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Can You Lose Weight By Only Eating When You're Hungry

Updated on September 3, 2014
CyclingFitness profile image

Liam Hallam is a sports science graduate. He is also a keen cyclist as well as being a lover of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District.

Are you feeling hungry?

Are you feeling hungry? Eating onbly when you're hungry can be an effective weight loss strategy
Are you feeling hungry? Eating onbly when you're hungry can be an effective weight loss strategy | Source

Weight loss strategies to help you shed pounds

We're all looking for that miracle diet although sometimes the simplest weight loss strategies can be the best to help you lose those extra pounds. Whether you're wanting to look fantastic on the beach this summer or feel that you need to slim down for medical reasons there are so many diet options out there that claim to help you lose weight.

This hub offers advice and guidance on how to lose weight by only eating when you're hungry. After reading you may find that it's a great option for you however please bear in mind that the perfect diet for you is one that you can stick to long term without any risk to your long term health.

Pavlov's Dogs and Hunger

You may have heard of Pavlov, hunger and his Dogs. Over a period of time he was able to replace food with a trigger which caused the dogs to salivate as if seeing food in front of them ready to eat.

Over time humans have also been subject to this effect. Just a light smell of something a dieter craves such as bacon, or fresh bread, may can lead to heightened activity in area of the brain. The amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex form part of the brain's reward circuitry and pick up this stimulus. This effect can even be the same for a picture of a food or a small taste as sometimes a little sugar or just seeing that slice of cake in a shop window can cause a huge craving.

Increased appetite and thurst. Drinking water and weight loss

Did you know that your brain struggles to tell the difference between whether you're feeling hungry or simply dehydrated and in need of water? Your hypothalamus in your brain is responsible for maintaining the body's homeostasis. It struggles to decipher between hunger and thirst so the initial thing you should do when feeling hungry is Drink A Glass Of Water.

Increased water consumption can assist in weight loss particularly if you drink a glass of water prior to a meal. Drinking water prior to a meal can help with weight loss as it gives the drinker a feeling of a fuller stomach and therefore has the potential to limit the food intake of a dieter. Diet sodas can have a similar effect however make sure you limit how many you drink as the artificial sweetners and products many contain can be detrimental to your long term health.

How much water should you drink each day?

How much water or fluid do you drink each day that isn't caffeinated like Coca-Cola, coffee or tea? According to the Wateraid, water charity the average 70kg adult who exercises for around 3 hours a week in total should be drinking around 2 litres of water per day. You can check how much water you should be drinking each week by using their Wateraid Hydration Calculator.

How much water should you be drinking?

How much water should you be drinking? Ideally around 8 glasses per day (around 2 litres)
How much water should you be drinking? Ideally around 8 glasses per day (around 2 litres) | Source

Only eating when hungry to lose weight is a crash diet

If you only eat when hungry to lose weight you can actually lead your body into thinking it's in a state of starvation. Crash dieting and severely limiting your calorie intake can be extremely bad for your health in the long term.

When you take in fewer calories than your resting metabolic rate requires, over an extended period of time it forces your body to actually conserve calories which can actually limit your weight loss. Your body fights back when it experiences severe stress which serves as a threat to it's existence.

How can I safely lose body fat without crash dieting?

  • Achieve a slightly negative calorie balance of less than 10% of your resting metabolic rate
  • Exercise to maintain muscle tissue and tone
  • Lose weight gradually- no more than 1-2 lbs a week is perfectly reasonable and smaller loses should not be viewed with frustration
  • Eat a balanced diet to get all the nutrients which you require to stay healthy while dieting
  • Obtain a good proportion of your diet from carbohydrates (60% of total calories)
  • Set realistic weight loss goals
  • Restrict intake of saturated and hydrogenated fats
  • Eat more fibre.

Lose Weight By Only Eating When You're Hungry- Cutting out the snacks

Snacking can lead to you taking on a lot of extra calories. The girl that pops in to the office with those fantastic cupcakes is going to add an extra 300+ calories to your daily intake.

Use the glass of water technique above if you think you're getting hungry throughout the day. If you still find that you're getting hungry then consider a nice healthy snack to keep you going between meals.

Good luck with getting in the habit of a healthy diet



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    • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam Hallam 

      8 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks David for spotting that error for me to correct. 2 litres is the official figure many organisations quote. I would personally recommend that anyone that partakes in exercise regularly considers taking in more than that sum.

    • dwelburn profile image


      8 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Did you mean two litres of water per week? Or should it have been per day? To be honest I don't really think most people need two litres per day; but it depends on various things like activity level, temperature etc. But two litres per week isn't much. Was that a misprint?

    • Molly Loses profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      More water! Check! Thanks for this.

    • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam Hallam 

      8 years ago from Nottingham UK

      thanks jimmy, so many of us are avid snackers but trying a drink of water or squash instead can help

    • jimmythejock profile image

      Jimmy the jock 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      Great advice, snacking was always my downfall. thanks for sharing.....jimmy

    • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam Hallam 

      8 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Carol. Just try a glass of water first and see if it makes a difference and please let me know how you get on. CF

    • CyclingFitness profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam Hallam 

      8 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks INFJay- Too many people are looking for fad diets to help them lose weight. I've shown alternative options to diet and remain healthy. Stay hydrated friend

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      It sounds like a simple thing but how many people eat for very many different reasons. I try to eat only when hungry and stop before I get full. I don't like the feeling of being hungry or full...Great hub. Voted up.

    • INFJay profile image

      Jay Manriquez 

      8 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

      Sound advice. This approach is much more realistic too. My greatest obstacle (one of) is not snacking while watching television. I think I'll go drink a glass of water now.


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