Troubleshooting Hunger on Keto
I am sitting right now at the coffee shop after the workout.
It is dinner time.
Normally, I would go and grab some food. It is 6 pm and it is time to eat. This is what my brain tells me.
Is it the right response or just a habit developed by me over the years of eating at the same damn time?
I am definitely not stomach hungry. My energy levels are in all time high right now.
So why is my brain lying to me?
Amazing things happen when you start questioning your brain, your habits, especially when it comes to nutrition.
My whole life I thought that breakfast was the most important meal of the day.
The truth is, I have never been hungry in the mornings. I remember my mom was forcing me to eat breakfast. Luckily, all my meals were paleo based…
But still… I was not hungry, so why the hell should I eat when my body tells me that it does not need food?
Secret About Breakfast
There are so many nutritionists and personal trainers that tell people about the importance of breakfast.
“If you don’t eat breakfast, you won’t lose weight.”
“Breakfast increases your metabolism!”
So, where does this evidence come from?
It all began with a clever marketing campaign in 1944 to promote selling more cereal.
The main advertisement said: “Eat a good breakfast – Do a better job”. Radio was announcing that “Nutrition experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Ads like this had no evidence, but they playing a huge role in popularizing cereal and breakfast. John Kellogg was leading the way of this “magical” breakfast transformation.
Nobody remembers, but Kellogg is the same guy who said that cereal would keep Americans from masturbating and desiring sex.
The true origin of breakfast comes from the medieval English that simply means “breaking the fast”.
Back in the day, people would not eat until dinner time. Egyptians would only drink coffee in the morning and start eating in the afternoon.
Don’t let anyone convince you that breakfast is important.
It is just like any other meal.
If you feel hungry then eat, but if you don’t want to eat, then don’t force yourself.
Listen to your body.
What Kind Of Hungry Are You?
I developed a system over the years that I go through when I “feel” hungry.
Here are the steps to actually determine whether you are hungry or your mind is playing games with you.
- Do I currently feel stressed?
- Do I currently feel very happy (accomplished something)?
- How are your energy levels?
- Am I dehydrated?
- Does my stomach make sounds?
- Is my hunger situational?
- Is it just “time to eat”?
If you feel stressed or very happy it can trigger your brain to get some “comfort” food or a reward for your accomplishments.
The best way to avoid this is to take a 10-minute walk or some sort of exercise. It should go away after 10 minutes.
If your energy levels are high, then you are not hungry. Your brain is tricking you. Just drink some water.
Sometimes our brain can’t tell the difference between hunger or dehydration. Before eating anything, drink a glass of water. If you are hungry, it feeling will come back quickly.
The same goes with your stomach rumblings. Drink some water. If rumblings come back, eat food.
We all have experienced a situational hunger. Planned lunch with friends, dinner with your coworkers.
You get very excited about these events and the anticipation leads to “hunger”.
These events are hard to avoid. Try to stick to your agenda in any situation. Stay strong and keto on.
And of course the last one… It is dinner time. I need to eat.
Listen to your body, not to your brain. Always question it when it comes to nutrition.
Soon, you’ll develop new eating habits and the nagging voices are gonna go away.
How To Stop Feeling Hungry
Some of you are reading this are probably like WTF…
Alex, I feel hungry all the time. I mean ALL THE TIME!!!
Do you want me to tell the magic formula?
When you first start keto, you’ll be hungry.
Your brain is deprived of glucose and is trying to switch to running on ketones.
Your first 6 weeks on keto are the most crucial when it comes to a diet.
Most keto coaches suggest to do 2 difficult things at once:
- Lower your calorie intake
- Eat under 20g net carbs
This doesn’t work for most people because it is like you are trying to learn how to walk and to run at the same time.
Disclaimer, keto for me is not a fast weight loss diet. If you want to lose weight fast, the best diet is not eating period…
But if you are serious about balancing your hormones, reducing inflammation and losing weight in the long run, here is the true secret formula:
During the first 6 weeks, your main goal is to stay keto (under 20g net carbs) and eat as much as you want.
Well, just wait till week 3. Most of my clients stabilize their insulin level and simply start naturally eating less.
They easily skip breakfast and do intermittent fasting because they feel full.
After 6 weeks you become keto-adapted and your body will naturally do calorie restriction without you even thinking about it.
Try this strategy and let me know if it works for you.