So, feeling hungry isn't right - is that right?

I feel ignorant for even asking.

I've successfully lost a significant amount of weight several times in the past, and I never felt hungry, even when I was measuring my food.

Since I started logging my calories about five days ago, I've been making sure to eat under my daily allowance. I usually eat back the calories I burn.

I'm 155 and my goal is set up to lose 1/2 lb a week until I reach 135. I'm supposed to be eating around 1720 cals a day (before exercise).

I'm doing about 30 minutes of cardio a day 5 days a week. I also did abs and a strength training video last week.

The point is, I've been hungry almost all day for the past 3 days or so. The only time I feel normal is right after I've eaten. I feel like I'm getting more calories from the headache medicine I'm taking than the food itself.

Hyperbole aside, logging my calories has made me aware that I was eating way more than 2,000 cals a day maintaining.

I'm a naturally muscular girl. My legs are strong and I build muscle pretty quickly. I'm wondering if my lean muscle mass is high enough that I should be eating more calories.

So far here I've read that some people expect to feel hungry in a calorie deficit, but I've also read that feeling hungry can be dangerous - how, I don't understand.

So maybe what I need is some ideas to prevent hunger. I know I'm not a volume eater because I'm not gorging on vegetables, but I think maybe I should be.

What are the dangers of hunger, and what would you recommend to someone who doesn't feel full in a calorie deficit?

Thank you.


  • harper16
    harper16 Posts: 2,564 Member
    Can you please make your food diary public?

    I've noticed that on days where I eat mostly carbs I don't feel as full. Compared to the days where I eat more protein.

    How much under your calorie allowance are you eating?
  • JessBbody
    JessBbody Posts: 523 Member
    harper16 wrote: »
    Can you please make your food diary public?

    I've noticed that on days where I eat mostly carbs I don't feel as full. Compared to the days where I eat more protein.

    How much under your calorie allowance are you eating?

    I made my food diary public. I think my problem is that I'm eating too much fat and not enough good carbs?

    Some days I've eaten 100 or 300 less, one day I went over. I've been logging since Friday. Thanks for looking!
  • JessBbody
    JessBbody Posts: 523 Member
    Thank you @igfrie . after some of the things I had read here, I thought hunger wasn't normal.

    I've never allowed myself to be hungry before, until now. I've always given in to every hunger pang. It's just a strange experience for me to be hungry. I thought maybe there was some way I could cheat the system, like by eating huge quantities of spinach or zucchini. I'm going to try to not let it bother me so much.
  • Jacq_qui
    Jacq_qui Posts: 360 Member
    edited September 2020
    Great post from KateTii there. I agree- and also I've lost weight without starving myself. I get hungry sometimes, but that's normal I think - I don't ignore it though, I'll eat something small. If I get too hungry I'm much more likely to binge. For me, not getting hungry has been important part of losing weight. As Kate said, that's not the same as looking in the cupboards wondering what you can eat though!
  • charmmeth
    charmmeth Posts: 936 Member
    edited September 2020
    I agree with those who say that you don't need to be hungry and that you may need to look at your food balance. Apart from the "what does 100g look like?" photos, which I found quite enlightening as to food bulk (see here:, I had a real epiphany when I realised that 1g fat = 9 kcals whilst 1g of carbs or protein = 4 kcals. So you can eat more than twice as many grams of carbs and protein than fat for the same calorie value.

    Looking at my macros (thank you for the pie-chart mfp!), I then realised that on most days, while my protein was fine at ca. 20%, roughly 40-42% of my calories were generally coming from fats, and around 40% from carbs. Over the past few weeks, I've been working on upping my carbs to be in the recommended range of 45-65% (normally 45-50%) and reducing my calories to 25-35% (normally 30-35%). Although I miss my cheese, I am finding that I feel more energised and less hungry. For me this is a new development. When I was losing weight 4-5 years ago, I didn't worry about the macros (except trying not to eat only carbs), felt fine and lost steadily.

    Because of my work pattern, I might have to have a late lunch in which case I would still feel hungry in the middle of the day, but that's a missed-meal hunger rather than a not-enough-food-in-general hunger, if you see what I mean.
  • cgvet37
    cgvet37 Posts: 1,189 Member
    It's natural as your body adjusts. For the first week I was constantly hungry. By the second week I was good.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 5,144 Member
    edited September 2020
    The first thing that jumped out at me was “headache medicine”. I just had the curious experience of suffering intense hunger pangs that woke me up several nights in a row.

    In two years of this, I’ve never had a hunger pang, so it immediately struck me something wasn’t right and that it wasn’t hunger.

    The only thing different recently was that nine days earlier, I started taking two Alleve every night before bed.

    Another lifter at my gym, who is an orthopedic surgeon, says that Alleve (and I would assume some other similar painkillers?) builds up in your system and does not flush out. He said I was probably really suffering from gastric distress masquerading as hunger pangs.

    I stopped the nightly Alleve, and the hunger pangs stopped immediately.

    Won’t help you, but for muscle and joint paint he suggested a topical version of Alleve called Voltarin (sp?). The topical won’t build up like an oral would.

    Anyway, hunger isn’t always hunger.

    And don’t forget, dehydration can also present as hunger. Have a glass of water!

    Increased protein (and or fat, for some people) helps me with hunger, too.
  • ALZ14
    ALZ14 Posts: 202 Member
    There is being hungry and being STARVING. The first few weeks it is an adjustment and being somewhat hungry at times is pretty normal as your body adjusts to the new food intake. It is not as normal if you are STARVING all day, that is a sign something needs adjusted.

    1700 calories plus exercise calories should be enough to keep you from starving and I would guess after the adjustment period y won’t be hungry as much either.

    I also agree with other posters in that you need to check out how you are “spending” your calories. It is fairly easy to make an adjustment from ground beef to ground turkey to lower your calories for the same amount of food. I use a low-carb tortilla for my sandwiches that is 80 calories and that saves me another 70-80 from a second piece of bread. I still eat chips most days but I found Goldfish crackers give me more crunch and hand to mouth action that my brain craves for the same amount of calories. So play around with your meals to see if that helps with the hunger.

    Also, make sure you are drinking water. Hunger pains are often a sign of being thirsty.
  • briscogun
    briscogun Posts: 1,077 Member
    When I'm losing I do get hungry quickly (within a few hours after eating usually) so I've found that trying to space out things to eat throughout the day has helped me tremendously. So I'll eat breakfast and be pretty hungry by the time lunch rolls around. After lunch I will usually save a piece of fruit to eat a few hours later. I get home form work late in the evenings (8:00-9:00PM) so I will keep another snack handy for late afternoon/early evening (nuts, cheese, etc). So that way I'm having a little something every few hours so I never get too hungry.

    Once you've done this for a while you'll learn your patterns and find ways to cope with them, whether it be a snack, cup of coffee, etc. You'll find a method that works, but that first week or two can be tough trying to break your body in to the new routine. Just power through and keep on going! You've got this!
  • chocolate_owl
    chocolate_owl Posts: 1,695 Member
    Hunger is very normal at the beginning of a diet for many people. I've found that slowly decreasing my calories from maintenance to my deficit goal helps with those initial hunger signals. Knocking off 100 calories every day or two is less obnoxious and headache-inducing than going straight to 500 less, but it does take away some of the excitement of diving right in and making big life changes and whatever. Also, drink a ton of water.

    If you've been at it for a month and you're still all kinds of hangry, you need to re-evaluate what foods you're choosing to make more satiating choices. Look at your macro ratio, food volume, fiber intake, types of carbs, meal timing, etc. and tweak until you start feeling better.
  • asthesoapturns
    asthesoapturns Posts: 313 Member
    I personally only feel hungry as I am approaching a meal. I knew perfectly well if I was starving all the time I wasn't going to stick this out. I eat enough to power my body and keep me satiated. It makes sticking to the weightloss track easy for me.
  • IronIsMyTherapy
    IronIsMyTherapy Posts: 482 Member
    Hunger as you approach a meal is ok, but not so much you fixate on it or can't wait until the next meal.
  • rwecker5782
    rwecker5782 Posts: 12 Member
    I kind of have the opposite problem, I am so full! The goal for my macro's are 30% Carb, 30% Protein and 40% Fat. I've only been on MFP for about two weeks. I think I exceeded my calories once. One day I was warned that I under ate so much that there would be no blog post for me! I struggle to eat enough protein, and find that I usually exceed carbs. Maybe increasing your fat intake will make you feel full like it has for me.