Hunger and food cravings are a normal part of the dieting process.
Unfortunately, you will almost always experience a little bit of hunger when losing weight, unless you’re doing a really slow and controlled diet.
In my opinion, the ability to deal with food cravings is one of the biggest factors for people who struggle to stick with their diet.
Aside from building the discipline it takes to do uncomfortable things that help you accomplish an objective, there are some easy ways you can fight food cravings and curb your hunger while dieting.
1. Add Green Veggies to Your Meals
I recommend eating 90% whole foods when dieting for two reasons:
- Whole foods have more micronutrients
- Whole foods are more filling
I think eating whole foods is even more important when losing weight then while in a bulking phase because you’re already eating less nutrition than your body requires, so it makes sense to maximize your micronutrients to maintain optimal health and help recover from workouts.
A lot of vegetables and most green veggies are low in calories, high in micronutrients, and have a decent amount of fiber. This is the perfect combination for dieting because the fiber will keep you feeling full longer, even though you’re getting very few calories.
To make it easy, I add spinach to almost everything. My other go-to green vegetable is broccoli.
Below is a picture of eggs with bell peppers and spinach that I made the other morning.
2. Find Substitutes for Food Cravings
To stick with your diet, you’re going to have to (temporarily) say goodbye to some of the foods you might be craving.
However, there are great alternatives for almost every craving.
I usually get a sweet tooth late at night. When this happens, I eat fruit like tangerines and watermelon.
I also drink flavored carbonated water because it tastes deceptively sweet, despite having zero sugar or artificial sweetener. Plus, the carbonation makes it more filling.
If you want something salty, you can buy these 100 calorie bags of popcorn that are really good.
There are also plenty of low-calorie desert things now too if that’s your thing.
3. Drink 1+ Gallon of Water Per Day
I usually drink a gallon of water per day, but when I’m burning fat I like to drink more towards 1.5 to 2 gallons.
Drinking a lot of water helps with fighting food cravings because it actually fills you up. Plus, being super hydrated has many other health and fat loss benefits.
4. Drink BCAAs
I love BCAAs, but I especially love them while dieting.
The best thing about BCAAs is that they help you maintain your muscle mass while in a caloric deficit. However, the key is that you need to keep your muscles saturated with BCAAs. I typically take about 3-4 scoops per day.
The other great thing about them is that they taste delicious — that makes it easier to drink your gallon+ water each day, as well as having something to satisfy your food cravings.
5. Fast During Your Busy Hours
I’ve used intermittent fasting in the past, and I enjoy it a lot, but I don’t do it very often anymore.
Learn more: Intermittent Fasting 101: The Beginner’s Guide
The main reason is because I train in the mornings and I hate fasting in the evenings and at night. I prefer to fast through the morning and afternoon.
However, fasting works well for me because I prefer not to eat while I’m busy with work anyways.
I can get more done if I just work without stopping to eat — my energy levels stay higher and I don’t have to waste time on cooking/eating.
It’s also easier to fast while you’re busy because you have something to occupy your mind, instead of thinking about food cravings.
Here’s what works well for me:
- I have a pre-workout snack around 5:45 am
- I’m in the gym around 6:15 am
- I have breakfast around 8 am
- Then I fast until about 4-5 pm when I have lunch
- I eat dinner around 7-9 pm and then have a snack before bed
This works well for me because I prefer eating more in the evenings, and it’s also when I get the most cravings.
6. Plan More Meals Around Your Peak Food Cravings
If you know when you get the worst food cravings, why not plan your eating schedule to where you are eating most of your food during that time?
That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s working out very well for me.
That doesn’t mean I don’t also get food cravings during the day, but I just sip on my BCAAs and focus on my work. The hunger usually goes away after a couple of hours.
I also use this same strategy when eating out. I like to eat out on Friday nights, so I usually eat less food during the day to save room for that night — this is one of the ways to eat out without getting fat.
7. Don’t Snack (and NEVER Snack on Carbs)
It can be very tempting to have a small snack to help ease your food cravings, but that’s usually a mistake.
It’s not about the calories or anything like that, because you can adjust around that.
Snacking only makes your hunger and food cravings WORSE — especially carbs!
If you are going to have a snack, I recommend stick with protein and/or fat. A protein shake or a handful of nuts are good options.
Proteins and fats digest slower, keep you feeling full longer, and they don’t cause an energy spike or crash.
Learn more: Macronutrient Combo Meals
8. Embrace the Hunger Games
The thing that most fitness and nutrition “experts” don’t want to tell you is that hunger is a normal part of losing weight, so the sooner you embrace it, the better off you’ll be.
Like I mentioned in the previous article, I enjoy feeling hungry while in a fat loss phase because I know I’m burning fat.
It’s a simple mindset shift.
I can embrace the hunger (and deal with the food cravings with the strategies mentioned here) and it no longer bothers me.
Once you accept that you’re going to feel hungry while burning fat, you can start getting serious about fighting your food cravings to make this process as easy as possible for yourself.
Best of luck!
Fitness Dieting Made Easy
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What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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