How to Trick Yourself into Being Less Hungry
Are you hungry all of the time? Are you trying to lose weight, but you just can’t seem to do it because of constant hunger?
Do you have trouble keeping the weight off because you’re consumed (no pun intended) with cravings for all the wrong foods that raise your blood sugar, increase body fat and pack on the pounds?
Do you find that small portions just aren’t satisfying and you end up refilling your plate for seconds and even thirds?
Ever think “if I could just be less hungry, losing weight would be easy?”
The ideas offered below are not really tricks after all… but they are a new way of thinking which can help you eat less often and smaller portions.
Sometimes hunger is more of psychological thing than a physiological one. And it’s not always about having more willpower. So if we really want to lessen the amount and increase the quality of the food that we put into our bodies, then one of the first big steps we can take is to change our thoughts and feelings around being hungry.
In addition to being a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner, I’m also a certified nutrition coach so I explore all facets of an issue with my clients. It’s never beneficial to assume that you “know” what’s going on with someone just because you have a bias toward one methodology or another. Sometimes there are negative imprints from the past that need to be released in hypnosis; sometimes something more simple (but outside of what’s usually discussed) is the answer.
So, is there a way to tell when you’re legitimately hungry, versus having a craving, or wanting to fill our bellies for emotional reasons?
Can we “trick” ourselves into feeling less hungry?
One surefire way to know if it’s legitimate hunger versus emotional eating or eating to pass the time, is to figure out when was your last nutritious meal. Most people need to refuel their bodies with good, nutritious foods about every 4 hours. Some may need a small snack sooner than that.
This sounds simple to abide by… to eat a meal every few hours. But if it was so easy to do, then why are so many of us hooked on fattening snacks, loading up on donuts, chips, and other bad-for-you foods?
Suppose your lunch consisted of a scoop of tuna, a slice of rye bread, carrot sticks, and a glass of lemon water. That was at noon, and now it’s 3 p.m. You want something satisfying. Are you truly hungry? Of course, whether your body truly needs to refuel depends on how large you are, how big the scoop of tuna was, and how many calories you burned between then and now.
Maybe the 3 hours between lunch and now were especially stressful. If that’s the case, your body may be crying out for something. You burned calories and your cortisol levels are high due to the stressful situation.
Do you really need that sugary snack? Or is your brain asking for some feel-good serotonin? Protein will settle the nerves and deliver nourishment to the muscles and brain. So reach for a handful of nuts. Chew them slowly and mindfully. How about a slice or two of fruit? Now you’ve given your body what it really needs, without heading into unhealthy snack territory.
Is it you or is it yeast?
Another reason you might have a hungry feeling, or a wild craving, is yeast overgrowth. Every being has yeast living in their body, so some amount of it is normal. But yeast can get out of control in our digestive tract after a course of antibiotics, or if we over-indulge in alcohol or eat lots of sugary foods.
If you’re feeling low and like you need a sweet pick-me-up, it could be the yeast beasts in your digestive system. Try adding coconut oil to your diet. A spoonful of this healthy fat taken in the morning, afternoon and evening can be very satisfying. Coconut oil curbs hunger, kills yeast and is good for the body in many other ways.
Great article here that gives you a little more in-depth information on this phenomenon.
Chew your hunger away.
Know what else can contribute to hunger? Not chewing your food completely when eating. People who eat too fast without taking time to chew tend not to absorb all of the nutrition from their food.
If you want to feel hungry less often, chew your food thoroughly. It’s said that we should chew each mouthful of food at least 30 times if we want to promote healthy digestion. Plus, when we chew thoroughly, we give our bodies time to digest, and our brains get the message that we’re full. Rushing through meals doesn’t give our brain the signal to know that we’re satisfied and have had our fill of needed nutrition.
Did you know that digestion begins in the mouth? As we chew, enzymes in our saliva begin to break down the food we eat. Our teeth masticate the food into tiny pieces, and finally, into a paste that we then swallow. This self-made pate contains all the nutrition that our body needs to process to stay healthy.
Another reason why it’s important to chew is that when you gulp down large chunks of food, your stomach must work harder to process it. Parts of your meal may go undigested, become stuck in, and irritate the lining of your stomach. If you eat this way all the time, it can result in an inflamed stomach and intestinal lining.
After being inflamed for a while, your stomach can develop tears and perforations. This tears cause protein from your food to enters your blood stream. When protein molecules enter the blood, your body sends out antibodies to fight the perceived attacker or foreign substance. You develop allergy-like symptoms and chronic inflammation.
So think about that the next time you’re wolfing down dinner. Your body will be a lot better off if you salivate and chew your food completely. And when your nutritional needs are met, you won’t feel quite as hungry so soon.
Other ways to help your mind and body to be less hungry:
Stretch to reduce stress. Stress sends a signal to our brain that it wants something. It’s craving that high, that mellow feeling that a big meal or a sugary snack can provide. This is, believe it or not, an addiction! However, you needn’t be a slave to sugar. Doing yoga and other light stretches at various points of your day can rid your body of the stress chemicals that make you feel hungry.
Next time you feel stressed-out hungry, stop and do a few deep stretches. Then, assess your hunger to see if you’re still as ravenous as you think you are. Instead of having that slice of cake, you may find yourself satisfied with just a small snack, like hummus and a few pieces of celery.
By using these ways to be less hungry, and other ways to reduce stress, you’ll feel more in control, be better able to make healthy, logical food choices and lose weight more easily.
If you’ve tried these approaches and you’re still feeling driven by thoughts of food, then hypnosis might be the answer. Often imprints from our past keep responses like hunger alive and by releasing those past “programs” we release ourselves, and can feel differently.
I’m always here to talk if you would like to explore hypnosis for yourself. Booking a free consultation is easy, and I would love to meet you!
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