Hunger is a primal sensation, signaling our body’s need for nourishment. Hormones play a crucial role in regulating our feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin makes us feel hungry and leptin makes us feel full.

However, dieting can disturb this delicate hormonal balance. Weight loss triggers changes in the regulation of appetite hormones. Altering our diet during weight loss can disrupt the normal function of these appetite-regulating hormones.

Feeling hungry can be a natural part of the weight loss journey, indicating that your body is adjusting to a calorie deficit. But if the hunger is always there, it’s distracting, and you’re finding that it’s causing you to overeat or make poor choices when you finally do eat, you probably need to eat more.

Keep in mind, it’s essential to listen to your body’s hunger and satiety cues, striking a balance between creating a calorie deficit and nourishing your body adequately.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to manage our appetite. When embarking on a weight loss journey, many people equate the feeling of hunger with the success of their dieting efforts. However, this is a myth that can hinder weight loss rather than help it.


The Hunger Myth

The idea that hunger indicates effective weight loss is a misconception. While calorie restriction is necessary for weight loss, being hungry does not necessarily mean that you’re on the right track. In fact, feeling constantly hungry can be a sign that you’re not eating enough, which can lead to muscle loss, a slowed metabolism, and eventual weight regain.

Understanding Hunger

Hunger is the body’s natural response to needing more food for energy. When blood glucose levels dip a few hours after eating, the body signals the need for more fuel. If ignored, this can lead to overeating later, making weight management more difficult.

Having a consistent eating schedule

To lose weight effectively, it’s important to focus on eating balanced meals that keep you feeling full and satisfied. High-protein and high-fiber meals, for example, can help contain feelings of hunger and are beneficial for weight management. Research shows a low-calorie breakfast think a banana or a slice of bread leads to increased feelings of hunger, especially sweet cravings! This is why it is so important to have consistent eating even on the weekends!

Prioritizing protein

Protein plays a key role in curbing hunger pangs. This is because protein-packed foods like tofu, seitan, and Greek yogurt (YES vegan) reduce the activity of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin while triggering the release of peptide YY, which promotes feelings of fullness.

In managing hunger, breakfast is crucial, and the composition of our morning meal matters. Studies demonstrate that a breakfast rich in protein, such as tofu scramble, can sustain satiety for longer periods.

However, it’s not just about protein consumption alone. Balanced meals are essential, incorporating protein, high fiber carbs, adding volume AKA vegetables, and healthy fats to keep you satiated! For instance, a balanced meal might include a tofu scramble with spinach served on wholegrain wrap with avocado.

Eating mindfully

Practicing mindful eating involves savoring each bite, which naturally slows down our consumption and leads to eating fewer calories

Research from a review of 68 studies highlights that mindful eating enhances our ability to perceive feelings of fullness. By giving our brains time to process signals from the stomach indicating satiety, mindful eating helps us avoid overeating.

To embrace mindful eating, consider sitting down at a table or desk (monitors OFF) without distractions. This encourages slower eating and reduces the amount of food consumed with each mouthful.

Prioritize Sufficient Sleep

Inadequate sleep disrupts the balance of appetite hormones, leading to increased hunger and cravings. Aim for a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

For better sleep quality, think about powering down electronic devices (BYE social media) at least one hour before bedtime. This encourages the release of sleep-promoting hormones.

Stress Management

Elevated stress levels cause an increase in cortisol and stimulate food cravings. Prioritize time for stress-relief activities and self-care. An easy 20-to 30-minute walk outside will help! According to a 2019 study, can reduce cortisol levels by 21% when practiced at least three times a week.


The Bottom Line

Ignoring hunger or viewing it as a positive indicator of weight loss is not suggested! Instead, strive for a balanced diet that offers sufficient nutrition and prevents hunger. This method fosters sustainable weight loss and promotes overall health.

Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and provide it with the nutrients it needs. A well-planned diet that includes a variety of foods will not only help you lose weight but also maintain your health in the long run.

Ready to embark on this transformative journey?

Apply here to see if you’re a good fit for the Vegan Girl Method Program!

Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN