Lose weight by eating only when hungry

Do you want to lose weight? I’m currently updating my page with tips on How to Lose Weight. The first three tips are to choose a low-carb diet, eat when hungry and to eat real food.

This fourth piece of advice is one of the most controversial – and most important – things to keep in mind.

Don't eat by the clockEat Only When Hungry

Reduce unnecessary snacking

On a low-carb diet you should aim to eat when hungry, until you are satisfied… but just as important if you want to become lean: Don’t eat if you’re not hungry. Needless snacking will stall your weight loss.

This can be a problem on LCHF too. Some things you eat unnecessarily just because they’re tasty and easily available. Here are three common traps to watch out for on LCHF:

  1. Dairy products such as cream and cheeses. – They work well in cooking as they satisfy. The problem is if you’re munching a lot of cheese in front of the TV in the evening… without being hungry. Be careful with that. Or lots of cream with dessert, when you’re actually already full and just keep eating because it tastes good. Or another common culprit: loads of cream in the coffee, many times per day.
  2. Nuts. It’s very easy to eat until the nuts are gone, regardless of how full you are. A tip: According to science, salted nuts are harder to stop eating than unsalted nuts. Salted nuts tempt you to more overeating. Good to know. Another tip: Avoid bringing the entire bag to the couch, preferably choose a small bowl instead. I at least often eat all the nuts in front of me, whether I’m hungry or not.
  3. LCHF baking. Even if you’re only using almond flour and sweeteners snacking on baked goods and cookies usually provides extra eating when you’re not hungry… and yes, this will slow down weight loss.

Feel free to skip meals

Do you have to eat breakfast? No, of course not. Don’t eat if you’re not hungry. And this goes for any meal.

On a strict LCHF diet the hunger and urge to eat tends to decrease a lot, especially if you have excess weight to lose. Your body may be happily burning your fat stores, reducing the need to eat.

If this happens, be happy! Don’t fight it by eating food you don’t want. Instead wait for the hunger to return before you eat again. This will save you both time and money, while speeding up your weight loss.

Some people fear that they will lose control if they don’t eat every three hours, thus making them eat thousands of calories and blowing their diets completely. So they snack obsessively all the time.

This obsessive snacking may be necessary to control hunger cravings on a diet high in sugar and processed carbs, but it’s usually completely unnecessary on an LCHF diet. Hunger will only return slowly and you’ll have plenty of time to prepare food or grab a snack.

Summary

To lose weight quickly and sustainably: Eat when you’re hungry – but only when you’re hungry. Forget the clock and listen to your body instead.

More

All 16 tips on the page  How to Lose Weight.

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60 comments

  1. Mandy
    I feel exactly like you! How's it going for you? I know this is an old comment. Did you ever discover weather is okay to only eat when you were hungry?
  2. JayJay
    Your metabolism is likely slowed, less than 1,000 cal a day is too low unless recommended and overseen by a medical professional. Your body will start to not feel hungry after going for a while with not enough food.
  3. Garry
    Old School:-
    When I was a child, we had egg & chips every evening, cooked In lard & occasionally with beans, this is the 70's. Watch films from the 70's, not many over weight people about. Fast food, lazy people & supermarkets are to blame as well as yourself for encouraging them, life's fast lane is not to be confused with an excuse to eat unhealthy. Your choice, no gyms about in the 70's, why ? People were not over weight, you are encouraging over priced exercise, its all about money. Stop the gym, walk to work and cook a healthy meal (Lol, egg and chips every day done me no harm), cheaper and more beneficial in losing weight.
    Eat only when you're hungry ! Top advice.
    Food is fuel, your body will tell you when it needs fuel, not the smell of the burger or urge to eat just because someone said its lunchtime.
    In reality we can talk about cars, when your car needs fuel you put some in, if your car is full, would you continue to put fuel in ? Didn't think so. So why do it to your body ?
    So here we are, 2019, my biggest observation is that women in general are getting huge, men always used to be bigger, not in 2019. Women would normally be able to wear dresses and heals, not 2019, they wear trousers, talk about gender bender, they do not look sexy any more, what has gone wrong ? Food, technology and god damn laziness. And before someone comments, I'm not a chauvinistic pig.
    Women should look like women, not lumberjacks or bricklayers, no wonder there are so many gay men.
    Over-weight = You're eating too much V's the calories your burning.
    Feel the need to go to the gym, sorry it is too late, damage is already done, food wins.
  4. Ella
    I have lost 20kg in a year . I eat 3 meals a day with 3 dance / Zumba classes . I now maintain what I have lost . Simple porridge made with water , full fat Greek yogurt, fruit and 1 cup of instant coffee with a teaspoon of sugar . Usually walk 1km to work. Lunch is cottage cheese with salad . Dinner is 3 egg ham omelette. Veg not potato and a handful
    of nuts . Maybe a low cal fruit drink but mainly water . I also blend mountains of veg into a cup a soup for quick meal and eat canned tuna / lean chicken . Track on MyFitnessPal. Works for me . I am 59 and weigh 62kg .
  5. Sam Robinson
    Are there any recommendations or steps to take for knowing how to tell when you’re ‘truely hungry’?
    Reply: #56
  6. Shirley
    Sam,
    If you're questioning your hunger, you're not hungry.
  7. Charles
    If you think you may be hungry but not sure, do a test by thinking of plain rice. If your mouth doesn’t water, you aren’t hungry.
  8. Andy
    You sound like someone who could benefit from 1 meal/day. Yes, there are people who live like this. Now, oats can't cover ALL your nutritional needs, so as long as you rotate the breakfast foods a bit, you should be fine not eating for the rest of the day. Like eat oats today, tomorrow maybe oat omelette, the day after perhaps eggs and bacon with fresh tomatoes and so on.
  9. Hugo Castillo
    I just began eating only when hungry, not as easy as it sounds, I love food so cravings are so confusing to my brain but it works my body tells me when food is need it so I tried to eat a balance meal, it has to have be low carb and low saturated fat. If I'm snacking, I take a small bite and savor it.. never do I eat the entire snack or meal, I've seen a UK show that fallow skinny people and their eating habits and it's always the same. They have a big meal a day that they never finish and only take 1 or 2 bites of everything else during the day. 1 guy that it's always eating potato chips, it was the same bag for like 2 weeks.
    FYI. I have lost 20 lbs in 7 weeks.
    I'm 52 years old and I got to almost 600lbs to my highest, I cut down to 350lbs for like 5years and I couldn't do any better going back and forth from 350 to 365 until now. Finally I'm under 330 and looking forward to break the 300lb mark.
  10. pat
    The traditional eating schedule we are used to (3 meals at fixed hours) dates back to the industrial revolution, for workers to have enough energy during their work (exploitation...). They were fed unhealthy hyper greasy and caloric food like the famous fish & chips that was created precisely to feed workers at a low price (fast food is not new!).

    As you see we tend to follow traditions just out of habit, even if these traditions are not good or healthy.

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