“Why am I so hungry all the time?” one of my girlfriends recently asked me, as she gobbled down a reduced fat muffin and sipped on a diet soda.
Being physically hungry on a diet is not unusual. It’s healthy and normal to be hungry periodically during the day, but being hungry all the time while on a diet is most likely a clue the diet you are on is not right for you!
I’m not talking about pseudo-hunger that emotional eaters feel, but true hunger. You don’t need to be uncomfortably hungry while on a diet and you don’t need diet drugs or appetite suppressant pills!
Here are the most common reasons for being physically hungry on a diet and how to make the hunger stop and shed the weight without diet drugs:
No. 1: Why am I so hungry all the time?: You are eating too many of your “diet sabotage” foods. For each body type there are different foods that can make you go off your diet faster than a Hollywood star can lose weight to fit into a size zero red carpet dress. When you just want to cave in, do you crave sugary foods, salty foods, steak, ice cream or other dairy, spicy and creamy or rich foods? Know your diet sabotage foods and stay away from them! Oftentimes eating your craving food only makes you hungrier. And remember, you don’t need too many cheat days.
No. 2: Why am I so hungry all the time?: You are snacking too often. Snacking all day doesn’t curb your hunger, it can actually make you hungry pretty much all the time. You tease yourself with a tiny amount of food and then want more. Researchers found people who purchase the portion controlled snack packs don’t eat less. They just open up several snack packs!
No. 3: Why am I so hungry all the time?: You are eating too many artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors. Does diet soda make you hungry? The kind with artifical sweetners may, yes! When I lived in another state I had a wonderful friend who used to order French fries and a Big Mac with a diet coke even though she was on a diet. “I’m so hungry. It’s the only thing that fills me up,” she would say. More than a decade later, researchers now know artificial sweeteners can mess with your brain and increase your appetite. Does diet soda make you hungry? Not if it’s Stevia soda such as Zevia or Hansen free which has been found to actually stabalize blood sugar levels.
No. 4: Why am I so hungry all the time?: You are exercising too hard for your level of fitness. Does exercise make you hungry? It can. And, yes, it’s true, exercise can make you fat if you are out of shape and responding to your increased hunger by eating. If you gradually increase your intensity, you are more likely to have less of an appetite. Once you are physically fit, really pump it up with workouts such as Insanity Workout or The Firm. Remember to take a day off once a week to rest.
No. 5: Why am I so hungry all the time?: You haven’t identified your problem foods. Problems foods are not necessarily the ones you crave, but they are the foods that make you hungrier as opposed to satisfying you. Keeping a food diary can be helpful if you write down not only what and when you eat but rate your hunger after a particular food. Do you end up eating more for the day if you have a reduced fat muffin with a lot of sugar as opposed to eggs? Are you hungrier if you eat one brand of cereal versus another?
Use the Volumetrics approach, which means eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, salads, soups and foods that fill you up but are not high in calories. Some people need a little help and, instead of turning to diet drugs, use products such as Full Bites, Full Bar or Sensa sprinkles on their foods.
Breakfast is an important meal, but everyone is different. Figure out whether you are the type of person who does better with a big breakfast such as the Reverse Diet, a small breakfast or just a breakfast about the same size as what you have for both lunch and dinner.
Remember, the clue that you are on the right track is when you are not only losing at least one or two pounds a week but doing it without physical hunger!
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