Blog - The Top Eight Ways to Work Through Feelings of Hunger
You might be clicking on this article to read post-breakfast and hunger isn't an issue for you at this precise moment in time – or maybe you've decided to Google hunger and how to cope with it and this blog caught your eye.
Whatever brings you here, I have this to say about hunger, first of all: Hunger is not a bad thing.
Hunger – the Big Bad Bogeyman?
I know, you read that right. When I started out on my own health and fitness journey, there were plenty of experts who advocated how important it was that you just didn't go hungry. Yup, hunger was the big bad bogey man to be avoided at all costs, so there were many diet plans out there which included snacks, eating regimes which involved eating six or more times a day and lots of dire warnings about what would happens if you skipped meals:
- your metabolism would go into meltdown and from there on in you would gain weight simply by looking at food
- you would faint
- you would end the day crawling on the floor because you had no energy left
- your hunger would build to an out-of-control level which would eventually end with you face-down in cheesecake
In the last few years, there has been a huge explosion of interest in intermittent fasting. The research which has accompanied this interest has proved that going without food for short periods on an irregular basis doesn't ruin your metabolism, doesn't cause drastic losses of energy and doesn't necessarily lead to bingeing so hunger isn't that bad a bogeyman.
I'm not telling you that you should fast intermittently but I think the lessons learned from the research about intermittent fasting are ones you can take into your daily life and if you are trying to cut down on what you eat so that you can lose weight and body fat. So here are my Top Eight Tips for Dealing with Hunger:
1. Know that hunger will pass – it doesn't build up from 1-10, it comes and goes in waves so find something to distract you and hunger will pass.
2. Drink water. This is an oldie, but a goodie. Drinking water will fill you up, albeit temporarily, but it can help and it's also a useful technique before eating a meal to stop you from over-eating.
3. Be busy. The reason why many people start diets on a Monday, rather than say, during the weekend, is because they are more likely to be working/busy on a Monday and there are therefore many more things to think about than food.
4. Do some exercise. Exercise diverts blood from the digestive system to the muscles you are using and it therefore suppresses hunger naturally.
5. Eat protein at meals. If you ensure your meals include plenty of protein (a salad with plenty of chicken, lots of raw veg and a few beans for example), you are less likely to feel hungry as the day goes on because protein stays in your digestive system longer
6. Read fitness and exercise blogs. Like mine for instance… Reading about health and fitness often acts as a good motivator for dealing with temptation to binge eat.
7. Phone a friend. I know, this is an oldie too, but if you phone your friend, it's likely you can have a non-food type conversation. Dissect your mutual friend's relationship, discuss your career choices, mention what you're doing for the weekend and hey – an hour has passed and you haven't thought about food.
8. General protein recommendations aside, certain foods work really well at keeping you feeling full for longer. I recommend fish, home-made soups using beans and vegetables, eggs, large side helpings of broccoli or kale, and apples and oranges.
So there we go, my ways of dealing with hunger. What do you think? I'd love to know so please share with me what works for you and feel free to add to the list of really filling foods.