How To Stop Hunger Cravings When Dieting

Is It Worth It In The Long Term

How To Control Hunger & Cravings While You Are Dieting To Lose Weight.

Visualizing the long-term consequences of snacking or otherwise indulging can help some people to curb cravings.

These consequences may include:

  • health risks
  • feeling reduced levels of energy and happiness throughout the day

This exercise can also help a person to see the big picture and remember why they are dieting or trying to restrict their intake of certain foods.

Stress can play a role in hunger cravings, and long-term stressors can cause some people to crave foods that are sugary or more calorie-dense.

Finding ways to reduce stress may help to eliminate cravings.

Simple means of reducing stress, such as taking regular breaks from work, or even taking a few deep breaths, can help the body to refocus and calm the mind.

It may also help to try mindful stress-relieving practices, such as:

  • breathing exercises

The Science Of Hunger: How To Control It And Fight Cravings

1 April 16

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, maintain weight loss or just stay healthy, at some point, you’re going to get hungry. But simply eating whenever the urge strikes isn’t always the healthiest response and that’s because hunger isn’t as straightforward as you may think.

A complex web of signals throughout the brain and body drives how and when we feel hungry. And even the question of why we feel hungry is not always simple to answer. The drive to eat comes not only from the body’s need for energy, but also a variety of cues in our environment and a pursuit of pleasure.

To help you better understand and control your hunger, Live Science talked to the researchers who have looked at hunger every which way, from the molecular signals that drive it to the psychology of cravings. Indeed, we dug into the studies that have poked and prodded hungry people to find out exactly what’s going on within their bodies. We found that fighting off that hungry feeling goes beyond eating filling foods . It also involves understanding your cravings and how to fight them, and how other lifestyle choices such as sleep, exercise and stress play a role in how the body experiences hunger.

Here is what we found about the science of hunger and how to fight it.

Jump to section:

Top 10 Ways To Deal With Hunger

Tricks to turn down your appetite

1. Bulk up your meals. There’s a lot of evidence that bulk — that is, fiber — reduces appetite. So turn up the volume with higher-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These foods also tend to have a high water content, which helps you feel full.

2. Cool off your appetite with soup. Have a bowl of broth or vegetable-based soup for a first course, and you’ll probably end up eating fewer total calories at that meal. Creamy or high-fat soups need not apply for this job — stick to the low-cal, high-fiber choices like minestrone or vegetable-bean type soups.

3. Crunch your appetite away with a big salad. One study found that when people had a large , low-calorie salad before lunch, they ate 12% fewer calories during the meal. When they had a smaller salad , they ate 7% fewer calories overall. You can make the same salads used in the study: Toss romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers together, and top with fat-free or low-fat dressing. But beware the fatty salad! Eating a high-calorie salad, even a small one, can encourage us to eat more calories at the meal than if we ate no salad at all.

4. Stay on course. A little bit of variety in our meals is good and even healthful. But having several courses during a meal can lead you down the wrong path. Adding an extra course to your meal usually increases the total calories you consume for that meal.


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Tip #: Get Enough Sleep

Being tired, cranky, and hungry all tend to go hand in hand. When you aren’t sleeping enough your body isn’t running as well as it normally would, which could cause you to store more fat and crave unhealthy foods . In addition, being sleep-deprived often means you are moving slower and get less physical activity throughout the day – causing you to burn fewer calories than when fully energized.

You should be sleeping at least seven hours a night – uninterrupted, quality sleep.

If you think trying to catch up on sleep during the weekends is going to counteract the lack of sleep you got all week long, think again! Daily rest is essential and you need a decent amount of sleep each night. Make your rest a priority. Remove distractions, like your TV, phone, or pets, and find a dark, quiet place to lay down. Use earplugs or sleep masks if needed. Your body and your mind will thank you.

Avoid Getting Too Hungry

How Do You Stop Hunger Cravings

The hungrier you get, the higher the chance that you cant fight off that intense craving. Its as simple as that. So dont look for solutions when its almost too late. Plan your meals ahead and make sure to have ahealthy snack by your side if you are prone to hunger pangs. Often it can also help to eat several small meals per day to keep your blood sugar level constant. That way you wont get sudden food cravings in the first place.

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Eating Small Frequent Meals Can Help Curb Your Appetite

When you eat small meals every few hours, it helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day. This is important since dips in your blood sugar can cause your hunger to spike. Even if you think a smaller amount of food wont be enough to hold you, the knowledge that youll be eating again in just a few hours often makes it easier to manage your hunger.

Tip #: Learn How To Meal Prep

Systematize your diet by establishing a pattern or eating routine with meal prep. Research suggests this might be is key for managing calorie control .

Planning ahead and preparing some or all of your meals in advance could be a lifesaver when it comes to staying on track with your diet. There’s nothing worse than getting hit with hunger and not having anything healthy to eat around. We’ve all been there when lunchtime rolls around, we’re starving and the only thing on hand is leftover donuts you had the willpower to avoid from the morning. As hunger creeps in and timing gets tight, it can be extremely difficult to make healthy decisions.

Meal prepping ensures you have options that fit your diet on hand when you need them. It can also help save you time and stress if you’re making most of your meals in advance. It’s a no brainier why research continues to suggest that meal planning is linked to better nutrition and more weight loss .


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Tip #: Load Up On Low Carb Veggies

Calorie control may be key to dropping a few pounds, but your body doesn’t run on calories alone – you also need good nutrition to function properly. When your diet is lacking in essential nutrients it signals to your brain to keep your hunger signals turned on so that you need to keep eating until you get the amounts you need. Eating food higher in nutrients can help you satisfy this need much sooner.

This may be why eating more nutrient-dense foods is thought to help manage appetite better 90098-8/abstract” rel=”nofollow”> 23,24,25). And the most nutrient-dense foods you can find come from non-starchy vegetables – basically all vegetables except peas, corn, and potatoes.

Veggies tend to be high in nutrition and very low in calories, giving you more bang per bite. And because they are so low in calories, loading up on veggies can help keep you satisfied and cut calories without having to sacrifice portion sizes.

Try stacking half of your plate with non-starchy veggies for automatic calorie control without going hungry.

Did You Find This Useful

How To Reduce Hunger Cravings For Weight Loss (10 SIMPLE TIPS THAT WORK) | LiveLeanTV

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  • Mathes, W. F., Brownley, K. A., Mo, X., & Bulik, C. M. . The biology of binge eating. Appetite, 52, 545553.

  • Yau, Y. H., & Potenza, M. N. . Stress and eating behaviors. Minerva endocrinologica, 38, 255267.

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    Avoid ‘diet’ Foods And Drinks With Artificial Sweeteners

    Foods made with artificial sweeteners may reduce your calorie intake when you’re eating them, but studies have linked them to consuming more calories throughout the day, says registered dietitian Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, with Balance One. Best suggests reducing or eliminating refined and artificial sugar from your diet if you are experiencing issues with overeating or cravings

    Tip #: Fill Up On High Fiber Foods

    Research also points to eating more fiber to help shed pounds .

    Certain types of fiber are digested more slowly and pull water into your gut, which can help you feel fuller longer. And other types of insoluble fiber cannot be broken down or absorbed by the body as a source of calories – this can also help keep your digestive system moving along since it tends to be pushed right out.

    To keep your hunger at bay and gut going strong, aim to eat at least 30 grams of fiber a day.

    And opt for whole food sources over supplements or added fiber ingredients. Research on added fiber for weight loss is not as convincing as fiber from foods . And naturally, fiber-rich foods also tend to be high in important nutrients. The top sources of fiber in the diet are plant-based foods, like fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

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    Hunger Your Bodys Request To Top Up The Fuel Tank

    Hunger is an extremely basic, yet very powerful, physiological signal produced by your body. It creates a strong desire to eat. As a child, when you complained about being hungry, your parents would quickly provide you with food. As an adult though, we either have no time to eat or if were conscious about lowering our body fat levels, we might think its better not to eat. Sometimes we might link eating to getting fat.

    People to train hard gym-goers and athletes, eat without getting fat. The food they consume is fuelling their muscles for their regular workouts. Problems come up when people become rushed, stressed or are on a diet and so dont take in adequate fuel. Feeling hungry can become normal.

    Technically, your body is in starvation.

    Starvation and on a diet basically mean the same thing. We might think of starvation as only a problem in third world countries who are in the grips of famine. Real starvation, however, from a physiological standpoint, is common among busy people, regular gym-goers and dieting athletes.

    Adopt A Binge Blocking Meal Plan

    Research: Frequency, not amount lowers cravings  Walking Off Pounds

    Stay satisfied all dayâand avoid cravings that lead to overeating by eating these satiating foods at mealtimes:

    • Breakfast: A glass of milk, 2 large eggs , and an apple .
    • Lunch: Eat ½ cup of chicken salad on whole-wheat bread with a glass of unsweetened iced tea and you won’t be hungry at 3 pm.
    • Dinner: Sear 4 to 8 ounces of tuna, salmon, or steak. Add a half cup of steamed broccoli for low-calorie fiber, and a glass of ice water .

    Those are basic guidelines. For specific recipes to help you build a meal plan that fights cravings, read 10 Weight Loss Dinners that Actually Satisfy, Say Dietitians.

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    Most Effective Ways To Curb Hunger Cravings When Fasting

    You know fasting is healthy. It increases your health and longevity. It will help you get past that weight loss plateau. But maybe you are struggling, you keep succumbing to hunger cravings. How can you curb hunger cravings when fasting? Find out with these 7 tips that will help you stick to fasting and reap all the benefits.

    Weight Loss Is All About Creating A Calorie Deficit Not Cutting Out Entire Food Groups Or The Latest Fad

    First off, lets talk about dealing with the constant eb and flow of weight loss diet and exercise fads. How many weight loss pills or new exercises have come and gone and maybe even caught your eye that quickly went the way of the dinosaur? Too many to count in our book.

    When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, we need to start at the root of the problem which for so many of us is our appetite. Controlling hunger and burning fat can seem like a double edged sword, and constant struggle. From limiting your diet to trying the next best thing over and over, youre probably familiar with what a balanced nutritional diet should look like. But, looking back at the food pyramid, youll notice that the key was never to remove groupings of fats, sweets, or processed foods completely.

    But rather, to use your instincts and trust yourself to give your body balanced access to all of the foods that it needs, without arbitrary restriction. Its models like the food pyramid that make it clear that weight loss is about more than denying yourself to look good. But with all of the not-so-good weight loss products laid out here, what are the kinds that do produce the results youre looking for in a natural way?

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    How To Reduce Food Cravings

    All the foods that cause cravings have several things in common:

    • They contain virtually zero nutritional value (thats why you can eat endless amounts but still not feel full upthe body, quite rightly, doesnt recognize them as food
    • They all have a dramatic effect on your blood sugar levels (they cause upward sugar spikes and downward sugar crashes your body doesnt know whether it is coming or going
    • They make you moody and angry if you want them but cant have them

    So once you understand what causes the cravings you can then act on how to curb cravings

    Learn Which Dinnerware Works For You

    How to Stop Hunger & Cravings (3 Easy Steps) | Avoid Overeating & Binge Eating Junk Food on a Diet

    You might have heard that eating from a smaller plate or using a certain size utensil can help you eat less.

    Reducing the size of your dinnerware might also help you unconsciously reduce your meal portions and consume less food without feeling deprived. When you have more on a larger plate, youre likely to eat more without realizing it (

    84 ).

    Overall, exercise appears to have a relatively positive effect on appetite for most people, but its important to note that studies have noticed a wide variability in the way individuals and their appetite respond to exercise .

    In other words, theres no guarantee the results will be the same for everyone. However, exercise has many benefits, so its a great idea to incorporate movement you enjoy into your day.


    Both aerobic and resistance exercise can help increase fullness hormones and lead to reduced hunger and calorie intake. Higher intensity activities might have the greatest effects.

    112 ).

    One animal study fed rats an herbal mix that contained ginger along with peppermint, horse gram, and whey protein. The mixture was found to help regulate appetite and induce satiety, though the results cant be attributed to the ginger alone .

    Still, more studies in humans are needed before strong conclusions about ginger and hunger can be reached .


    In addition to adding flavor and settling your stomach, ginger may help decrease feelings of hunger. Yet, more research is needed to confirm this effect.

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    Play A Game On Your Phone

    Who knew that playing a game on your phone can help reduce cravings? Whether you had a glass of water or not, its important to take your mind off the cravings for a couple of minutes. A study found that playing Tetris on your smartphone for just 3 minutes can weaken different types of cravings, including food cravings. Its too easy not to try, right?

    Physical Strategies To Stop Food Cravings

  • Eat planned meals on a schedule . Knowing ahead of time what you are going to eat and having it prepared will keep food cravings to a minimum. You can even plan a low calorie treat in your day
  • Create balanced meals that include all food groups. A food craving can come from a nutrient deficiency so keeping a variety in your diet can help make sure that your body is getting what it needs.
  • Are you thirsty? Staying hydrated is important for avoiding cravings. Drink 64+ ounces of water per day. Spice it up by adding cucumber slices, fresh fruit, or mint leaves.
  • Get enough sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation adds to the likelihood of food cravings. Instead of eating a late night snack, just go to bed.
  • Practice mindful eating. Eat without distractions like tv or iPads. Savor each bite. Pay attention to flavors, texture, and aromas.
  • Find ways to increase your serotonin naturally. Some of these would be to avoid stimulants like caffeine, getting 60 minutes plus of natural sunlight, exercise, and adequate sleep.
  • A craving can be a sign of low blood sugar. Bring your levels back up by eating a small handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.
  • Brush your teeth or gargle mouthwash. No one wants to eat over a fresh mouth!
  • Exercise! Research varies, but majority aims at 60 minutes daily of moderate exercise. Going for a walk is a great way to distract from a craving!
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