I have also experienced those difficult moments during my weight loss journey. Often one particular feeling drives us almost mad at certain times of the day. That feeling is hunger.

We’re not able to lose those excessive pounds and that frustration basically drives us towards the fridge… even though we’re fully aware of our “crime”, we just can’t help it. The desire to eat has the upper hand!

And this is how we gain 4 pounds, after losing 3 pounds 2 weeks ago!

A Balanced Diet

Science generally agrees with the fact that specific crash diets usually don’t help people to lose weight in the long run. Studies even proved that some of these diets promote obesity and cause medical and psychological problems. It’s better to be on a healthy, balanced diet instead of these specific diets.

I’m Hungry… Or Maybe Not

Oddly enough, sometimes opening the fridge is enough to feel your stomach growl. But watch out!Hunger is often being confused with the desire to eat. You need to remind yourself to wait up to at least 2 hours after each meal to know if you’re really hungry.

Sometimes hunger is an emotional reaction to a psychological trauma.

If I’m the problem…

Despite all the good will, our motivation, our self-control and the fact that we eat, we’re still hungry! What’s the problem? Is it possible that our bodies rebel against our diet? Or is hunger “inside our head”?

Below I’m answering some popular questions regarding hunger.

It starts in childhood

Dr. Marie Thirion, pediatrician and author of “Why am I hungry?” explains that we learn to recognize the feeling of hunger and feeling full in childhood. So it’s important for parents to understand that their children need help.

“All our lives, we’re being influenced by the unconscious effects of our earliest dining experiences: big portions, the fear of missing out, forcing yourself while eating, eating too fast, being unable to stop eating and continuing to eat even though we’re full. These are all relics of our eating habits during the first 2 or 3 years of our life.”

The Right Parental Attitude

Experts in child nutrition recommend the following guidelines:

  • Don’t use food to comfort or distract children.
  • Don’t insist that your child should finish his plate. On the other hand, also let it continue eating if it’s still hungry.
  • Don’t limit the menu of your children to what YOU like to eat; give your child the chance to try out different foods.
  • Don’t congratulate your child because it ate a certain food. Otherwise, you’re encouraging your child to eat in order to please you and not because it’s hungry.

Never forget that you’re the example, but the child has to learn to recognize hunger by itself.

Hunger Is “Inside Your Head”

When stress affects your diet…

According to dr. Paul Lattimore, nutritionist at John Moores University in Liverpool, you spent a lot of energy to controlling your hunger when you’re dieting. When you end up in a stressful situation and can’t take it anymore, the hunger becomes so great that you just have to eat.

To counter this type of reaction, dr. Lattimore recommends to relax, by walking for example. In short, burning calories instead of consuming them.

Allies of stress

Other emotions that are related to stress such as sadness, anxiety and boredom may be real enemies. The only way to combat those symptoms are: relaxing, getting some air or going out. Simply put, any activity that cheers you up and allows you to escape for a while.

Fatigue and hunger

If you eat because you’re tired, it’s usually due to the reasons I mentioned above. They make you (mentally) tired or you may suffer from sleep deprivation.

The solution: do everything you can to release the tension and make yourself tired so that you eventually fall asleep. That is to say, for example: no caffeine after 2 PM, don’t exercise in the evening and no television or computer screens after 10 PM!

If all this doesn’t help, you should consult a doctor. It’s better to be informed than to lose hours of sleep and gain pounds.

making you feel hungryEating At Fixed Hours

Science believes that you shouldn’t eat every time you’re hungry. It’s recommended to have your 3 meals a day instead.

A study published in the American journal Cell Metabolism shows that people who snack in between meals gain weight.

Nutritionists divided 2 groups of mice and fed the mice with same foods (and the same amount of calories) during a period of 3 months. One group always ate at different times and the other group ate 3 times a day. The result was clear! The group that ate at different times gained 28% of their weight and their blood sugar levels increased.

Another rule: take your time to eat

Experts recommend to take at least 30 minutes to eat. There should be at least 4 hours in between each meal and 10 hours between dinner and breakfast of the following day.

Learn To Recognize Big Quantities

Don’t stuff yourself…

making you feel hungryInstead of starving yourself when trying to lose weight, you need to adapt to a healthy, balanced diet.

You need to eat until you’re no longer hungry, but in an intelligent way.

According to dr. Jean-Michel Borys, nutritionist and endocrinologist, you can limit your snacking by opting for bigger meals that are better tailored to your personal needs.

It’s extremely important to listen to your body before chosing the ingredients that will give you a full feeling without making you gain weight.

Learn To Listen To Your Body

Don’t follow just any weight loss diet…

To control your appetite, you should listen to your body. And that’s harder than you think!

How much and how often you should eat? How to recognize the foods that your body needs?

First and foremost, you need to avoid the products that your body doesn’t tolerate. More and more people are allergic to certain foods these days, so that’s easier sad than done!. Moreover, we don’t easily digest every food.

We often forget that we’re all different and not just on the outside! Your morphology and your genetic and medical history can affect the digestion and/or absorption of of certain foods.

Hence why it’s important to consult a nutritionist or dietitian who can help and advise you. This expert will first figure out what your physical weaknesses are, which nutrients your body lacks or what your food allergies are. Then he or she will give you a customized schedule that takes into account all the factors that determine your diet.

Exercising & Sports: The Antidote!

If you’re looking for a cure to no longer be hungry (be it physically or psychologically), exercising is the answer!

Although some people sill claim that exercising makes them hungry, exercising while you’re on a diet doesn’t necessarily increase your desire to eat. Neurotransmitters (dopamine, adrenalin and noradrenalin) ensure that your brain doesn’t receive the hunger signal.

Your body spends a lot of energy during an intense work-out. To compensate, the brain sends a signal to the stomach to save as much energy that is required during your work-out.

And if you want to lose weight, it’s best not to starve yourself before your work-out session. Starving yourself increases the risk of compensation-eating after your work-out. You do need to take the time for digestion: 2 hours should be sufficient.

If you’re not overweight, it’s normal that you’re gaining weight when you start to exercise. You’re building muscles and muscles weigh more than fat!

Moreover, you should always ask yourself if you’re drinking enough water. Often we think we’re hungry, while we’re actually thirsty. So before having a (healthy) snack, you should drink a glass of water and see if you’re still hungry.