When you’re trying to cut fat and maintain your muscle, there’s another battle we face – feeling hungry.
Yep. You may have got your cut mastered, worked out the best healthy food swaps you can switch to and nailed your workout, but now you’re feeling a grumble in your stomach.
We’re going to be totally honest, when hunger hits during a cut it can be difficult to stay on track. The temptation to chow down on a gigantic pizza is getting stronger by the day.
The thing is, when you’re trying to lose weight, a sudden change in your daily calorie intake can lead to increased hunger. Especially if you’re cutting for the first time.
But there are some ways to deal with that growling stomach! Put those snacks down, let’s get started.
So here’s how to stop being hungry during a cut.
How to not be hungry
The chances are, before now you’ve been searching for the answer to some of these common questions:
‘How to suppress appetite’
‘How to not feel hungry’
‘How to eat less’
‘How to stop being hungry’
I can see you nodding in agreement. We’ve all been there. Whether you’re a part-time snacker or an all-day grazer, we all want to know how to feel full for longer.
While there might not be a single secret answer to all your hunger prayers (sorry!), we do have some science-backed ways to keep hunger pangs at bay. Here’s how.
How to eat less
There are different types of solutions when it comes to ‘suppressing your hunger during a cut. Some of them could be considered a lifestyle change, while others are directly linked to the type of food you eat.
So let’s take a closer look at what you’re eating first, and how to not be hungry all the damn time.
Eat more protein
If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, it’s no surprise you’re trying to work out how to feel full.
Not only can protein increase those feelings of fullness, but since your stomach is satisfied for longer you’re likely to eat less at your next meal. This means you can stay on track with your cutting goals, and no longer sit at work trying to ignore a growl from below.
According to research, adding more protein can actually support your cutting goals, too. As well as supporting your weight loss, protein has also been shown to help prevent muscle loss when cutting your calorie intake.
Get plenty of fiber
Trying to work out how to eat less? Eat more fiber. Not only does a diet rich in fiber usually contain other crucial nutrients, including minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, but it keeps you feeling full.
Also Read: How to cut and keep your muscle
When you’re feeding your body with fiber, it works to stretch your stomach, therefore slowing down the rate at which it empties. Since your stomach is fuller for longer (quite literally!), you’ve got less chance of wanting to eat soon after.
Opt for whole grains that are rich in fiber, such as peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils – not only are they delicious, easy to cook and packed with fiber, but you’ll be fighting away those hunger pangs.
Studies have shown that these fiber-rich foods can increase your feelings of fullness by a whopping 31%.
Eat your calories
The way we consume our calories can have an effect on how hungry we feel.
When we’re trying to bulk up, getting extra calories in the form of smoothies and shakes is great – but when you’re looking to stay full, you need to be eating them.
According to studies, those who ate ‘solid’ snack were less likely to eat more at their next meal, compared to those who had a liquid snack.
Not only does eating a solid meal require chewing and more preparation, but the time spent chewing allows more time for signals of fullness to reach the brain.
Research also suggests that time spent chewing allows the food to stay in contact with your tastebuds for longer, promoting feelings of fullness.
Grab a coffee
As well as boosting your energy levels and helping you burn fat, coffee can also suppress your appetite.
Research has shown that coffee increases the release of peptide YY (PYY), a hormone produced in the gut that usually responds to eating. This hormone helps to promote feelings of fullness – so if you’re wondering how to make yourself not hungry, a cup of coffee could do the trick.
With the ability to boost your metabolic rate by some 3 to 11% and aid fat burning, what’s not to love? Plus, with decaf having been shown to reduce the highest reduction in hunger pangs, you don’t have to be afraid of staying up all night either!
Drink plenty of water
Can’t figure out how to eat less? Start by drinking more water. Often we mistake feelings of hunger for signs that our body is seeking hydration.
Also Read: How to calculate your bulking macros
So instead of reaching for the next snack, try drinking some water first. When we realise that we’re thirsty, our body is usually already dehydrated! So make sure you carry a refillable bottle with you, to work, to the gym and beyond, to keep you drinking.
If you’re wondering how to feel full for longer, try drinking water before you eat, too. But don’t just take my word for it! Studies have also shown that those drinking water straight before a meal eat around 22% less than those who drink none at all.
However, our bodies empty out water pretty quickly, so for this hunger-lowering trick to work, try drinking water as close to eating as you can.
Pay attention to your food
While our brains are pretty clever at recognizing when we’re full, when we’re eating while distracted, or eating fast, it can be more difficult.
Practising mindful eating is key to really soak up the experience and taste of the foods you’re eating – helping your mind and body to signal that you’re full. Many of us eat with distractions, whether we’re focussed on the TV or eating while we work, try to eliminate these and focus on the food in front of you.
One study examined the link between hunger, feeling full and visibly seeing our food. After offering two identical milkshakes to participants, those who believed they were drinking the “indulgent” version had a drop in hunger hormone levels.
Treat yourself to dark chocolate
While dark chocolate may not be to everybody’s taste, the bitterness can actually help to decrease your appetite and curb those sweet cravings.
Plus, the stearic acid in dark chocolate has been shown to help slow digestion, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Get ginger into your diet
As well as the many health benefits, including:
- Powerful medicinal properties
- Its ability to treat nausea
- In aiding weight loss
- Helping osteoarthritis
- Lowering blood sugar
Ginger has also been linked to hunger reduction. In one study, 2 grams of diluted ginger powder reduced the hunger of participants after a meal.
However, there is plenty of room for further research in this area.
Add some spice
While ginger may not be for everybody, if you’re wondering how to not feel hungry, it may be time to get spicy!
Recent research has shown that compounds in capsaicin (found in hot peppers) and capsiate (found in sweet peppers) has been linked to feelings of fullness.
Plus, since these compounds have the ability to generate heat, there’s the potential to increase calorie burn even more after a meal containing them.
Use smaller plates
When we eat off a large plate, we naturally up our portion sizes, without even thinking about it. This means that when we’re trying to eat less, we look at this now tiny portion on a big plate and feel deprived of food.
Also Read: How to measure your body fat percentage
So if you’re trying to work out how to feel full, try to eat on smaller plates. Not only will this help you unconsciously reduce your food portions, but you’ll naturally eat more and yet still feel full.
Get a bigger fork
Much like the size of the plate you eat from, a bigger eating utensil can have a huge impact on how much food you need to feel full.
Research has shown that those using bigger forks ate 10% less than those using a smaller fork to eat.
However, don’t be fooled, this effect may not apply to all utensils. Upping the size of your spoon, for example, may increase how much you eat by around 14.5%.
While you’re probably already going hard in the gym, if you’re trying to suppress your appetite exercise can be key. When we work out, it is thought to reduce the activation of brain regions associated with food cravings.
So instead of going hard in the kitchen, up your exercise!
Slim down around the middle
Unsure how to stop being hungry? It may be time to lose body fat around your middle.
According to research, links have been made between the type of type found around your organs and an increase in NPY production.
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a hormone that plays a key role in appetite and energy balance.
Get plenty of rest
When we’re feeling fatigued, it can be easy to make poor food choices and think we’re hungrier than we really are.
Getting plenty of rest can help reduce hunger as well as fight off weight gain.
According to studies, when we’re running low on rest our hunger and appetite can rocket by up to 24%.
There are a number of reasons why we choose to eat. Sometimes it can be boredom (over true appetite), sadness, happiness or even because we feel stressed.
When we get stressed, our body raises the levels of the hormone cortisol. In turn, high cortisol levels have been shown to increase food cravings and our desire to eat.
Still trying to figure out how to not be hungry? Minimize stress, minimize your hunger!
Get plenty of omega-3 fats
Typically found in fish and algae oils, omega-3 fats have been shown to increase levels of leptin – the hormone that signals fullness.
When choosing food to eat, opt for high-protein over high-fat, with omega-3 helping to curb those hunger grumbles.
Eat high-protein snacks
Let’s face it, if you’re going to snack, you’re gonna snack! But you might as well make it high in protein.
Snacks that are high in protein will increase the feelings of fullness, making you less like to indulge when you eat next.
Hunger strategy tips: How to eat less
Feel as though you’re always hungry during a cut? Don’t worry, there are some simple changes you can make to suppress your appetite and kick those hunger pangs to the curb.
Stash foods away
If you hide foods away, do you still want them?
Studies have shown that when food is out in the open for us to crave, we’re tempted into eating them. Got some candy in the house? Stash away and replace foods you can see with healthy choices instead.
Fill your house with plenty of fruit and veg, keeping you on track during a cut.
Narrow your choices
Okay, so, sometimes the point above doesn’t work. We may have stashed those foods away in the cabinet, but you still know they’re there.
If you’re still feeling tempted and salivating at the thought of them alone, it’s time to sweep through your house and narrow your choices.
When there’s only healthy food available, you’re less likely to eat for the sake of eating!
Keep pushing through
Like any type of weight loss program, the initial weeks are the hardest. If you’re at the start of your cut and you can’t stop wondering how to suppress hunger, you’ve gotta keep on pushing!
Don’t give up too soon. Give your body the chance to adapt to your new calorie intake, and be sure to get plenty of exercise to both curb hunger and keep your mind occupied!
Remember your mission
Feeling as though you might head out for a total snack binge? Remember what you’ve set out to achieve!
When you remember your fitness success so far and where you want to get to, it helps to keep your eyes on the prize.
Ready to CUT?
It may feel difficult at first, but kicking those snack urges will soon become second nature.
Remember to add plenty of protein into your diet, get even more exercise and banish all that candy from your home if you have to!
If you’re looking for support during your cut, our 100% legal and safe steroid alternatives help cut through fat while protecting lean muscle mass. Go smash it, you’ve got this.