Feeling so hungry in a calorie deficit

So I’ve only been in a deficit for over a week and I’m so hungry. I’m eating enough protein, carbs, fat and fibre. My macros are on point. I’m also eating enough. Why is this happening?
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Replies

  • LisaGetsMoving
    LisaGetsMoving Posts: 667 Member
    1) How much is "enough" calorie wise?
    2) Are you eating your exercise calories too?
    3) A small degree of hunger is somewhat normal. The body releases hormones that effect appetite when in weight loss deficit.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    Every time I go into a deficit it takes a while to lose that intense hunger but it does settle down.

    If you're sure you're not under-eating then just wait it out. I always tell myself, "I am eating enough food. I do not need more food." Then I go do something like clean or walk or some kind of task or chore. Hunger won't kill me - BUT I spent years establishing my calorie needs and learning to deal with a little hunger when in weight loss mode is part of it.

    Thank you made me feel better. Actually I haven’t been in a deficit for over 7 months so that’s maybe why. Any idea how long it will take to adjust?
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    So I’ve only been in a deficit for over a week and I’m so hungry. I’m eating enough protein, carbs, fat and fibre. My macros are on point. I’m also eating enough. Why is this happening?

    When you consume fewer calories than your body needs, the natural response your body is going to give you is..."feed me". Burning bodyfat for fuel to make up for less energy being consumed is less than an ideal proposition where your body is concerned...it's a crappy source of fuel, and really from a biological and evolutionary POV, it's kind of a "break glass in case of emergency" kind of thing. Then there is the obvious issue of just eating way less food in general than you are used to and your stomach is used to.

    But by and large what is happening is a chemical response to a decrease in calories (hunger is hormone driven)...remember, your body has evolved with it's first priority to be keeping you alive and going...so when you consume fewer calories than your body requires, the hormone ghrelin is released into your system...this is often referred to as the hunger hormone. When more ghrelin is released into your system, hunger and appetite are increased...it is your body's way of letting you know that you're not consuming calories (energy) that is commensurate with what you require...so, "feed me". At the same time, leptin levels decrease when calories are restricted...further exacerbating hunger.

    Eventually, things do settle down...which is another hormonal/chemical response by the body due to the human body not being particularly fond of pain or discomfort and ultimately seeking homeostasis.

    Ah okay so it’s a hormonal response. I have PCOS so I freaked out thinking my hormones are messed up!
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    1) How much is "enough" calorie wise?
    2) Are you eating your exercise calories too?
    3) A small degree of hunger is somewhat normal. The body releases hormones that effect appetite when in weight loss deficit.

    I use a TDEE method where my rough TDEE is 2400 and I’m aiming to eat more on my workout days. I also cycle my calories so my days could look like this- 2300, 2100, 2000, 2300 etc. Those are my gross calories. I’m really trying to lose slowly but this seems weird because a few months ago I used to feel full on 2000 calories.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    How fast are you trying to lose?
    How big is your deficit?

    Aiming to lose 0.5 lbs a week and I’ve got 15-20 lbs to lose.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,165 Member
    edited March 2021
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    I use a TDEE method where my rough TDEE is 2400 and I’m aiming to eat more on my workout days. I also cycle my calories so my days could look like this- 2300, 2100, 2000, 2300 etc. Those are my gross calories. I’m really trying to lose slowly but this seems weird because a few months ago I used to feel full on 2000 calories.

    Your initial question about hunger has been well answered: over time, the stomach gremlins will quiet down. When you first cut your intake back, they go a bit wild.

    I can't tell if your approach will be successful. It depends a lot on your particulars.

    The term "TDEE method" usually means eating a fixed number of calories per day. (It's a misnomer, since your TDEE varies day-to-day. Maybe eating a fixed number of calories per day should be called the "Mean TDEE method," or something.)

    Anyway, my most successful approach has been to put in my stats, set my activity to sedentary, select 1lb per week loss, then add in for workouts. When I've followed the calorie guidelines faithfully, this has produced at least a 1lb per week loss and sometimes greater.

    More recently, I have a Garmin watch that computes my activity calories (from exercise or incidental activities) and uploads them to MFP. (I've had a fitbit in the past that does the same thing.) It seems a bit generous at times, and I try to under-eat the total. But, when I've followed the guidelines carefully, it's still worked, albeit a bit more slowly than by the above method without the incidental calories accounted for.

    Best of luck!
  • thisvickyruns
    thisvickyruns Posts: 193 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    1) How much is "enough" calorie wise?
    2) Are you eating your exercise calories too?
    3) A small degree of hunger is somewhat normal. The body releases hormones that effect appetite when in weight loss deficit.

    I use a TDEE method where my rough TDEE is 2400 and I’m aiming to eat more on my workout days. I also cycle my calories so my days could look like this- 2300, 2100, 2000, 2300 etc. Those are my gross calories. I’m really trying to lose slowly but this seems weird because a few months ago I used to feel full on 2000 calories.

    if you do a lot of exercise, it may be worth looking at your net calories as well.

    Other than that, I second the ideas of bulking meals with veg, and also start slow with the deficit, 2300 for a couple of weeks, then 2200, then 2100 till you get to where you want to be deficit wise.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    I use a TDEE method where my rough TDEE is 2400 and I’m aiming to eat more on my workout days. I also cycle my calories so my days could look like this- 2300, 2100, 2000, 2300 etc. Those are my gross calories. I’m really trying to lose slowly but this seems weird because a few months ago I used to feel full on 2000 calories.

    Your initial question about hunger has been well answered: over time, the stomach gremlins will quiet down. When you first cut your intake back, they go a bit wild.

    I can't tell if your approach will be successful. It depends a lot on your particulars.

    The term "TDEE method" usually means eating a fixed number of calories per day. (It's a misnomer, since your TDEE varies day-to-day. Maybe eating a fixed number of calories per day should be called the "Mean TDEE method," or something.)

    Anyway, my most successful approach has been to put in my stats, set my activity to sedentary, select 1lb per week loss, then add in for workouts. When I've followed the calorie guidelines faithfully, this has produced at least a 1lb per week loss and sometimes greater.

    More recently, I have a Garmin watch that computes my activity calories (from exercise or incidental activities) and uploads them to MFP. (I've had a fitbit in the past that does the same thing.) It seems a bit generous at times, and I try to under-eat the total. But, when I've followed the guidelines carefully, it's still worked, albeit a bit more slowly than by the above method without the incidental calories accounted for.

    Best of luck!

    Thank for the input. I want to lose 0.5 lb per week which is why I’m using the TDEE calculator. Last year I went through metabolic adaptations where I was constantly dieting/yo-yo dieting or binging. I did a post about it in the maintenance section but I don’t know how to post the link.
    I did a reverse diet which was successful and then a small bulk so I’ve gained a little weight. I also played around with intuitive eating. I have WAY more energy than I used to so could it be possible that my TDEE has increased?
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    hipari wrote: »
    It's also possible you have decreased total volume of food enough for your stomach's hunger signals to be messed up. For me, eating physically less food to be in a deficit is not a sustainable option unless the change is done very slowly, because my stomach feels empty and goes into hunger panic mode. The way I go about it is usually by either bulking my main dish/carbs with veggies to make them have less calories per volume/weight unit and then eating the same sized portion as before, or by eating the same total volume as before but replacing some of the main dish/carbs with salad or steamed veggies.

    Yeah I’ve recently been trying to increase the volume of my meals with veggies. It’s definitely helping. My stomach just feels...hollow.
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,616 Member
    I had a period after about 6 months of losing - even with regular diet breaks - where I was just ravenously, continually, hungry. I took an unplanned break and it only sort of helped. What more than sort of helped was realizing that, for me? Fat is satiating and my body was demanding it. The key to that realization was an intense, sudden, avocado craving. I don't even LIKE the danged things, but I ate an entire one a day for about a week. Maybe play around some with your macros.
  • kristingjertsen
    kristingjertsen Posts: 238 Member
    Have you tried adding lower calorie, nutrient dense foods like beans, peas, lentils, and whole grains? I have found that adding high fiber foods with protein keeps me from feeling hungry. I don't use added oils and limit sugary foods which also helps cut calories and steadies blood sugar levels.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    1) How much is "enough" calorie wise?
    2) Are you eating your exercise calories too?
    3) A small degree of hunger is somewhat normal. The body releases hormones that effect appetite when in weight loss deficit.

    I use a TDEE method where my rough TDEE is 2400 and I’m aiming to eat more on my workout days. I also cycle my calories so my days could look like this- 2300, 2100, 2000, 2300 etc. Those are my gross calories. I’m really trying to lose slowly but this seems weird because a few months ago I used to feel full on 2000 calories.

    if you do a lot of exercise, it may be worth looking at your net calories as well.

    Other than that, I second the ideas of bulking meals with veg, and also start slow with the deficit, 2300 for a couple of weeks, then 2200, then 2100 till you get to where you want to be deficit wise.

    Thank you ☺️ I never thought of gradually decreasing calories but maybe that’s where I need to go.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    Have you tried adding lower calorie, nutrient dense foods like beans, peas, lentils, and whole grains? I have found that adding high fiber foods with protein keeps me from feeling hungry. I don't use added oils and limit sugary foods which also helps cut calories and steadies blood sugar levels.

    I’ve actually been thinking about eating more lentils and beans. That’s a good idea! I love eating fish and eggs but they don’t have a lot of volume.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 883 Member
    I had a period after about 6 months of losing - even with regular diet breaks - where I was just ravenously, continually, hungry. I took an unplanned break and it only sort of helped. What more than sort of helped was realizing that, for me? Fat is satiating and my body was demanding it. The key to that realization was an intense, sudden, avocado craving. I don't even LIKE the danged things, but I ate an entire one a day for about a week. Maybe play around some with your macros.

    Yeah I love avocados too but recently I haven’t been eating them. Time to make guacamole. I definitely find fats more satiating too.