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Always hungry? How to stop feeling hungry
Whether your aim is to lose weight or simply eat a healthier and more balanced diet, you might be wondering how to stop feeling hungry during your journey. This guide will teach you exactly how to stop hunger and feel super satisfied between meals whilst working towards your health goals.
The truth is, you absolutely do not need to feel hungry 24/7 in order to lose weight or because you’re dieting. By making a few nutrient-savvy diet adjustments and being a little more mindful of the types of foods you’re eating, you can put an end to insatiable hunger and carb cravings for good.
Keep on reading to find out why you might be feeling hungry all the time and how to stop feeling hungry with a nourishing, balanced and fulfilling diet.
Why do I always feel hungry?
For the most part, hunger is a simple sign that your body needs more food. However, extreme hunger could be caused by stress, an overactive thyroid, low blood sugar, mental health conditions, medication side-effects, hormonal imbalances and other underlying health conditions.
If you’re experiencing extreme physical hunger or have noticed a significant and sudden increase in your appetite, it’s worth making an appointment with your doctor to rule out any underlying causes.
But for most people, hunger is entirely normal. Your body needs food for energy, so it’s totally healthy – and nothing to worry about – if you feel hungry when you haven’t eaten for a few hours.
But if you feel hungry constantly (and have ruled out any underlying health problems) or shortly after a meal, it could be down to what you’re eating. Loading up on refined carbs and sugary foods but neglecting protein, fibre and essential fats will leave you prone to hunger pangs.
How to stop feeling hungry
The best way to stop feeling hungry and control your appetite is to eat a wide variety of nutritious whole foods.
Real food is packed with slow-digesting protein, fibre and healthy fats which will keep you fuller for longer and trigger several appetite-reducing satiety hormones, which can help to reduce your appetite. That means you’ll feel fuller for longer, with fewer calories.
It’s also important to simply ensure that you’re eating enough food for your body to function at its best, even if you’re trying to lose weight. Want to know more? Here are tips on how to stop feeling hungry – and wave goodbye to cravings once and for all!
Hunger tip 1: Eat more at mealtimes
First things first – your hunger pangs could simply be a sign that you’re not eating enough. Have you cut your calories down considerably? Do you feel tired, sluggish, cold or irritable alongside constant hunger? Your body needs food to function. Food is fuel to your body, like petrol is to a car. You need enough of it to feel and function at your best.
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating tiny meals is not the answer. You’ll end up feeling groggy, grumpy and ravenous and, long-term, it can be dangerous. Don’t over-restrict yourself. Eat until you’re comfortably full (but not stuffed) at mealtimes. This way, you’ll nourish your body with the nutrients it needs, meaning you’ll be far more likely to full and energised until your next meal – and less likely to feel hungry an hour later.
If you suspect that you might be undereating, use a calorie calculator to gain a rough estimate of what you should be aiming for. If you’re unsure or have any concerns, it’s worth asking your doctor at your next check-up or making an appointment with a nutritionist or registered dietician.
Hunger tip 2: Eat more whole foods
Ever eaten an entire pizza and felt hungry an hour later… or wondered why you felt ravenous shortly after eating a huge take out?
Processed foods are high in calories and refined carbs but low in fibre, protein and essential micronutrients. This means they’re digested quickly and therefore won’t fill you up for long. On top of this, eating processed sugary foods can cause rapid spikes, and then drops, in your blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels tell your body that it needs more food (even if it doesn’t), which can lead to hunger.
The solution? Opt for natural nourishing, whole foods as much as you can. These foods are packed with slow-digesting protein, fibre and healthy fats and provide sustained energy, whilst also providing your body with the essential micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) it needs for good health. That means you’ll feel fuller for longer and improve the overall quality of your diet, on fewer calories. Win-win.
Try to include plenty of the following whole foods in your meals:
- Fruits & vegetables
- Nuts & seeds
- Beans & legumes
- Lean meat
- Oily fish
- Full-fat dairy
Hunger tip 3: Always think thirst first
Next time you’re tempted to raid the snack drawer, ask yourself this: am I actually hungry or am I just thirsty? The part of your brain that is responsible for switching on your hunger cues is also responsible for triggering thirst, so it’s surprisingly easy to misinterpret the messages.
In fact, a 2015 study showed that those who drank a glass of water immediately before their meal ate around 600 fewer calories than those who didn’t drink any water before eating the same meal, proving just how much of an effect hydration can have on satiety.
Are you drinking at least 2 litres of fluid per day and drinking water with every meal? While caffeinated tea and coffee do count towards your fluid intake, do bear in mind that they have a mild diuretic effect, which causes your kidneys to flush out extra water from your body. It’s important to drink plenty of fresh water alongside your hot drinks.
If you feel hungry between meals, try to think thirst first. Drink a big glass of water or herbal tea and wait 20 minutes to see if the hunger subsides before digging into a snack. If you feel more satisfied, it was probably just thirst!
Hunger tip 4: Increase your protein intake
If you’re not feeling full after a good-sized meal, start by focusing on your protein intake. Protein is the most filling macronutrient, as it triggers several satiety hormones that reduce your appetite and make you feel full. It also takes more energy (calories) for your body to digest, in comparison to fats and carbohydrates.
There’s no need to start scrupulously tracking your protein intake (unless you want to!). An effective way to stop feeling hungry after meals is to ensure you include 1 or 2 palm-sized portions of protein on every plate. Here are some healthy protein sources to get you started:
- Beans & lentils
- Nuts & seeds
Hunger tip 5: Fill up on fibre-packed foods
How many times were you told as a kid to “eat your vegetables!”? Well, it turns out they were right all along. From keeping your gut healthy to aiding in digestive health, fibre has endless benefits. And eating more of this good stuff also happens to be a great way to reduce your appetite if you’re always hungry after meals.
Some types of fibre swell in your stomach when they absorb liquid; taking up space in your stomach and leading to a feeling of satiety. Plus, fibrous foods like vegetables are low in calories but packed with good-for-you nutrients, so you can really load them on your plate to add volume to your meals.
Start filling up half your plate with vegetables, especially greens. Not only will you feel satisfied for longer, but you’ll increase your meal’s dose of essential vitamins and minerals in the process! If that feels like a lot of first, try adding a side of leafy greens to your meals. They won’t require extra cooking but will provide a major fibre punch.
Hunger tip 6: Eat more healthy fats
Avoiding fats in the fear that they’ll make you fat? Fat, in moderation, won’t make you fat – if anything, it’s the opposite.
Your body needs dietary fat. It’s a major energy source and plays a role in countless bodily processes, from cell growth to hormone regulation. When it comes to stopping hunger and cravings, fat is your best friend. Like fibre and protein, it takes a while to digest; and as an added benefit, also releases several appetite-reducing hormones.
Fats are healthy but energy-dense (high in calories), so they should be consumed regularly, but in smaller quantities than protein and fibre (veggies). By adding a thumb-sized portion to every meal, you should notice that your meals feel more filling. Here are some healthy fats to consider:
- Olives/olive oil
- Oily fish
- Coconut oil
- Full fat dairy
You’ll be surprised at how much longer you’ll stay full after the craving-crushing combo of protein, fibre (veggies) and healthy fats! As a summary, here’s what you should include with every meal in order to stop feeling hungry:
Hunger tip 7: Limit refined carbs & sugar
If you’re trying to lose weight or struggle with endless hunger, refined carbs like bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, as well as processed sugary foods, should be kept to a minimum. These types of food digest quickly, leading to rapid spikes and falls in your blood sugar levels. This can leave you feeling tired, hungry and consequently craving more carbs.
You don’t need to go low-carb or no-carb to see a positive difference here. It’s more about being wary of the types of carbs you’re eating. Minimising refined carbs—and doubling-up on nutritious fibrous carbs (veggies) instead—is a winning strategy for stopping hunger. Plus, this simple swap makes maintaining a healthy weight a whole lot easier!
- Eat less: White bread, pasta, potatoes, sweets, fruit juices, pizzas, pastries, sugary snacks
- Eat more: Vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains
Hunger tip 8: Fill your cupboards with healthy snacks
Often times, cravings are psychological. If you’ve got a cupboard full of crisps, chocolate and sweets, you’re going to want to eat them. We’re all human, after all! If you can relate, use the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rule and simply stop buying unhealthy snacks altogether.
Instead, pack your cupboard with healthy snacks. This way, if you do great hungry between meals, you can at least fill up on something nutritious. The right healthy snacks will actually satisfy your hunger, rather than making the problem worse. Healthy snacks can be tasty and affordable, too! Get started with these easy low-carb snack ideas:
- Olives or pickles – pickles are high in sodium, so stick to a small portion
- Nuts or seeds – opt for a small handful of unsalted varieties
- Dark chocolate – go for 70%+ and stick to a square or two
- Plain yoghurt – mix in a spoon of Purition to ward off hunger for hours
- Half an avocado – squeeze some lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
- Veggie sticks – dip them into full-fat hummus or natural peanut butter
- Boiled egg – season with salt and pepper
- Baked tofu – cut into squares, season and spice and put in the oven until crispy
- Edamame beans – boil them and season with salt, pepper and garlic or chilli powder
Hunger tip 9: Focus on your food
Do you often eat lunch at your desk or munch away in front of the TV? These sorts of eating habits could be part of the reason why you’re always hungry.
Eating quickly, or while you’re focusing on other things, can make it more difficult for your brain to recognise that you’re full. Because you’re distracted by other things – the TV, your phone or your work – your body doesn’t actually register that you’re eating.
Plus, it’s easier to miss cues that you’ve eaten enough (or not), like seeing how much is gone from the plate or feeling that your stomach is getting full, when you’re not focused on your plate. Interestingly, in a 2013 study on distracted eating, the group that ate without television were less likely to over-eat later on.
If you’re prone to rushed or distracted meals, make an effort to set a time to eat and focus solely on eating. Even if you’ve only got 10 minutes for lunch, sit down at a table and focus on your food for those 10 minutes. When you do have the time, try to make mealtimes a real occasion. Sit comfortably, eat slowly, take small bites, enjoy the flavour and textures and you may find that you naturally stop feeling hungry after your meals.
Hunger tip 10: Cut back on alcohol
If you’ve ever had a few too many drinks before, you’ll know how hungry alcohol can make you feel. Science shows that alcohol has appetite-stimulating effects and, when consumed before or with meals, tends to increase food intake. This is because alcohol decreases the production of appetite-reducing hormones like leptin, whilst also negatively affecting your own judgment and self-control when it comes to hunger.
So what’s the answer? Well, cut back on alcohol, of course! Going teetotal is the absolute best thing you can do for your long-term health, but we know that’s easier said than done. Instead, set yourself mini goals, like only having a drink at the weekend, or having 2/3/4 fewer drinks over the course of the week. It all adds up and, over time, could seriously help you to avoid the alcohol munchies and generally feel better in yourself.
Hunger tip 11: Reduce stress
Ever heard of the phrase ‘stress eating’ or ‘comfort eating’? Yep, they’re a real thing – and they could be the driving force behind your constant hunger.
When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, known as the stress hormone, into the bloodstream. Cortisol makes you crave food – fast – because your body and brain think that you need energy/fuel to deal with the stress that you’re experiencing. The end result? A big increase in appetite and cravings for unhealthy high-sugar, high-carb foods.
If you feel that ongoing stress is affecting your quality of life or negatively affecting your health, we’d recommend speaking to your GP or seeking the help of a professional. However, there some steps you can take to manage your stress levels and, in turn, help to reduce cravings and stop hunger during stressful periods:
- Take a daily walk in the fresh air
- Do short workouts, regularly
- Take regular breaks from work
- Talk about your worries with friends and family
- Try meditation or stretching
- Dedicate some time to things you enjoy
- Be more mindful of your caffeine intake
How to stop feeling hungry with Purition
If all the talk on protein, fibre and fat has got you feeling a little overwhelmed, start with Purition. Each serving contains around 16g protein, 12g healthy fats and 6g fibre to keep your energy levels high and your appetite curbed for 4–5 hours.
Purition is an ultra-versatile breakfast, lunch or hunger-crunching snack and takes just 30 seconds or less to prepare. Here’s how:
- Shake: Blend 40g Purition with 200–250ml of your favourite milk and any added extras
- Yoghurt bowl: Mix 40g Purition into a serving of yoghurt and top with nuts and seeds
- Instant low-carb porridge: Add a splash of hot water or milk to 40g Purition and mix well
I’ve been having Purition every morning, made with almond milk and a handful of frozen berries, for 3 months now. No more indigestion, no more bloating and I don’t feel hungry until 1pm. Best breakfast solution ever!
– Sarah, Verified Purition Customer
Delicious! I’ve been using them as snacks to help me swerve unhealthy cravings, but I’ve also used them as occasional meal replacements to slim down and it’s worked a treat. Yummy, nutritious and filling – I love Purition 🙂
– Lauren, Verified Purition Customer
How to use Purition for weight loss
Easy low-carb meals
Tips to increase your protein intake
How to stop snacking
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