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24 Ways to Stop Feeling Hungry

Strategies and goals

Midnight eating binge

While hunger evolved as a system for telling us when we need nourishment, in modern times our feelings of hunger can often get out of step with our actual bodily needs–especially for those of us who are trying to get more fit. When you’re getting enough nutrition but your body is still crying out for food, these techniques can help make hunger a non-issue. Each of these tactics is based on scientific research and/or experience of people who have lost and kept off substantial amounts of weight. Some may sound weak or unlikely, but try any that you haven’t tried already, since many are much more potent than they seem.

Remember that feelings of hunger are often temporary: if you can last a little while, often they will go away.

If you’re interested in finding out where hunger comes from, read this recent article.

Rethink the hunger
1. Remind yourself that if you have enough nourishment and are trying to lose weight, hunger is a good sign: it’s often an indication that your fat stores are going to be raided.
2. Visualize what the hunger will help you achieve.
3. Accept the hunger. Reconceive it as not painful, but healthy.
4. Enjoy toughing it out; take pleasure in being contrary. Tell the hunger, “Is that all you got? Come on, bring it!”
5. If your hunger is arising because you’re upset, use idea repair techniques to detect and fix the problem ideas.
6. Focus your attention on things other than food. Thinking about food will tend to make you more hungry.

Distract yourself
7. Start doing something really engrossing that will take up your attention.
8. Get into a conversation.

9. Eat something very healthy and low in calories, like celery; an apple; or very low-calorie, fiber-rich crackers. If you don’t have anything like that handy, go buy something that fits that description. (Do not pick up a bag of M&M’s while you’re out.)
10. Chew some gum (if you’re in a place where that wouldn’t be inappropriate). You won’t be able to eat (or much need to) while the gum lasts.
11. Drink tea or another no-calorie/very low-calorie drink (preferably with no cream, sugar, etc.).
12. Drink water. Every time you feel like taking a bite of something, take a swig of water instead. In addition to providing a substitute for eating, water also gives you a temporary feeling of fullness.

Create limits
13. Start an activity during which you can’t eat (e.g., working on your car, cleaning a bathroom).
14. Go to a place where you can’t eat (e.g., a library).
15. Physically remove any inappropriate foods: give them away, throw them out, or simply put them somewhere hard to get at.
16. Choose specific times during the day when you’ll eat, and make a rule that you won’t eat outside those times. While this may not work perfectly, if you get in the habit of short-circuiting food deliberations with the thought “Nope, not time to eat right now!” you can take your mind off food, which lessens the urge to eat.

Change your physiology (immediate techniques)
17. Resolve not to eat anything for just a short time (say, 10-20 minutes). This can work especially well if you’ve just eaten something, as it takes a little while for feelings of satiety to set in after you’ve eaten. Other kinds of emotional and physiological hunger triggers, too, are likely to go away after only a short time.
18. Get some very brief exercise: jumping jacks, dancing for a couple of songs, push-ups, crunches, a few minutes on an elliptical trainer or treadmill, etc. Research seems to show that even a little exercise can help fight feelings of hunger.
19. Go for a short walk: this supplies the benefits of exercise and distraction, tends to improve mood (due to both the exercise and the change of scene), and gets you physically away from the food … just don’t end your walk at a bakery.
20. Avoid sugary foods: eating foods with a high sugar content can cause your body to deploy extra insulin. The insulin cleans out all the sugars in your bloodstream, causing a temporary shortage that sends signals to your brain: “Dangerously low on sugar! Need Twinkies, stat!” This can create a vicious cycle and is probably one of the factors that encourages binges.
21. Eat something low in calories but high in protein, like nonfat yogurt or canned tuna. Protein appears to lessen feelings of hunger both in the short-term and throughout the day; for instance see this article.

Change your physiology (longer-term techniques)
22. Exercise on a daily basis: this can raise your metabolism, yet can actually help suppress hunger for up to 24 hours. Doing 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise when you’re actually hungry will tend to suppress the hunger while you exercise in addition to giving you the metabolism boost. Exercising twice a day is ideal for helping to minimize hunger.
23. Eat in moderate amounts: avoid eating a lot at any one time. Doing this consistently over time when it has not been done in the past can help reduce stomach size (meaning the organ itself, not the fat over it). Binges tend to keep the stomach at a larger size.
24. Eat a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, and fiber. Fiber helps you feel more full with fewer calories consumed, while protein helps minimize physiological hunger demands.

If you find yourself facing hunger often, link to or print this post and read it through when you’re feeling hungry. If you’re still hungry by the end of it and no solution jumps out at you, try something that’s new to you or that has worked for you before from what you’ve just read.

Image by Corrie Howell



  1. Elaine Isaak  •  Apr 14, 2010 @6:18 am

    Hate to say it–but reading this article made me hungry! Good thing I’m headed for a workout. Some great things to try tho.

  2. Luc  •  Apr 14, 2010 @7:59 am

    But see, that’s convenient … because you get to immediately try one of the ways! (Which, though I don’t think you got the idea from the list, you did …)

    At least I didn’t put a big fat picture of a cinnamon bun on this post. That was probably unfair.

  3. Jessica  •  Feb 10, 2011 @5:41 pm

    Hmmmm….. cinnamon buns are yummy. I find brushing my teeth helps me not to eat. If I keep thinking too much about food when I am detoxing, I tend to grab an early night and then go for a run in the morning. Cant eat if I am dreaming!

  4. don ventura  •  Feb 26, 2011 @9:33 pm

    books on dieting have failed me but I’m convinced, after reading above, that I will succeed following your suggestions… many years ago I quit smoking with the help of a program called Smokenders and succeeded after having smoked 3 packs a day for 28 years.. the program depended heavily on ideas like yours and was very successful… good luck and thanks!

  5. YHuong  •  Mar 16, 2011 @7:43 am

    Thanks so much for the interesting encouraging “rethink hunger” advice. I will try to put this to work.

  6. Shannon Scarlotti  •  Jun 4, 2011 @9:14 am

    Great ideas!
    I particularly like the “toughing it out” one.
    Tres tres helpfull 🙂

  7. Liz  •  Sep 11, 2011 @12:10 pm

    Really good stuff, reading through this I spotted quite a few things which I’ve adapted to doing and which work for me already, so I’ll definitely try the rest!

  8. SAko  •  Oct 12, 2011 @7:07 pm

    very good info
    i was told years ago that eating grapfruit supresses hunger im not sure how tru this is

  9. Luc  •  Oct 13, 2011 @9:39 am

    Thanks for commenting. It looks like there’s some support for this online–I hope to have a chance to look into it a little further to see what kind of research has been done!

  10. Mr. Douh  •  Oct 19, 2011 @8:49 pm

    YOU GUYS LOSE. I’M EVEN HUNGRIER AGAIN! Good thing I got my granola bar.

  11. Luc  •  Oct 20, 2011 @6:43 am

    At the risk of sounding snarky, you tried all of these? If that does sound snarky, please disregard. It’s certainly fair to say that this list won’t help everyone in every situation. The art of it is probably in finding the right one or two of these approaches to try.

  12. doua  •  Dec 15, 2011 @10:05 am

    i read things about diet all the time, i guess all what you really need is to eat healthy and go to the gym, run, jump …etc. and have the right motivation to lose weight if you need to.

  13. JJay  •  Feb 4, 2012 @11:27 am

    Hi, is there any way to increase your motivation, as I’m lacking this ability big time? I suffer from depression and have put on a great deal of weight partly as a result. I also have arthritis which makes it difficult to exercise. I would normally prefer walking as a form of exercise but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to do so, so now avoid it as much as pos. It’s so difficult to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning never mind become motivated to diet and exercise, especially as I comfort eat. I need some hope, help!!!!

  14. Jean  •  Mar 20, 2012 @3:16 am

    When I’m hungry, I drink a glass of water. It makes me think that I’m full and don’t need to eat anything. Like now.

  15. Kerrie  •  Mar 26, 2012 @2:47 pm

    Love this i think that the idea of seeing hunger as a good sign will really help me alot. I read alot of stuff this is the only thing that has made me feel like i can shift this 8 lbs Thanks

  16. Luc  •  Mar 26, 2012 @3:13 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Kerrie, and I’m glad this may be helpful. If you’re up for it, stop by here in a few weeks and let me know how you’re doing!


  17. Kyle  •  Apr 12, 2012 @5:10 pm

    So I was hungry when I started reading this, and the last comment did make me laugh, because I did actually get
    to the end of it and dont feel hungry anymore…so great things to try. Thanks very much.

  18. Luc  •  Apr 13, 2012 @12:19 pm

    Instant success: I love it! I know it’s not necessarily a long-lasting effect, but that’s great to hear regardless.

  19. hameed  •  Apr 24, 2012 @6:39 am

    i love you guys!..epic guide to hardcore bodywieght lose

  20. Jenny  •  May 1, 2012 @1:15 am

    Heres a tip: avoid drinking milk when your hungry. Most say that it makes you full but for me I just get hungry for cookies or a sandwich! Water will help you feel full better than milk. Another tip: craving sweet? go for peanut butter or fruit (grapes!!) or yogurt. Craving meaty things? a slice of cheese, or a plain peice of white bread with no butter, or whole grain bread with a small dab of butter will do the trick!

  21. emma  •  May 28, 2012 @4:02 pm

    i think this is really helpful going to start it tomorrow! 🙂 lets hope it works

  22. Jacqui  •  Sep 27, 2012 @1:22 pm

    These are great tips – I have looked on other websites and its all the same old advice. I like these. Thanks!

  23. Mari  •  Oct 25, 2012 @7:33 pm

    This helped me a lot. Thanks! I love tea and dancing, so I’ll try those 🙂

  24. Hannah  •  Nov 19, 2012 @2:41 pm

    Thanks so much… loved the stuff about hunger and training your mind. I’m trying to lose 30 + pounds, so this should help!

  25. Marissa Castillo  •  Mar 25, 2013 @3:35 pm

    I really like the re-think your hunger great thing to well re-think haha but over all good

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