, most any sensible diet (Paleo, Weight Agency, etc) will work.

  5. This makes total sense! All week I’ve waited as my hunger grew and then dived right into a bag of chocolate.

    • Carbohydrates– especially refined, high glycemic-index carbs, like sugar, flour, rice, corn, potatoes– spike the blood sugar, which releases serotonin in the brain and is actually addictive to the susceptible, just as beer or wine are to an alcoholic, while the rest of us can drink normally.

      Additionally, this blood sugar spike releases much insulin, which sequesters existing fat in the body and converts the excess carbohydrate into more fat. This insulin abundance also causes (besides increasing the chances of insulin insensitivity and diabetes) the blood sugar to plummet, and when it does, the person feels hungry again…. and soon thereafter, famished, starved, and soon ready to kill for food.

      Avoiding these carbs by following the Weight Agency Method or the Paleo Diet (and others), keeps the blood sugar levels even, changes the body’s metabolism to burn fat (lipolysis) creating ketones, which the body then uses for energy. This fat comes from our bellies, hips, etc, and maintains our blood sugar, resulting in no more craving and a very mild appetite that does not increase dramatically as before. I can get hungry at 4PM and not eat until 8PM, with only a slight increase in hunger.

      Once you recognize what these refined carbohydrates are doing to you, you will understand why you have the cravings and weight struggles that you do.

  6. Right On Paleo!

    Carbohydrates spike the bood sugar, the more refined the faster and higher the spike….. and the faster and lower the crash several hours later. When blood sugar spike, serotonin is released, which causes addiction in some. The rapidly falling blood sugar, combined with the addictive craving, is what makes us hungry… famished…. starved….ready to kill for food, all in a relatively short time. The Paleo Diet keeps the body’s blood sugar at an even keel so savage hunger does not set in as long as our bodies have fat to burn, and most of us do.

    And, we’re not even talking about the habituation to high glycemic index processed foods. Our bodies begin producing insulin on the anticipation of a meal! An obese person will actually get hungrier after beginning a meal because the body is expecting a huge, carb-laden meal.

    Avoiding this habituation and addiction to refined carbs will avoid the hunger that sabotages diets. The Paleo Diet and certain others I won’t mention (:-) ), prevent this hunger and provide healthy eating habits that can be endured for life.

    • Indeed…hunger is not a pre-requisite for weight loss! Navigate your way through the myriad of food choices out there, steer your way to the left of the processed food aisle, focus clearly on the way ahead and you are almost home 🙂

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