How To Eat Less Without Hunger Pangs?

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Regardless of your experience with dieting - or what I like to call eating consciously - one major problem that everyone complains about is hunger pains. The inability to deal with hunger while dieting is one of the biggest reasons why many people fail on their diets and can’t lose weight.

Twilight\'s Edward Cullen adjusting his fangs. Wonder if he has hunger pangs?
[I said PANGS not FANGS! Poor Edward Cullen from the ridiculously famous Twilight movie can't even get his fangs in place above. FYI: Get ready to see a lot of vampire and werewolf costumes this Halloween. How original...]

The hunger pangs - must eat something…

OK… I’ll admit it. I thought it was “hunger pains” but informally it’s referred to “hunger pangs” when you start feeling those intense stomach contractions normally in the 12-24 hour range after your last meal. I don’t know about you but “pangs” sounds silly so I’m going with hunger pains.

The eat more food mind trick

Before you run out the door to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, hear me out. To successfully pull off this trick you need to eat more of the right food. I’m talking green leafy (spinach, kale, lettuce) and fibrous vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and others). These types of vegetables have bulk to them but not a lot of calories. Simplifying this further, it means you can eat substantially more food without consuming extra calories. Seconds anyone?

Why this mind food trick really works?

With this approach you actually trick your body in two different ways. The first is visually. There is a big difference from a psychological perspective when you sit down to eat a plate overflowing with food vs. a plate that just has a few pieces scattered on it.

Countless studies have proven the psychological effects of portion and plate sizes. One of the most memorable made-for-TV studies was the 12-inch plate versus the 10-inch plate of food special. A mere 2-inch plate size difference resulted in people eating 22% less food! Unfortunately, the video was no where to be found on the net but a similar study was conducted using a Super Bowl party and graduate students aptly titled Super Bowls: Serving Bowl Size and Food Consumption. The results in this study were even more staggering!

The trick inside your stomach…

Finally, the ultimate trick happens inside your stomach. There are stretch receptors that signal the brain, letting it know your stomach is full and that you should stop eating. These receptors can’t calculate calories for you (that would be pretty wild from a sci-fi kinda way) as it only senses volume. Another good analogy here is your gas tank. There are no digital readouts to tell you exactly how many liters are in your gas tank. It’s all based on volume and that little needle near your odometer. By eating lots of green leafy and fibrous vegetables you’ll activate these stretch receptors and feel full even on less calories.

For more interesting food applications and the true meaning of hunger pangs, check our Eat Stop Eat book review. Author Brad Pilon dispels a lot of the myths surrounding hunger pains while revealing a powerful eating strategy that burns fat consistently.

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  1. Tristan says:

    Nice article mate, precisely what I do. Fill up on broc, string beans, carrot, cauliflower etc (minimal starchy carbs) but I can still enjoy a good peice of steak with a small handful of fries/pasta/rice to maintain a healthy weight. Much more appealing than having super small portions of food on your plate and going to bed hungry! I stumbled on your site through Rusty’s site and will definitely be sticking around. Cheers!

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks Tristan. Yeah, I’m not a fan of the one carrot on top of a piece of lettuce for dinner;)

  3. sangita says:

    Brian Wansink’s book is simply a must read. He has conducted so many interesting social experiments. It is definately an eye opener.

  4. Michael says:

    It’s on my short-list of books to read still. I absolutely agree he has done some interesting stuff re: social experimentation.