How To Curb Hunger & Not Blow Your Diet


A client of mine contacted me saying that over the last few days she had experienced strong feelings of hunger and asked why that may be the case.

So I thought I might share some of the reasons why...

When you are in a calorie deficit it will have an effect on your hormones and some of them will have a direct impact on your hunger/satiety signalling system.

However, there are other reasons why you may be hungry that are not related to calorie restriction that some of you may not think about.

1. Sleep

Lack of sleep will also have an effect on your leptin and ghrelin levels and studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep tend to feel more hungry than people who do.

2. Thirst

Hunger and thirst signals are regulated and interpreted in the same centre of your brain, the hypothalamus. And sometimes people mistakes thirst for hunger.

3. Monthly cycle

Women often experience an increase in appetite in the pre-menstrual phase (luteal phase), when progesterone levels are peaking.

When you are trying to lose body fat, being able to manage feelings of hunger becomes paramount. Otherwise, you might risk falling off track and ‘blow your diet’.

So what are some easy ways you can address hunger?

1. Eat high-volume foods

One way to help combat the hunger experienced when in a calorie restriction is to focus on high-volume, low-calorie foods. During my comp prep, I used to eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and berries. I also used diet jelly and low-calorie dairy products.


2. Include strategic refeeds and diet breaks

In addition, schedule in regular refeeds/diet breaks to help reset some of the hormonal changes seen when in a calorie deficit.

3. Try to get enough sleep

This may be easier said than done, so if getting enough hours of sleep is hard, try to ensure that the hours you do get are of good quality so that you wake up refreshed. There are some supplements and herbal supplements that you might want to look into, like ZMA.

As per usual, always make sure you consult your GP before taking any supplements.


4. Make sure you drink enough water

To avoid hunger and thirst signals being mixed up, try to ensure to drink enough water throughout the day. Diet soft drinks, tea and black coffee are also beverages that you can include that won’t contribute with calories, or if so, only a negligible amount.

5. Lock yourself in a room

When it is that time of month lock yourself in a room and put a padlock on the fridge.

Only kidding ;)

One strategy that seems to work for some women is to plan refeeds during these days, or a longer diet break. This will help with hunger, and will also help reset some of the metabolic adaptations that occur due to a calorie deficit. If you have already had your refeed days, or would like to have your diet break less frequently, focusing on less calorie dense foods and drinking plenty of water may assist.

Diet Smart. Not Hard.

Coach: Inger