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Stop Hunger-How to Curb Cravings and Stay on a Weight Loss Plan

Updated on February 1, 2013

Have you ever experienced unrelenting hunger? You've eaten and eaten plenty but within only a few hours - maybe less - you're hungry again?

It can be so disheartening. How will you ever lose weight if you're plagued by hunger? There are some little "tricks of the trade" that can help you get those cravings under control.

Craving Food?
Craving Food? | Source

Hunger vs. Cravings

First, let's define "hunger" and "cravings". They are not the same, though each can be tough to tame.

Hunger is something that many of us almost never experience. Hunger is when your stomach is empty of food and lets out a real rumble. Some people would say that their stomach is "growling"! When your stomach is talking to you, it's truly time to eat. Now, don't get that confused with digestive activity.

Digesting food can move around a bit too, usually in the lower intestinal region. Your stomach is located up a bit higher than that and it can take 4 to even 24 hours to really growl, depending how dense your last meal was.

Cravings are a pull to eat when true hunger is not present. It is more a "yearning" for food and may be associated with a number of obscure causes. The cravings may be related to blood sugar. If your blood sugar is falling, you need something to stabilize it even though your not truly hungry. In a healthy person (not diabetic), it shouldn't take much food to correct the issue. Even a few sips of sweetened fruit juice should tame it. Oftentimes, though, we take cravings as a signal to have another meal or a yummy dessert. Too much of that, and obesity sets in.

Other sources of cravings may be driven by boredom, fatigue or emotions. The term "comfort food" didn't come out of thin air. Many of us use high fat, high calorie, high sugar foods to bring comfort to stress-filled lives.


The Diet Alternative
The Diet Alternative

When you eat a meal, do you stop eating before you're stuffed? If you have a hard time saying "no" to that second helping, learn how from this expert. She lost over 100 lbs learning "hungry and full"

 

Hunger Taming Tricks

Dieters often complain that hunger comes too quickly or too often for them to stick with the plan. They find themselves cheating and, therefore, over eating and the diet is broken.

Here are some little tricks to help you stay on your weight loss plan:

1. Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're just full. Sounds strange to invite hunger but if you are willing to wait for TRUE hunger, then you can detect when "full" arrives. When true hunger occurs, eat. Take your time and listen to your body. When hunger is relieved--and before "stuffed" arrives-- you will have ingested just enough to go on with your day and feel great!

2. Eat slowly. Savor each bite and enjoy it. Many of us eat so fast that it's hard to remember what we ate...or that we ate! We reach for more food to prolong the experience. Slow eating will lengthen the enjoyment without adding to the amount of food you eat.

3. When you eat, eat "real" food. Reduced calorie diet foods often lack nutrition and/or flavor. Your body will crave more food, looking for satisfaction that they can't give. Real foods have substance are more fulfilling. Just watch the quantities.

4. Drink water. Many of us just don't drink enough of it and water can stave off hunger for some length of time. Unsweetened tea or coffee will also delay hunger.

5. Eat green vegetables. These high fiber, low calorie foods can curb hunger and fill you up. Green beans, celery, zucchini, broccoli, cucumbers, green peppers and lettuce all are good choices.

6. Add foods and spices to your diet that curb hunger: cinnamon, vinegar, grapefruit, bee pollen, protein, spicy foods and tea.

Fibrous foods curb hunger.
Fibrous foods curb hunger. | Source

Have food cravings been your downfall?

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Foods To Stop Hunger

Some foods do a better job than others when it comes to balancing blood sugar and fighting off cravings.

Cinnamon--this naturally sweet spice regulates blood sugar, therefore curbing hunger. Sprinkle it on plain yogurt, whole grain toast or lite English muffins, apple slices or anything you like! Put a dash in your coffee or tea for a little extra flavor.

Vinegar--apple cider vinegar from the bottle or even in tablet form has long been used to curb hunger. Use it on your salad and as a topping for steamed spinach or greens.

Grapefruit--this nutritious citrus fruit helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and encourages fat-burning enzyme activity.

Protein--dieters often forsake protein because of it's high caloric content. This is a mistake. Not only do we need lean protein for essential amino acids and energy, protein keeps us full longer.

Bee pollen--highly nutritious, bee pollen is known to curb the appetite and it also contains high levels of lecithin, which helps the body to shed fat.

Fiber – foods high in fiber are natural appetite suppressants. Fiber bulks as it comes in contact with water or other fluids. It also digests more slowly, therefore extending the time before true hunger returns. Whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits are all healthy sources of fiber. It is important to drink plenty of water with fiber-filled foods in order to prevent constipation.

Spicy Foods--certain spice,s such as hot peppers, have been found to suppress the appetite.

Green Tea--all teas, especially green tea, stabilize blood sugar and reduce food cravings.

Skip foods that increase hunger--foods that are high in sugar or convert into sugar quickly. These would include white or brown sugar, corn syrup, junk food, white flour, white rice, food additives such as MSG and sugar substitutes.

My Fitness Pal

It's so important for our children to learn good nutrition and weight control at an early age so that they will enjoy optimum health throughout their lives. This hub about My Fitness Pal will tell you all about the fun, free app and how it can be incorporated into lessons for your kids: Putting My Fitness Pal To The Classroom Test.

Craving Stopped!

In conclusion, there are many great weight loss plans out there but shear will power and determination may not be enough for you to stay on them long enough to reach your goal.

If cravings are what is getting you, one of these tips could be the key to helping you stay on track.

More about: Diet and Weightloss

About the Author...

Sinea Pies is a freelance writer who writes frequently on HubPages, GVParent Magazine and her own website: Ducks 'n a Row. Follow her on Pinterest and Facebook.

Comments

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  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much, KoffeeKlatch Gals. You are right. It did take some research but it's a subject that I am interested in so I enjoyed every minute of it. You know the spice that I find helps a lot? Cinnamon.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    5 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Great tips. I have a hard time staying on a diet because of the hunger pangs. I will be incorporating more of the spices and foods that you have suggested. Up and awesome. It looks like you put a lot of time into research.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much, ChristyWrites. I've found that my own overeating seldom has anything to do with real hunger. I appreciate the big vote and share. :)

  • ChristyWrites profile image

    Christy Birmingham 

    5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Great hub Sinea, so useful! I vote up and will share too. It is great that you point out the differences between hunger and cravings - I had not really thought about that before.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much for the link to your hub, TattooKitty. You are a great weightloss success story! Congratulations. And, thanks for the vote up, as well!

  • TattooKitty profile image

    TattooKitty 

    5 years ago from Hawaii

    Awesome tips for killing those snack-tacular urges! I'm especially interested in those hunger-curbing spices (way cool!) I'm also living proof that My Fitness Pal WORKS!! Check out my before and after pics here:

    https://hubpages.com/health/Bye-Bye-Fat-Hello-My-F...

    Thanks for sharing! Voted up!

  • RichieMogwai profile image

    Richie Mogwai 

    5 years ago from Vancouver

    great hub, this is something i will read over and over again. I am always hungry and these tips will help.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Peggy W. I appreciate the shares and tweets so much! :)

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    5 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I shared and tweeted this information because I think that it may help many people. You have given us some good tips with regard to staving off true hunger and helping with weight loss. Good job!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much, suzettenaples!

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 

    6 years ago from Taos, NM

    I really like this article. You have some great information for anyone, dieter or not. Thanks for sharing this pertinent information!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    You're welcome, B. Leekley.

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 

    6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

    Thanks for the good tips.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much for the Vote Up, Jamie!

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 

    6 years ago from Texas

    Great tips here Sinea! Have bookmarked it in my "Weight Loss Help/Motivation" folder. Thank you for sharing. Voting up!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much, annart. Enjoy the wedding. I'm sure you will look just beautiful.

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    6 years ago from SW England

    Great information, Sinea. So useful; I'm doing quite well at the moment, trying to shed a little more so as to look a slim and stunning mother of the bride in September - well, slim anyway! This helps a lot, thanks. Voted up, useful and interesting and shared.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Brett for the share, up useful! Eating slowly is a good idea...many of us have a hard time doing that. :)

  • Brett.Tesol profile image

    Brett Caulton 

    6 years ago from Asia

    Good tips. The cravings are worse than the hungry feeling. One of the best tips I ever had was to eat slowly, as you can avoid being over full, but some how often feel full (or maybe satisfied) for longer.

    Sharing, up and useful.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Really? Thanks for the tip, claudi1176! :)

  • claudi1176 profile image

    claudi1176 

    6 years ago from Greenville, SC

    Sinea, if you like butter, try KERRYGOLD, Irish butter. They are selling it at a lot of stores now e.g. Trader Joe's, Walmart. It is so good on baguette!!!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks, claudi1176. Yes, that's what I mean. REAL food. Years ago I used low fat margarine instead of butter. Then they discovered that it could cause cancer and that there was actually nutrition in real butter that we needed. I was SO happy to return to the real thing. It is much more satisfying. As in all good things, moderation is a key.

  • claudi1176 profile image

    claudi1176 

    6 years ago from Greenville, SC

    I like that you metioned that you should eat REAL FOODS. I am German and have moved here 5 years ago...in Germany most people are skinny but drink whole milk, eat butter, eat full fat cheese and yogurt. They just move a lot more...unfortunately I am having trouble finding FULL FAT Yogurt...it is so weird most stores don't even carry it anymore. Great article!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks for the vote up and useful, tillsontitan!

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    6 years ago from New York

    Sound and solid advice. Now if I could only follow it ;)

    Nicely written and informative; you include great examples. Voted up and useful.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Ditto, Frank! Thanks.

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 

    6 years ago from Shelton

    During my college years I felt those hunger pulls at my stomach..where with this article then? LOL kidding useful S-P very useful hub

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Injured Lamb. Yes, if I don't get enough protein it shows. I lose energy and eat all the time!

  • Injured lamb profile image

    Injured lamb 

    6 years ago

    Thanks for another great sharing Sinea Pies, agree much with the protein intake as not only it provides us the essential amino acids and energy but keeps us full longer. Appreciate much for the well done job! Cheers!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks, SherryDigital. Let me know how it goes!

  • SherryDigital profile image

    Sherry Duffy 

    6 years ago from Here. There. Everywhere. Currently: Portland, OR

    Awesome tips! I will definitely be trying bee pollen next time a craving hits!

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks teaches12345 for the compliment and vote UP! :)

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this information. I love your ideas, especially the green tea, cinnamon and spicy peppers. I have learned to eat slowly for this reason, it does help. Great hub and voted up!

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