Why You’re Always Hungry (and what you can do about it)

“Ryan, I am always hungry,” he said, darting his hands quickly into a bag of potato chips.
I looked at him with inquiring eyes. Having dealt with this on a weekly basis, I was as almost as puzzled by his statement as I was by his decision to stuff potato chips into his face-hole at all, let alone as a last meal of any kind.
So I reacted somewhat less than constructively with, “Do you think those potato chips are a good start?”
My friend reacted with a strange gesture that was part tilted head, part nod, and part full-body shrug. I guessed it to mean that I had stated something obvious or he just really enjoyed the movie “Night at the Roxbury”.
Wanting to help my dear, dear, friend, I gave him the rundown. And I’d like to share the same information I shared with him – and so, I present, for your kind consideration, possible reasons on why you are hungry (or hangry) all the time and what you can do about it:

Reason #1: Calories are too low

If you’re on any sort of diet, then I can guarantee you’re going to be eating less food than you’re used to. So the first thing to ask is, “how many calories am I eating?” Too much of a deficit will certainly lead to hunger.
Most people do just fine with a 200 – 500 calorie deficit per day. However, if this gets your overall caloric intake below 1,300 calories, you might need to reconsider and recalculate things. Once you’re in 1000-1200 calorie land, it’s going to be difficult to stay satiated, not matter what you’re eating, along with being a pleasant human being.

Reason #2: You’re eating too much crap (non-satiating foodz)

We can all relate to this one. If you want to stay full on a diet, you must, at all costs, eat foods that will keep you satiated. To achieve this, we need to breakdown a list of what is considered satiating and what is not.
Satiating foods typically come with a few attributes and you can collect the whole set, too!
Attribute 1: It’s caloric content is very low compared to it’s volume.
For example: most veggies and certain fruits such as melons. Foods that are nutritionally dense but calorically low fill up your stomach and take up more space subsequently sending signals to the brain telling it that you’re full. Big Guns up stairs (the brain) stays happy, your waistline stays happy.
Attribute 2: It’s protein dense.
For example: Meats, Fish, Eggs. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient of the group.
Attribute 3: It’s high in fiber.
For example: Sweet potatoes and vegetables. Fiber is extremely satiating because it aids to slow digestion significantly.
Attribute 4: It is NOT processed.

For example: Really anything that is not sold in a box or package, has advertising, or a commercial. Think, Oreos, Skittles, crackers, potato chips, rainbows and unicorn farts. These foods are typically calorically very dense and nutritionally empty. Less Nutrition = Less Satiation.

Reason #3: Not enough protein

I cannot stress this one enough and it’s usually females that are guilty of this one. As I mentioned before, protein is the most satiating macronutrient. If you Google how much protein you need, you’ll find a wide range of recommendations. In terms of the satiety index of foods – or the effects foods have on feelings of “fullness” and regulating appetite and energy intake – protein has the highest satiation value.
Check out this study done at Purdue University where participants ate fewer, regular-sized meals with higher amounts of lean protein. What they found is subjects felt fuller throughout the day; they also experienced a reduction in late-night desire to eat and had fewer thoughts of food.
How much do you need? The majority of research tells us 1.5-2.0g per kg of bodyweight, or 0.7-1.0g per pound of bodyweight.
So, what I typically suggest is to set your ideal weight (in pounds) and aim to eat that in grams each day. So, if your goal is to weigh a lean 170 lbs, eat 170g of protein each day. Don’t stress if you don’t hit your numbers every day, just aim to hit around 170g.
Setting the protein intake this way ensures that you’re getting enough even if you don’t hit your target.
For women, I know that it may seem like a lot so I typically encourage them to hit a target of at least 80% of their daily target. Using this strategy typically results in a smoother transition while still being effective.

Reason #4: Not enough vegetables

Fibrous vegetables such as leafy vegetables, spinach, capsicum, cucumbers, etc., can be incredible and often missed in diets. It’s almost impossible to eat a surplus of calories when it comes to fibrous vegetables, and it fills up your stomach while remaining low in calories.
If you’re not getting at least 3 fist sized portions of fibrous vegetables each day, you need to get on this immediately. If you’re already at 3 servings each day, hitting your protein targets, and are still feeling hungry, then increase it to 4 or 5 servings.

Reason #5: You’re exercising too much

This one generally doesn’t make sense to people. Right. Exercise is a ‘good’ thing. And while intense exercise typically stops appetite in it’s tracks for the short-term, it has been seen that too much exercise can chronically increase your appetite. And since it is much easier to consume more calories than it is to burn it off, too much exercise can be counter-productive.
This compounded with overall levels of chronic mental, emotional and physical stress can be a vicious recipe for overeating calories. I’ll be getting into this topic in reason #6.
So how can you gauge if you’re exercising too much? First, track how much exercise you are doing each week. Say for instance you’re exercising 5 times per week at medium-high intensity. Try scaling it back to only 3 or 4 times per week for a few weeks. Objectively measure your hunger levels on a scale of 1-10 on week 1, week 2 and so on. If your hunger or cravings are reducing, then you may have found your solution. If the goals you have set rely heavily on your amount of exercise, feel free to slowly increase your exercise in 30-minute increments every 2 weeks. Continue to observe and measure to find your optimal amount of exercise that doesn’t cause hunger pangs and cravings.

Reason #6: Lack of Rest & Renewal

These are two huge culprits when it comes to hunger cravings and carb-induced comas. When you’re sleep deprived, your body pumps out a stack load of appetite increasing hormones called ghrelin.
It’s typically my clients who are routinely getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night that are feeling these effects. This coupled with physical, mental and/or emotional stress tends to increase cravings and the likelihood of emotional eating via an increase in cortisol. More cortisol = more cravings for carbs (specially sweets and salty foods) and overeating calories.
There are plenty of resources, strategies and solutions for sleep deprivation and reducing chronic stress, and I’ve already taken enough of your time with this article to even begin listing them all. Bottom line, research and invest in your health by taking rest and renewal seriously.

Reason #7: Not staying hydrated

Feeling hungry can often be signs that your body is not hydrated and hydrated well. First and foremost, if the color of your urine is anything but clear, you’re not drinking enough. Second, if you are unable to answer the question “How much water do you drink each day?” then there’s a good chance you’re not hydrating properly.
When you’re chronically under-hydrated, it’s simple for your body to demand food in place of water.
To eliminate this once in for all, drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day. So, if you weigh 150 lbs, that’s 75 fl oz. If we understand that there’s 8 fl oz to a cup, that’s
To avoid this, the commonly suggested tip is to drink 0.5 fl oz of water per pound of bodyweight per day. So if you weigh 160 lbs, that’s 80 fl oz. There are 8 fl oz to a cup, so that’s roughly 9.5 cups of water each day.
Obviously, like with all new habits such as learning a new language or exercising more, work up to these amounts slowly and over time. That is assuming that the color of your urine isn’t brown*.

Wrapping up

So this is basically what I shared with my friend. He understood, and decided to start by increasing his protein for 1 month. It was a good way to challenge himself, and objectively measure his feelings of fullness. After 1 month he reported back saying he no longer experienced feelings of hunger and cravings for snacks such as potato chips.
You could do that too, I suppose. Even if you don’t follow all of these tips like my friend here, I do recommend that you at least try a few.
By following one or two of these simple tips, you may just unlock the ark of the covenant or just fix your hunger issues all together!
Give it a shot and feel free to share your success with us! If it didn’t help, I’d encourage you to reach out to us and talk directly.
Snugglz & Cuddlz,

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