Why Am I Always Hungry? The 7 Crucial Principles Of Successful Appetite Control
Controlling your appetite is one of the biggest factors involved in getting or staying skinny. Very few people can consistently eat right if their appetite is out of control. Like an idiot, I tried to fight the hunger for years and years. I had periods of extreme self control where I would generally lose some weight and I would then have periods with less self control where I would gain. My solution was to try harder and harder to develop higher levels of self discipline, and for some reason it never crossed my mind that I could learn to control my hunger. Duh!
Instead of trying to endure through your severe hunger to lose fat, I’d recommend learning how to control your hunger. This makes the entire process a million times easier and will lead to better overall health. Now that I understand how to keep my hunger at bay, I easily keep myself at a weight that’s much lower than what I could get to before, even during periods of extreme self control. Your out of control appetite is generally evidence that something in your life isn’t as healthy as it should be. This lesson will give you the most common principles we need to follow to prevent our appetites from shifting into overdrive.
#1 – Stay Away From Refined Sugars And Grains
Eating a piece of cake for breakfast will cause most people to have an insatiable appetite all day long. This is caused by the sugar and refined grains of the cake causing a blood sugar spike. This leads to unsteady blood sugar levels throughout the day which are the leading cause of loss of appetite control.
The problem for most people is that eating most cereals causes the same blood sugar spike. Most cereals have the same ingredients as a piece of cake – refined grains and sugars. Since most of us aren’t aware of this problem, we eat ‘healthy’ cereal for breakfast while wondering why our appetites are out of control all day.
Eating cereal or other sweetened foods for breakfast will make eating healthier a lot more difficult. Try substituting an omelette with vegetables and you’ll see a huge difference in the amount of hunger you’ll feel throughout the day. Another solid substitute is oatmeal sweetened with stevia, agave, or fresh fruit.
Some people report that they experience severe hunger within one hour of eating a meal (often a large meal). This happens when the meal creates a high sugar spike. Your body will deal with this high sugar spike by releasing insulin which will lower your blood sugar. In some individuals, their bodies release too much insulin, creating blood sugar levels that are TOO low. In these cases, the individual will experience hunger because the body needs to raise its blood sugar to comfortable levels. This phenomenon is called carbohydrate addiction.
The best way to deal with carbohydrate addiction is by eating foods that won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. By keeping an even level of blood sugar, you will experience far less hunger – I rarely feel hungry when my eating is ‘right’.
#2 – Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fat is extremely effective at helping you to control your appetite and the lack of healthy fat in your diet will be catastrophic. So many ‘diet foods’ lack healthy fat and this causes an onslaught of health and appetite control issues.
I personally resisted eating healthy fats for years and my reasoning was simple. Fats are high in calories, measuring in at a whopping 9 calories per gram. I thought that without the fat, I could eat more food while eating the same amount of calories. While I was doing this, I found it almost impossible to maintain my weight – I was always hungry. My body constantly wanted more food. I later discovered that the lack of fat in my diet was the cause of the problem.
Healthy fat added to a meal helps you out in a variety of ways. First, it helps to slow down the digestive process of the carbs you eat it with. This means that a plain piece of toast will digest much more quickly than a piece of toast with real butter. The butter helps to slow down the process. This is helpful because of its effectiveness in lowering the blood sugar spikes associated with eating grains. On top of that, your body needs them to produce hormones that are associated with weight control.
I started reading about the benefits of healthy fats but I resisted implementing them into my diet for years. I finally gave in and conducted an experiment. I decided to add healthy fat to every meal and recorded my weight and fat levels. To my surprise, I experienced far less hunger while adding healthy fats to my meals, maintained muscle more easily, had better workouts, and lost fat more easily. It was honestly a HUGE breakthrough for me.
#3 – Eat Enough Carbohydrates (Without Eating Too Many)
Thanks to the low carb craze, many people now believe that they need to ditch the carbs entirely (or drop them to excessively low levels) to lose weight effectively. The biggest problem with low carb dieting in my opinion is that it works – for a while. People step on the scale and see results when they go on low carb diets. Unfortunately this weight loss is unsustainable.
I have always tested my body a lot when I have tried different ways of dropping pounds and I can tell you that for me, it isn’t possible to lose weight on a low carb diet without sacrificing loads of muscle. I have eaten as many as 3000 calories per day while low carb dieting and I still lose muscle, even at those high calorie levels. This happens because my workouts are honestly terrible when I don’t eat carbs. I can’t lift weights to save my life when my body is in this state and each time I try, I have less energy and strength than I did during my previous lifting session. I also struggle in a huge way to run or do any other form of cardio while in this state.
When you are losing muscle mass, you are crippling your ability to lose fat. As your muscle levels drop, so does your metabolism. This means that you will need to eat less and less food to continue losing weight and this means you will become more and more hungry.
I have found that I can eat as many as six servings of whole grains per day without gaining fat as long as I add healthy fat to each serving at the time I eat it (real butter is my fat of choice, but peanut butter would also be great). I feel great with each workout at this level and don’t feel hungry. Since I don’t lose muscle, I don’t increase the likelihood that hunger will eventually catch up to me.
If you eat too many servings of carbohydrates (even whole grains), you will start having appetite control issues and will also probably start gaining weight. Even whole grains in large quantities will cause blood sugar to spike and this is disastrous for appetite control. Each person is of course quite different in their tolerance of these foods and you would need to test your body to know exactly what your level of tolerance is.
#4 – Eat Regular Meals And Snacks
Every time you skip a meal, you lower your metabolism and mess up your blood sugar levels. Not only does this make it a LOT harder to control your appetite throughout the day, it makes you gain fat when you do eat.
Maintaining steady blood sugar levels is crucial if you want to control your hunger and skipping meals destroys blood sugar balance.
Skipping breakfast is a cardinal sin for controlling hunger. It puts your body into starvation mode each time you do it and will surely catch up to you at some point in the day. Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast will help you to keep your blood sugar even and in the state you need it to be in for maximum appetite control.
Contrary to what many health gurus would tell you, I wouldn’t eat six meals per day. I only eat three, but I do eat as many as three additional snacks each day. I stick to fruits and vegetables when I snack – usually fruits. Fruits do have some sugar but its fructose, which is a slowly digested sugar that doesn’t spike your blood sugar. If you want to test this, try eating an apple three times per day in between meals. You’ll find that it helps you to control your appetite – it won’t stimulate it. If you want an alternate test that will further prove this theory, substitute candy bars for the apples as your snacks in between meals. You will find that your appetite is completely out of control if you do.
As you pay more attention to the frequency of your meals and snacks, you will be able to see that going 4+ hours without a meal or snack will cause you to feel a lot more hungry. This is because your blood sugar is dropping too low and your body is trying to deal with this. If you’re eating and snacking at the right frequency throughout the day you will rarely feel hunger at all, as long as you eat the right foods for your snacks and meals. I usually have a snack around three hours after a meal, and usually have a meal two hours after a snack. This of course varies some each day because of ‘scheduling conflicts’.
#5 – Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Dehydration often causes our bodies to feel hungry because our bodies can get water from the foods we eat. You will of course first generally feel thirsty but many of us have trained ourselves to shake off the ‘thirsty’ feeling. If your body can’t get you to drink through thirst, it will try to get you to consume food water through hunger. Drinking plenty of fluids obviously will help a lot with this issue. I would recommend drinking twice as much water as you do now, just to see how much it helps with your appetite control.
Caffeinated drinks can add to this factor because they contribute to dehydration. If you insist on drinking beverages that contain caffeine, make sure that you drink extra water.
#6 – Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods contribute in a huge way to unsuccessful appetite control. When you eat something that your body doesn’t recognize as food, it will stimulate your appetite. Hunger is an extremely developed survival mechanism that our bodies use to make sure we get the nutrients and sustenance we need. Processed foods are often not recognized by our bodies as food but this doesn’t mean that our bodies don’t absorb the calories. Our bodies often absorb the calories AND believe that we didn’t eat real food. Obviously this is a huge issue.
I could go on for days talking about foods that are dangerous in this aspect. Here are a few examples:
- Manufactured oils such as canola oil and other vegetable oils.
- Many protein and energy bars and shakes
- Artificially sweetened foods
- Prepackaged meals
- Fast food and some other restaurant food
Fast food is devastating if you’re trying to control your hunger, for quite a few different reasons. Not only is fast food RIDICULOUSLY processed, it almost always contains refined sugars and/or grains. It’s also insanely high in calories and in manufactured oils. Yikes…
#7 – Avoid Undereating
Your body needs nutrients and calories to survive. Hunger is the mechanism that’s used to make sure that your body gets the nutrients it needs. When you don’t give your body what it needs, it will inevitably freak out.
People try all kinds of schemes to go without food. Some try diet pills or medications that suppress the appetite. Others drink ridiculous amounts of water, trying to trick their bodies into believing that they’re full. None of these methods will work in the long term.
Most people understand that they need to eat in order to keep from getting hungry, but lack the consistency needed. They will really under-eat during certain parts of the day (usually early in the day) and they will then overeat during other parts of the day (usually later at night). They fail to realize that the overeating is caused by not eating enough calories during the day. You should be eating your calories evenly throughout the day, or you should be eating more calories earlier in the day.
Under-Eating A Specific MacroNutrient
While some people eat enough calories during a given day, they don’t eat enough of a certain type of food. Fat seems to be the most common type of food that people refrain from eating. This causes a variety of health problems no matter which major macro nutrient you aren’t eating and will contribute to your hunger. Our bodies need proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to survive and not eating any of the three will lead to hunger issues. If your body isn’t getting enough fat, for example, it will stimulate your appetite, hoping that fat will be consumed with your next meal, even in situations where you’ve overeating that day.
Balanced, healthy eating while drinking plenty of fluids is extremely effective in controlling hunger. Unfortunately, most people are at least somewhat misguided in what ‘healthy eating’ entails. If you aren’t eating significant amounts of all the foods your body needs, you will have a difficult time controlling your appetite. Eating the right healthy foods with enough frequency while avoiding the wrong foods will cure almost anyone’s problems with being overly hungry.
- Appetite Control – The First Pillar Of Fat Loss
- How To Control Weight The Healthy Way
- How To Decrease Appetite – 7 Ways
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