Having a big appetite can be very frustrating, especially if you’re trying cut back on your food intake and lose weight. So why do you have such a big appetite? How do you reduce your appetite?
There are usually 2 main reasons why people have a greater appetite than normal:
- You don’t eat enough fiber; and / or
- You are leptin resistant.
This isn’t the always the case for people. If neither of these sound like you, it could be worth going to see a doctor and / or dietitian for more specialized advice.
You Don’t Eat Enough Fiber
Fiber breaks down more slowly than other nutrients (even protein and fats). I know you’ve probably heard this before, but high fiber foods really do make you feel fuller for longer. I have actually experienced this first hand.
When I first started counting calories and macros, I was eating low carb and high protein and fats. I didn’t even think about counting fiber. I was hitting my macros but I was absolutely starving. When I looked back, I was only eating around 10g of fiber per day. And for women, it’s recommended that you get a minimum of 22g per day.
After I increased my fiber intake (I now eat around 25-30g daily), I was no longer hungry, even eating at a calorie deficit. I was actually so surprised at the difference it made!
The problem with eating low carb is that all of the fiber is really in the carb heavy foods. Protein is great for your body but has zero fiber, and the same for most fats. Also, lots of processed carbs are also low in fiber. So even if you’re eating high carb and all your carbs are from unhealthy sources, you’ll still have the same problem.
If you are having issues with a big appetite, I highly encourage you to track your fiber intake for 1 week to make sure you’re getting enough. Remember the absolutely minimum for a woman is 22g.
High Fiber Foods
Try incorporating these foods into your daily diet to help boost your fiber intake.
- Apples– I know a lot of women are scared to eat fruit because of the sugar content. But 1 apple only has about 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber, which is a huge amount!
- Chia seeds– 1 tablespoon of chia seeds has 5.5 grams of fiber! I always have 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in my smoothie every morning and it keeps me full until lunch.
- Sprouted bread– bread gets a bad wrap because of the carbohydrate content (and obviously because they are a grain). But 1 piece of a healthy sprouted grain bread 4.1 grams of fiber and only 12 grams of carbs.
- Oats– 1/3 cup of oats has 5.5 grams of fiber and 34.5 grams of carbs. See how minimal the carbohydrates in bread are!? Having 1/3 cup of oats and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for breakfast is almost half of your daily fiber intake.
- Pears– these are another really high fiber fruit. One medium pear has 6g of fiber and 100 calories.
- Avocado– yes avocado is high in fats but also surprisingly high in fiber. 1/4 of an avocado has 2.5g of fiber.
- Lentils– 1/4 cup of cooked lentils has 4g of fiber.
- Beans– 1/4 cup cooked black beans has 3.7g of fiber (most other beans are high in fiber too!).
- Peas– 1/4 cup cooked peas has 2.2g fiber
- Broccoli– 1/2 cup cooked broccoli has 2.3g fiber.
How Leptin Resistance Causes Hunger & Weight Gain
The Hormone Leptin
Leptin is a hormone that controls when and how full you feel. When you are eating and you start to become full, your fat stores start producing leptin, which then signals your brain to stop eating because you are full.
If you are leptin resistant, it means that your body no longer responds properly to leptin. This happens when you eat a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugar. When you eat these things, your fat stores are continually releasing leptin so your brain stops reacting to it.
As a result, you may never actually feel full and will be hungry all the time.
Symptoms of Leptin Resistance
You may have leptin resistance if you experience the following:
- Food cravings and hungry after meals
- Difficulty sleeping
- Low energy
How To Reverse Leptin Resistance
- Eat a high protein and high fiber diet.
- Cut out processed carbohydrates and sugar.
- Get good quality sleep and 8 hours per night.
- Minimize stress.
For more information on leptin resistance and how to fix it, please have a read of this blog post by Wellness Mama.
Eating all of your micronutrients
Loading up on micronutrients not only keeps you full but also eliminates your cravings. When the body is not lacking anywhere, there is no need to create cravings which leads to better food choices and less snacking. A great way to keep your nutrients in check and reduce cravings and hunger is with daily Shakeology. This has been my saving grace to end over eating and mindless snacking.
Summary – How To Reduce Appetite
If you do have leptin resistance, you need to get this sorted otherwise it will be difficult for you to manage your appetite and lose weight. Even if you don’t have leptin resistance, it’s still a good idea to reduce your sugar and processed carbs, and increase your fiber and protein intake. And of course good sleep and minimizing stress is extremely important!
Also be sure to include as many of the high fiber foods I mentioned above in your daily diet. Starting your morning off with some oatmeal, chia seeds, berries and yogurt is a great way to get a good dose of fiber in the morning. Apples are a great high fiber snack so if you’re trying to increase your fiber intake, try to have this as a mid morning snack. And then include vegetables and lentils for your main meals.
As I mentioned above, this may not work for everyone. If you have tried these things and it still doesn’t fix your appetite issues, it could be worth going to see a doctor and / or dietitian for more specialized advice. The worst thing you can do is take a pill that claims to reduce hunger or block your appetite. Many of these have harmful substances that lead to metabolic issues and a long term fight to regulate your body back to where it should be.