Why you’re still hungry and what you can do

You’ve just eaten lunch and you’re already counting down the hours (minutes?) until afternoon tea. Familiar? I thought so. Read on to find out why you are still hungry and what you can do.

Reason #1: You’re not eating enough nutrient dense food

The Solution: Eat More

If you have history of restrictive dieting and/or calorie counting, it is highly likely that you are under fuelling. Trust that nature knows best and start by adding more of our most nutrient dense foods – protein, good fats and non-starchy vegetables – to each meal. You will honestly watch your satiety skyrocket. This is particularly important if you crave sweets after a meal or suffer from a regular case of 3.30-itis.

Similarly, you may be under fuelling post training. This is the best time to consume complex carbohydrates – for muscle glycogen replenishment and the associated recovery and subsequent performance benefits. If you constantly find you’re never satiated on training days, start by consuming 30g of carbohydrates with your post training meal. This is as simple as adding a banana to your smoothie, half a cup of sweet potato mash to dinner, or trying a more nourishing breakfast like this Cashew, Date and Banana Quinoa Porridge or this Gluten Free Sweet Potato Bread with your eggs and avocado.

Reason #2: You’re thirsty

The Solution: Hydrate

Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. If you’re not drinking 2.5-3.0 litres of water per day, start by increasing your daily natural fluid consumption. Carrying a water bottle with you, drinking a full glass of water prior to a meal and drinking herbal tea (particularly in cooler weather) are great strategies to work with.

Reason #3: There’s not enough shut-eye in your week

The Solution: Get An Early Night (or 7!)

Studies have shown that an average of 7.5 hours of sleep per night can help assist with weight loss. How? Our hormones. Ghrelin tells us when to eat and leptin tell us when to stop, so in short, more ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain. And this is exactly what happens when you are sleep deprived.why you're still hungry

In addition, your metabolism slows down and you are more likely to reach for that sweet treat or extra latte for a quick pick-me-up. Or be raiding the fridge at 10pm. Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey says “when you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort food”. Time for some shut-eye, don’t you think?

Another benefit of adequate sleep is that you are more inclined to rise early and fit in a quick workout. Exercising first thing in the morning is fantastic for your metabolism and a great way to accelerate your body’s fat burning ability.

Reason #4: There’s not enough protein on your plate

The Solution: Increase Your Protein

Protein is our satiety macronutrient that balances blood sugars and therefore helps to control our weight. Aim to eat a variety of good-quality protein by choosing free-range eggs, grass-fed hormone-free beef, organic hormone-free chicken and fresh salmon. Vegetarian and vegans may need to consider supplementing with a good-quality pea protein powder, which adds variety and minimises the starches that come with legumes, lentils, and other similar plant-based protein sources.

Reason #5: You’re still suffering from fatophobia

The Solution: Add Good Fats

Fat is essential for satiety, mood and hormone production – just some of many reasons why there is no requirement for low-fat products or diets. I know you grew up in the low-fat era, but in short, we were brainwashed by the government, the agricultural industry, and everyone else involved in the lucrative traditional food pyramid. I highly recommend “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes if you’d like to learn more.

Please remember, however, that the right type of fat is extremely important:
– Always cook with saturated fat, such as coconut oil, butter and animal fat, as they are highly heat stable and maintain their structure under high temperatures. They are also a fantastic source of slow release energy and along with protein, contribute to satiety and blood sugar and insulin control.
– Add avocado, salmon and almonds for essential omega 3’s.
– Avoid polyunsaturated seed oils, high doses of omega 6 and trans fats – theses are highly inflammatory and can lead to hormonal imbalances and chronic health conditions.

So there you have it, the answer is nutrient dense whole food, hydration and sleep. Simple, don’t you think?

***For a more personalised approach to your nutrition, book your initial consultation with Steph here***


Wood B, Rea MS, Plitnick B, Figueiro MG. (2013). Light level and duration of exposure determine the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression. Applied Ergonomics, 44, 2, 237-240.

Greer SM, Goldstein AN, Walker MP. (2013). The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nature Communications, 4, 2259.

Shlisky JD, Hartman TJ, Kris-Etherton PM, Rogers CJ, Sharkey NA, Nickols-Richardson SM. (2012). Partial sleep deprivation and energy balance in adults: an emerging issue for consideration by dietetics practitioners. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112, 11, 1785-97.

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