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8 Effective Ways To Stop Eating

how to stop eating when not hungry

How Can You Stop Being Hungry All The Time To Lose Weight?

Appetite and hunger are normal and yet complicated processes which are affected by various external and internal factors, which can sometimes make decreasing one or both of them hard. These processes signal that your body is craving food or needs energy.

So, if you’re trying to shed pounds, struggling with certain health issues, or making changes to your diet, such as adopting an intermittent fasting diet, you may be thinking about how to stop feeling hungry all the time.

So, to make it easier for you to lose weight and keep your health optimal, in what follows, we’ve presented 8 ways you can reduce appetite and hunger.

Feel Hungry

1. Eat More Foods Rich In Fiber

Consuming foods rich in fiber increases feelings of fullness by slowing digestion and stimulating the release of hormones that control appetite and increase feelings of fullness (1,2).

In addition, viscous fibers, such as guar gum, pectin, and psyllium, when mixed with liquids may promote feelings of fullness. Such fibers are naturally found in plant foods but they are also often used as supplements (3,4,5).

One study has found that whole oats, rye, and barley can promote feelings of satiety. It’s also been found that foods like beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas, which are all rich sources of fiber, can increase satiety too (6,7).

It’s worth mentioning that studies that have examined what effect intake of dietary fiber has on appetite haven’t always used consistent methods. So, some researchers claim that making a generalization about the relationship between appetite and fiber may still not be a good idea.

However, diets rich in fiber have been associated with few adverse effects. Additionally, foods high in fiber often contain other nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. So, choosing to eat a diet that contains vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and other foods high in fiber and protein can benefit your health long term and increase feelings of fullness.


2. Incorporate More Protein Into Your Diet

Consuming foods rich in protein can help make you feel full, decrease hunger hormone levels, and even potentially lower subsequent food intake (8,9,10).

Twenty healthy obese or overweight people were included in one study and asked to eat either egg (food rich in protein) or cereal (a low protein food) for breakfast over the course of one week. The results of the study showed that those participants who consumed eggs for breakfast reported increased feelings of fullness and decreased hunger hormones (11).

The good thing is that in addition to getting protein from animal sources, such as eggs and meats, to keep yourself satiated and control your food intake, you can get protein from vegetables, such as peas and beans.

3. Eat Mindfully

When you eat slowly and mindfully, your body and brain are able to recognize when you are satiated or hungry.

But eating distracted or too fast makes it harder for them to recognize these signals. So, to help your body and brain identify these signals more easily, you need to focus on the foods on your plate and remove all distractions when eating.

Research has found that mindful eating may weaken negative mood cravings and can particularly benefit individuals prone to impulsive, reward-driven, and emotional eating, which all have an effect on appetite and hunger (12,13,14,15).

Another way practicing mindful eating can reduce your food intake is by making you stop eating when you’re not feeling hungry since it’ll make it easier for your brain to recognize that you’re already full.

How To Stop Eating Mindlessly

  • Serve your food on smaller bowls and plates
  • Eat slowly
  • Buy smaller, individual-sized packages of snacks
  • Get rid of all distractions when eating, such as your phone or computer
  • Replace snacks with healthier foods, such as almonds, celery with guacamole, or carrot sticks with peanut butter
  • Before reaching for something to eat, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if you’re eating just because you’re anxious, bored, or in bad mood.
  • Keep your favorite foods in out-of-the-way cabinets in the kitchen or pantry
  • Avoid buying snacks, pastry, and other sweet foods in bulk

4. Drink A Lot Of Water

It’s been shown that drinking water may help reduce hunger and aid with weight loss for some individuals.

One study showed that consuming 568 milliliters of water before eating increased feelings of fullness and lower energy intake in healthy young males (16).

Moreover, beginning your meal with soup may also have the same effect. It’s been found that consuming foods that are low in energy such as soup as a first course can promote satiety and decrease energy intake (17).

However, eating soup as a first course may not have the same effect on everyone. The type of soup you consume, whether you have certain health conditions, and genetics are important factors at play. For instance, adding umami seasoning, monosodium L-glutamate (MSG), to a vegetable soup has been found to make it more satiating than other soups (1819).

It’s worth mentioning that it’s also been found that consuming water and thirst status may have a greater effect on your preferences for certain foods than on your food intake (20).

However, we can conclude that while it’s essential that you keep your body constantly hydrated, you should not replace your meals with drinking water. What you should do is drink a glass of water before a meal or sip water throughout the day, including during meals.

drink water

5. Eat Slowly

When you’re starving or have an enormous appetite, you can easily eat more than you should or planned to eat. Eating slowly is one way to prevent yourself from overeating, i.e., decrease your meal energy intake (21,22).

Another study, which included 146 participants, found that those participants that ate at a faster rate took larger bites and consumed more calories (23).

On the other hand, another study showed that foods consumed at a slower rate were more satiating than foods consumed fast (24).

6. Eat Solid Foods To Alleviate Hunger

It’s been found that liquid and solid calories have a different effect on body weight and areas of the brain related to reward. It’s also been found that chewing may reduce food intake and hunger. (25,26).

Studies have also found that solid foods or foods that are harder, more viscous, or chunkier considerably increase feelings of fullness and decrease hunger compared with low viscous or liquid foods (27,28).

Similarly, in one study, 50 participants were included and asked to consume hard foods for lunch to investigate the effect of solid foods on energy intake at lunch. The results showed that consuming solid foods decreased participants’ energy intake at lunch and their subsequent meals compared with those participants that ate a lunch consisting of soft foods (29).

Another reason why solid foods help alleviate hunger is that increased chewing allows your taste buds to be exposed to solid foods for longer, which may also increase satiety (30).

7. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is believed to reduce food cravings, which can lead to a decreased motivation to consume foods rich in calories and an increased motivation to consume foods low in calories (31,32).

Exercise can also decrease energy intake, curb appetite, and decrease levels of the hunger hormone leptin (33,34,35).

One study also found that exercise led to a decrease in participants’ preference for foods high in fat (36).


8. Get Enough Quality Sleep 

Studies have found that short sleep duration may lead to irregular eating behavior,  an elevated risk of obesity and metabolic disorders, and increased total energy intake (37,38).

In another study, a night of sleep curtailment has been associated with increased hunger, portion sizes of food, and food cravings (39).

Moreover, another study suggests that sleep deprivation affects the regulation of leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and energy expenditure, which may cause type 2 diabetes and obesity by increasing food intake and appetite (40).

Short sleep duration has also been found to increase the levels of ghrelin, which is also an appetite-regulating hormone (41).

How To Fight Hunger Quickly

Learning how to fight hunger may require patience and a little self-control, but it’s worth every effort since once you learn how to do that, it can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So, next time you feel yourself getting hungry, don’t reach for snacks or something sweet to satisfy your hunger. You can do that in the following ways:

1. Drink A Glass Of Water

As we already said, drinking a glass of water before a meal can make you feel more satiated. Additionally, drinking a glass of water can help you see whether you’re really hungry or you’re feeling hungry since you’re bored, anxious, or in bad mood. You can also feel hungry because you’re just dehydrated since feelings of thirst can be commonly mistaken for feelings of hunger.

2. Drink Green Tea

In addition to being rich in antioxidants, green tea is a natural appetite suppressant. So, when you’re hungry, drink a hot cup of this tea and you’ll quickly notice that you feel full and more energized.

3. Try Exercising

Exercising when feeling hungry can help shift your focus from eating to other things. Plus, while letting your mind focus elsewhere, you’ll get your body in shape. If you’re feeling hungry because you’re in bad mood or stressed, going for a fast walk or a quick swim, or jogging can help you get rid of your hunger pangs.

4. Try Breathing Deeply

Taking slow, deep breaths can help alleviate hunger pangs. All you need to do is take a deep breath through your nose and breathe out through pursed lips slowly. Repeat this breathing exercise 5-10 times while focusing on your breathing the entire time.

5. Do Something Fun

Whether it’s drawing, cooking, playing a musical instrument, listening to a podcast, or playing video games, keeping your mind off your hunger will prevent you from reaching for food or even overeating when feeling hungry.

6. Postpone Eating For 5 Minutes

When you feel yourself getting hungry, remind yourself to wait for 5 minutes. And while you’re waiting, try to see whether you’re actually hungry. If you don’t feel hungry anymore, then postpone eating for another 10 minutes, then 15 minutes and etc. Your hunger pangs will disappear in the blink of an eye.

How To Make Yourself Not Feel Hungry Without Eating?

Before we explain how you can make yourself not feel hungry without eating, we’d like to emphasize that in order for you to increase feelings of fullness, it’s important that you consume foods rich in nutrients, fiber, protein, and complex carbs, and healthy fats. Consuming such foods will help keep you more satiated during the day.

However, when you feel yourself getting hungry, instead of reaching for unhealthy foods, such as snacks, cookies, or fast food, make yourself not feel hungry in the following ways:

  • Keep yourself properly hydrated
  • Get enough quality sleep
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Exercise
  • Chew a piece of gum
  • Brush your teeth
  • Walk for 15 minutes

fiber food

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Feel Hungry All The Time?

Feeling hungry all the time is an issue that may be a result of your food choices. Many dieticians agree that in addition to sleep deprivation and being often stressed, a lack of fiber, fat, and protein in your diet causes unnecessary hunger pangs.

Understanding how certain foods influence your feelings of fullness and the function of your hunger hormones can help you get rid of this problem.

To increase feelings of fullness, it’s important that you consume foods rich in nutrients and complex carbs, such as oatmeal and quinoa, as they can help keep you full longer than foods containing refined carbohydrates. Consuming foods rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein can also help keep you satiated throughout the day and curb your cravings for snacks and sugar.

Foods rich in fiber include:

  • Barley
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Pears
  • Berries
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chia seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Almonds
  • Carrots

Foods rich in healthy fats include:

  • Seeds and whole nuts
  • Avocados
  • Egg yolks
  • Olive oil
  • Nut butter

Foods rich in protein include:

  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Fish and seafood
  • Lean meats
  • Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Greek yogurt

So, consuming foods rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs throughout the day will help keep you feeling full longer.

The Hunger Hormones

1. Leptin

When your fat cells are “full,” they produce leptin so that your brain knows you’ve had enough food.

The main purpose of this hormone is to keep us from gaining weight. However, in people with obesity, the brain doesn’t sense this hormone. Research suggests that consuming foods rich in simple carbohydrates and sugar can block leptin’s effects. So, to help your brain register leptin and help yourself feel full instead of feeling hungry all day long, you need to reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates and sugar.

2. Ghrelin

This hormone has the opposite effect of leptin. Ghrelin increases your appetite. It’s released when your stomach is empty and acts on your brain’s receptors to make you feel hungry.

The problem is that not only does ghrelin cause you to feel hungry, but it also activates areas of the brain related to reward, which makes you crave unhealthy, addictive foods such as chocolate, cookies, or pizza.

So, in order to reduce the production of ghrelin, you need to make sure you drink water or eat foods low in calories or rich in fiber at meal times.

3. Neuropeptide Y

In addition to being a brain neurotransmitter and a chemical that makes you want to eat, many consider it to be a hunger hormone.

This chemical is released into your body when you eat a diet high in fat and sugar or are under stress.

So, obviously, if you don’t want to feel hungry all the time, you need to decrease neuropeptide Y levels. You can do this by managing your stress levels, avoiding eating foods rich in sugar and unhealthy fats, and practicing intermittent fasting.

4. Cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone whose levels are high when you don’t get enough sleep or are under stress for a long period of time. High levels of cortisol make your appetite stay high as well.

5. Insulin

This is a hormone whose function is to make you store fat, and it is released when your blood sugar levels increase.

Foods such as cereals, pasta, bread, and other foods rich in sugar cause your blood sugar levels to rise and the extra sugar ends up being stored as body fat. When your blood sugar levels decrease, you feel hungry and this cycle starts again.

The most effective way to ensure high blood sugar doesn’t make you feel hungry is to not eat foods that increase your blood sugar.

Another factor that can make you feel hungry all the time is having two copies of the “Fat Gene,” or FTO gene, which prevents you from feeling satiated when you eat. A lot of people with obesity have two copies of this gene.

How Not To Feel Hungry All The Time

  • Fill your stomach with foods low in calories and rich in fiber and drink water during meals. This will help suppress ghrelin production.
  • Get enough sleep every night to keep leptin levels high and ghrelin levels low.
  • Minimize your intake of simple carbs and sugar to keep the levels of neuropeptide Y and insulin low.
  • Avoid eating foods high in unhealthy fats.
  • Manage your stress levels each day.

Is It Bad To Be Hungry All The Time?

If you don’t eat for several hours, it’s normal to feel hungry. However, if you constantly feel hungry, particularly after you’ve just finished eating a meal, this could be a sign that you have health issues. In what follows, we’ve presented several reasons why you may feel hungry all the time.

  • Having a poor diet, like eating white bread, fast foods, pastries, and packaged meals, which are all packed with unhealthy carbs and fat and don’t contain nutrients
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Often feeling stressed
  • Dehydration
  • Thyroid problems
  • Taking certain drugs, such as antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, antihistamines, steroids, and diabetes medicines
  • Exercising a lot
  • Polyphagia (extreme hunger)

Why Do I Feel Hungry After I Eat?

There are various reasons why you may feel hungry after eating. First of all, this could be due to the poor nutritional composition of your meal. If you eat a diet that is low in fiber and protein, you’ll likely find yourself feeling hungry after eating. So, in order for you to feel full after eating, make sure you include foods rich in protein and fiber in your diet. Foods that are packed with protein include lean meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fish, and seafood. Foods that are a rich source of fiber include vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains.

Then, you may also feel hungry after eating due to the stretch receptors in your stomach whose role is to induce feelings of fullness after or during eating. The thing is that they rely on the meal’s total volume. So, to feel full after eating, make sure you eat foods that don’t have many calories but are high in volume, such as fruits, vegetables, chicken breast, popcorn, turkey, and shrimp. Also, drinking water before or during a meal can add volume to the meal, thereby inducing feelings of fullness.

And last but not least, you may feel hungry after eating due to leptin resistance. Leptin is the primary hormone that signals your brain that you’re full. But, sometimes this hormone doesn’t work properly in the brain, particularly in some individuals suffering from obesity. This is known as leptin resistance.

When leptin doesn’t work properly, this means that your brain doesn’t detect that there’s enough or plenty of this hormone in the blood, so it keeps thinking that you’re hungry, even after eating.

Science suggests that eating foods rich in fiber, consuming less sugar, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help lower leptin resistance.

Besides the factors explained above, there are other lifestyle and behavioral factors that may explain why you don’t feel full after eating, such as:

  • Eating too fast
  • Not eating enough during the day
  • Eating distracted
  • Exercising intensely
  • Feeling often stressed
  • Not getting adequate sleep
  • Having high blood sugar levels
  • Insulin resistance

Is It Normal To Be Hungry After Eating A Meal?

Feeling hunger and having an appetite are normal signs of your body that it’s craving food or needs energy. However, it’s neither normal nor fun to feel hungry all the time, particularly if you’ve just eaten a meal. This may mean that your meals don’t include the right combinations of foods or that you’re eating less food than you should. In addition, you may feel hungry after eating due to all the factors presented above.

How Can I Eat Breakfast Without Feeling Hungry All Day?

If eating breakfast makes you feel hungry all day, this is most likely because you have the wrong type of breakfast. Eating foods such as cereals, toaster pastries, cereal bars, and white bagels for breakfast can trigger hunger and spike your blood sugar. So, to make sure you don’t feel hungry after breakfast, eat foods rich in lean proteins and fiber in the morning.

How Can I Stop Eating Late At Night?

  • Use a routine: Get enough quality sleep, have 6 meals a day, and eat small portions.
  • Eat foods high in protein at every meal
  • Eat regularly during the day.
  • If the reason you eat late at night, even when you’re not hungry, is that you’re anxious or stressed, make sure you reduce your stress or anxiety in other ways, such as practicing meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga.
  • Distract yourself.
  • Check whether you’re suffering from night eating syndrome or binge-eating disorder. If you are, you might want to consult a doctor.

Is It Ok Not To Eat For A Day?

Not eating for a day is generally safe unless you have other health conditions. Moreover, it’s been found that occasional fasting for 24 hours can contribute to cardiovascular health.

However, going a day without eating can have a negative effect on some people, which we’ve presented below, so they should avoid 24-hour fasting. 

  • People taking medications that must be taken with food
  • People suffering from eating disorders
  • Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding
  • People having diabetes
  • Children and adolescents

How Do I Train My Mind To Stop Eating?

If you’re often thinking about food, here are several tips on how to make yourself not want to eat.

  • Don’t deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy eating
  • Drink enough water
  • Consume foods rich in fiber, protein, and nutrients. This will help keep you satiated for longer and enable you to control your appetite
  • Distract yourself
  • Identify what things trigger you to think about food when you are satiated. It could be boredom, stress, anxiety, or feeling emotional
  • Be more physically active

How Do You Get Rid Of A Lack Of Appetite?

Follow these tips to stimulate your appetite:

  • Consume more of the foods you enjoy eating
  • Cook tasty, flavorful meals
  • Eat foods rich in nutrients
  • Eat smaller meals rich in calories
  • Learn to think positively about eating and enjoy it
  • Set a phone alarm to remind you to eat