hungry to lose weight - the10principles

  • I thought weight loss was about willpower
  • Being hungry makes you gain weight
  • Eating natural food helps you lose weight naturally

For the 10 years I tried to lose weight I thought I had to be hungry to lose weight. But feeling hungry does NOT help you lose weight!

Respecting your body’s needs helps you lose weight.

When you’re itchy, scratch. If you have to go to the washroom, go. When you’re cold, put your coat on. And when you’re hungry, eat!

hungry to lose weight - the10principles

Why I thought you have to be hungry to lose weight

I thought you have to be hungry to lose weight because the diet industry stresses:

  • determination
  • sacrifice
  • willpower

All these words are used in relation to food. For instance, if you restrict what you eat, people will say “You’re so disciplined!”

Growing up I also noticed that anyone who wanted to lose weight complained they were hungry. These conversations took place in everyday life and also on tv, over the radio and in movies.

hungry to lose weight - speech bubbles

Feeling a sense of starvation was tightly tied to the idea you have to be hungry to lose weight.

What happens when you think you have to be hungry to lose weight

Believing you have to be hungry to lose weight got me thinking that weak people eat too much and thin people have inner strength.

For 10 years I was disappointed in myself. I thought I’d lost my ability to put in the work that’s necessary to reach goals. Every time I ate I felt guilty; a terrible feeling that was followed by shame. I was sure my body was a moving placard announcing I had no self control.

The most frustrating part of thinking you have to be hungry to lose weight is that this approach is self-defeating. Being preoccupied by hunger for 10 years interrupted my school work, social life and ability to train and compete in all the sports I loved. It also lead to more weight gain.

In short, thinking I had to be hungry to lose weight worked against my body and mind.

hungry to lose weight - trying to be hungry to lose weight

Why trying to be hungry to lose weight makes you gain weight

You feel hungry when you haven’t met your body’s needs. Hunger pains are your body’s way of signalling for the energy and nutrients it lacks.

If you don’t meet your body’s needs regularly, your metabolism slows down. Then it’s harder to lose weight and easier to gain it!


Your body’s job is to keep you alive. Your body wants to keep your:

… and so on. So when your body lacks the energy and nutrients it requires to function properly, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy.

hungry to lose weight - ignoring your bodies needs makes you gain weight

Respecting your body helps you lose weight

You lose weight when you meet your body’s needs.

When you meet your body’s needs you feel full. It’s important to feel satisfied. It’s important to be comfortable! But the foods you fill up on can be the difference between being a healthy and unhealthy weight.

Eat better food… not less food!

Processed foods have lots of empty calories. In other words, food that’s made in factories can lack nutrition. Unnatural food is often stripped of fiber, water, nutrients and other natural ingredients and then salt, sugar, sweeteners and other artificial ingredients are added. The result? You’re left with fake food, full of calories that go into your body but don’t actually serve a purpose. Therefore you can eat a lot of processed foods and still feel hungry.


Processed foods don’t meet your body’s needs

So you become overfed and undernourished.

People who eat processed foods regularly, often have low energy. Which leads to eating more processed foods and weight gain.

Additives in factory-made foods are addictive and confuse your body. Think of all the unnatural ingredients in diet pop. It’s no wonder this seemingly harmless beverage leads to overeating. When I was overweight I drank tons of diet pop!

Alternatively, natural foods are packed with:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • water
  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • fat
  • fiber

Whole foods are full of the energy and nutrients your body requires to function properly. Natural food meets your body’s needs. So you get full on fewer calories. Additionally, because natural food is in its natural state, your body has to do all the processing. Therefore whole foods take longer to break down, so you stay full longer.

Natural foods fill you up naturally and keep you full longer. Then you don’t eat more than you need. The result? You reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally.

hungry to lose weight - whole foods meet your bodies needs

How do you meet your body’s needs?

Eat roughly balanced meals made mostly of whole foods.

If you’re feeling hungry between meals eat a balanced snack made mostly of whole foods.

But, of course, it’s healthy to feel hungry leading up to a meal. If you’re eating a meal shortly, have a piece of fruit or peel a carrot (!) to tide you over. You want to be hungry enough to eat a full breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.

The body never lies— Martha Graham, dancer

The beauty of meeting your body’s needs, rather than trying to feel hungry to lose weight, is that feeling satisfied allows you to concentrate on the rest of your life. When you’re full you can focus on your:

  • friends
  • family
  • pets
  • neighbors
  • schoolwork
  • career

…and everything else that gives your life meaning.

Why you don’t need to be hungry to lose weight

Whether you’re cold, itchy, tired, have to go to the washroom or hungry, listen to your body! Give it what it needs. Eat! Scratch. Sleep. Go to the washroom. Put on your coat!

Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.

hungry to lose weight - summary

Next Steps

Now you know why trying to feel hungry to lose weight doesn’t work. It might work for a bit… but then, like 95% of other dieters, you’ll gain all the weight back and more. And you also know that meeting your body’s needs helps you feel full and unlocks your H 🙂 PPY weight. Want to see what that looks like? Get my ONE DAY Meal Plan! It’s got an example of the super-easy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks I eat each day. You can break that yo-yo dieting cycle. xo

You don’t need to be hungry to lose weight. That approach is wrong. “It ain’t right!”

Every diet I tried I was sure: “I thought you were different, I thought you were cool …”.

I lost weight when I stopped dieting and focused on building healthy eating and exercise habits.



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Do you associate determination, sacrifice and willpower with weight loss? How long have you been trying to be hungry to lose weight?