If you’re like most people, you want to lose a couple of pounds of fat, at least, maybe much more. And one of the most important steps in doing that is to create a calorie deficit—by burning more calories than you consume. So, you set your goals, pick out a diet plan, clean out the pantry, pick out healthy recipes, and fill up the fridge with vegetables. This time, you’re going to succeed! And then “it” happens, usually within days, if not hours: Hunger pangs hit…hard.
You’re starving. Next thing you know, the diet is out the door, and you’re back to eating the way you were before. Going hungry is just too hard.
You’re not alone.
It can be difficult to transform the way you eat—whether you’re jumping on the Keto bandwagon, trying a vegetarian diet, or giving the Mediterranean Diet a shot. If cutting calories wasn’t hard enough, starting a new diet can make it particularly difficult as you may not be familiar with or comfortable with what you can eat and what new foods you enjoy.
Fortunately, changing your diet and eating healthier doesn’t have to mean going hungry. Here are 7 easy tips to help you curb your hunger pangs.
Fight Off Hunger Pangs with These 7 Easy Hacks
1. Slam Some Water
It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger. If you think you’re suffering from serious hunger pangs, start off by slamming down a big ol’ glass of water. You may find you weren’t hungry after all, and you can get on with your day.
To help you stay ahead of your hunger, keep a filled water bottle with you throughout the day to sip on so you can stay properly hydrated (which supports a healthy metabolism as well—bonus!).
2. Eat Enough Protein
Protein is the most filling of the macronutrients—more satisfying than carbs and fats. So, eating a high-protein diet helps you eat less, fill up more, and control hunger.
Plus, a high-protein plan can help boost metabolic rate, increase calorie burn, improve diet quality, reduce caloric intake, and protect your hard-earned calorie-burning lean muscle.
3. Cut Back on Sugar
If you’re feeling hungry, you may reach for some quick energy—in the form of sugar. Unfortunately, energy quickly fades, and this fast-digesting, insulin-spiking, no-good “treat” leaves you feeling even more hungry than before—with hunger pangs for even more sugar. Yes, it’s a vicious cycle.
Leave it on the shelf and grab a fiber- and antioxidant-filled piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg, or some plain yogurt instead for a longer lasting energy that doesn’t leave you craving another treat.
4. Fill Up on Fiber
High-fiber foods help slow digestion, and they trigger the release of the hormones that make you feel full. Research has shown that eating an extra 14 grams of fiber per day can decrease caloric intake by 10% or more.1
What’s more, many high-fiber foods (such as vegetables, beans, seeds, and fruits) also provide loads of needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients.
5. Find Some Go-To Recipes Before You Change Your Diet
One of the reasons many dieters are left facing hunger pangs is because they don’t have a plan for when they do need an afternoon pick me up, when they’re out and about, or if they just didn’t like what was for lunch.
Before you start a new diet, give some new on-plan recipes a try and keep some of your favorites made up and ready to go so you have something you like to grab easily.
6. Take a Hike (or Hit the Gym)
According to a 2008 study, exercise may reduce hunger levels, reduce food cravings, and increase feelings of fullness.2
If after eating a meal, you still feel hungry, take a hike or do some simple exercises. This will allow your brain to catch up with your stomach and help prevent you from overeating while putting a stop to those hunger pangs.
If you want a snack because you’re hitting an afternoon energy slump, then a walk is a great alternative. Many folks find once they get back to work, they’re no longer hungry, and they feel energized and more productive for the rest of the afternoon!
7. Slow Down—Don’t Eat So Fast…
How often do you eat on the run, while sitting at the computer, or watching TV—busy and/or distracted?
Unfortunately, if you’re eating in these mindless situations (or if your mind is focused on everything else), you may not even perceive if you’re hungry or full. Slowing down your eating and staying mindful of what is on your plate not only helps conquer those hunger pangs, it helps prevent you from overeating and increases the pleasure of your meals. Now you’re feeling groovy.
Hacks to Fight Off Hunger Pangs: A Recap
While starting a new diet can be a challenge, these 7 tips will help you keep hunger pangs at bay, so you can better stick to the plan and get the results you want and deserve!