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Why You’re Always Hungry, and How to Make it Stop

By January 26, 2016Nutrition

by GameChanger Strength & Nutrition Coach Rob Riccobono

Hunger (or at least what we think hunger is) can be caused by both physical and emotional factors. In this post today, let’s tackle the physical component. If you’re feeling a true physical hunger, one reason why is simple: you aren’t eating enough. But if you don’t want to gain weight (or still want to lose weight), why on earth would you try to eat more?

The solution is to eat foods that have lots of volume for very few calories. Here’s how you can identify those foods.

 Water-Rich Foods for the Win

You can eat large amounts of foods that are rich in water, while only consuming few calories. This is because water LITERALLY has zero calories! The more water a food has per ounce, the fewer calories it will have per ounce, and the fuller you’ll feel for having fewer calories.

Consider grapes compared to raisins. They are the same food, but removing the water drastically affects how much you can eat. In a 100 calorie snack you only get 1/4 cup of raisins compared to 2 cups of grapes!
Here’s a list of some foods along with the percent of their content in water (courtesy of The Volumetrics Eating Plan):
  • Fruits and Vegetables- 80-95%
  • Soup- 80-95%
  • Hot cereal (e.g. oatmeal)- 85%
  • Yogurt, low-fat fruit flavored- 75%
  • Egg, boiled- 75%
  • Fish and seafood- 60-85%
  • Meats- 45-65%
  • Bread- 35-40%
  • Cheese- 35%
  • Nuts- 2-5%
  • Crackers- 3%
  • Potato Chips- 2%
  • Oil- 0%

Fiber for Fat-Loss

Fiber is a carbohydrate that your body can’t fully digest. Contrary to what your first impression might be, this is a very good thing. This means that your body doesn’t take in as many calories from fiber as it does from other carbohydrates! In fact, most carbs from fiber have about half the calories as non-fibrous carbohydrates. Foods high in fiber include:

  • Vegetables: particularly dark green sources
  • Beans: black, kidney, green peas, Lima, garbanzo (chick peas), lentils, pinto
  • Nuts and nut butters (not nut oils, like peanut oil)
  • Avocado
  • Fruit: particularly berries, apples, bananas, oranges
  • Potatoes: particularly sweet potatoes
  • Whole grains: bran and high-fiber cereal brands, some whole grain breads and wraps, oats, whole wheat pasta

More on Water….

Perhaps this is more obvious than the other suggestions, but it is just as important. The most basic way you can use water to quell your hunger is to……start drinking more plain water! One great goal to aim for is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. If you weigh 150lbs, that’s 75 oz of water day. If this goal is far off from your current intake, start with a smaller goal. 64 oz of water is just 4 standard Poland Spring water bottles a day. Have one per meal and one between meals to reach that intake.

In addition to plain water, there are plenty of very low (or zero) calorie beverages to help keep you full. These drinks are, of course, comprised mostly of water. Some great options are:

  • Coffee (with your own milk/sweetener added, not loaded up with sugar from the coffeehouse server) 
  • Tea
  • Seltzer
  • Diet Soda
  • Diet Snapple
  • G2 series Gatorade
  • Crystal Light

The Importance of Staying Full

It’s perfectly okay to feel hungry once in a while. In fact, it is unavoidable and a normal part of life. Short-term hunger is not a life-or-death scenario that needs to be addressed right away. However, feeling hungry all the time is NOT a recipe for success if you want to lose body fat and keep it off. Eating foods that will keep you full is your first line of defense when you’re in danger of blowing your diet. 

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