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Why am I always hungry no matter how much I eat?

by (268)
Updated about 6 hours ago
Created April 19, 2012 at 5:55 PM

I've only been on Paleo for about a week and a half. So far I'm living it as I swear I feel better already. Better except for one little thing. I seem to be always hungry. After a big fattening meal I'm okay for about half an hour and then I'm hungry again. I'm wondering if it's carb craving and I should just wait it out.

Anyone else have experience with this?

As far as my work-outs go, I do hardbody high intensity aerobics with strength training 4 times a week on average. On the off days I do some type of cardio ranging from walking to the StairMaster. I love to move and I love to exercise especially now that I'm feeling better and more healthy.

I eat at least 2500 calories a day and something like 50 - 65% of that is fat. I've been eating to much dried fruit recently and I'm trying to cut back on that.

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 18, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Day 5. Very Hungry Very Often.However the hunger isn't driving me to feel nauseous. I'm do have the "darn-it-already a piece of bread would taste good" thoughts, but they aren't the same as the deep hunger I have most of the time. I'm trusting what you're saying here, that a carb/sugar junkie like me is going to take time to adjust. I'm keeping it to around 100 carbs a day,half those are from the banana and almond butter snack I have in the evening to keep me from going insane. I do I hope I will lose the 8 pounds I want to and not gain! This is so different from anything I've ever done.

Ed0cb30f40daff568778b776b2a5a81d
943 · November 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Funny thing, I've experienced the exact same thing. Now I only get cravings for something where my stomach goes "Yeah!"

140e2a7ebd23d56038f8b597bab28464
185 · April 20, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Could you cite the studies? I have always heard the opposite; eating less frequently = less stress on the body / easier digestion, etc.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7
1670 · April 20, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Your fat intake seems good so really I'd suggest upping carbs especially after an intense workout. I like to mash sweet potato in coconut milk. Also you seem to snack and eat frequently so your hunger could be lepton sensitivity. Go a day when you don't snack and eat every 4-5 hours and see how it goes. It may need to be rest.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · April 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Exactly! In my case, the better I listen (and separate hunger from cravings) the better I do health-wise.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64
1489 · April 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM

hey paul i had exactly that when I first went paleo. just ride with it. as your body afjusts to whole food sources it will begin to let you know when its had enough nutrition for one meal and you'll find you naturally begin to eat less. and sometimes not even just less at meals but just less throughout the day. this happened to me. and now my appetite and hunger and full signals are fairly easy to read and basically match my daily activities. give your body a chance to fall into its own natural pattern.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081
1646 · April 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Great idea! I think I did that last night... "Chicken? Nah... Broccoli? Nah... Lamb patty? Nah... Ooooo! Avocado!"

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Suggest what now? I don't know what that is.

Medium avatar
10653 · April 19, 2012 at 9:51 PM

I'm surprised no one has suggested leptin resistance yet...

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 9:23 PM

I really just want to lose body fat, not exactly weight. I'm 5'10" and 165 with a 31ish inch waist, not so bad. However I use to have a 30 inch waist before this inch of fat decided to make itself at home. I'm not sure what my body composition is but I'm guessing it could stand some improvement.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I recommend getting into some recipes. If you have iPhone you could add the Paleo Recipe Diet App. There's some good ideas in there.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Oh I did skip rope for years during my martial arts training. I was on the star master for the first time in years told, to be honest. The hardboy aerobics are indeed insane, 50 weighted lunges are insane, and she does a lot of halfway down pulsing which I can really feel and I was to sore to hit the weights. So I tried the star master / skiing thing. It wasn't so bad.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · April 19, 2012 at 8:01 PM

yeah man your workout program made me laugh a little. Sounds like something super early nineties. You're skipping rope too, right? ahha. I'm just messing around. As long as your stair mill sessions are HIIT and not LISS you're all good. and if hardbody aerobics is like INSANITY, you're good there too.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · April 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Thirst is the probable cause. If you are eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates, you're dehydrating system. Drink plenty of water, eat water rich fruits.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Hmm, I like broccoli so eating some steamed doesn't sound so bad right now. It is true I seem to be more thirsty now then I was before I started this diet. I'll try drinking more water

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Sounds too good to be true, but I'll try it. Thanks

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:44 PM

I haven't had a snack yet but I'm leaning towards those dates. Just to finish them off. Perhaps later I'll have a raw carrot dripped in avocado. For dinner I'm thinking Sardines in olive oil with Asparagus cooked in Coconut Oil on the side.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM

I really am trying not to eat to much fruit. For me it's somehow I can't just eat one. If I open a bag of dried fruit I just munch until it's done. I eat a couple of hard boiled eggs before my morning workout. Then later for breakfast I have another egg or two. Today I made bacon cups with 2 slices of bacon, yellow pepper, spinach, onions and garlic cooked in coconut oil. Then later I had my daily dark chocolate bar (everything free) and some coconut water. For lunch I had a Chicken breast cooked in Ghee and seasoned with chicken stock, lemons, green onions, capers, olive oil.

0905a0f8cd1e48f6d39fe625a65b6ef1
2890 · April 19, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Great advice as always, Nance. I second the Eating Huge Meat And Fat as well as generally eating more. I eat around 3500 cals a day, that's what it takes to satisfy me.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Actually that's an excellent test. If I'm not be completely honest what I'm craving right now is these Turkish Dates that I have. Which I know are not bad on Paleo but enough is enough of those. Thanks for the advice.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 6:17 PM

I'm in my mid twenties and I added the other stuff.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · April 19, 2012 at 6:03 PM

You are going to need to provide more detail like your age, activity level, an average days meals, calories per day etc.

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20 Answers

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
16
37187 · April 19, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Hi, Paul! It sounds like you're off to a great start.

Your body has "noticed" that you've shifted away from some of the foods it was used to and what you're experiencing as "hunger" may be brain cravings for processed food-like products.

An easy test: if your fridge and cupboards are full of ONLY healthy whole foods, when you feel "hungry" open the fridge and cupboards as if to select something to eat. If your reaction is, "no not that" than you're feeling brain cravings. If just about everything looks good to you and your stomach goes "Yeah!" then you're just catching up on nutrition and I'd go ahead and eat. If, however, you got the "no, not that" reaction just distract yourself by going outside for a walk or doing chores/errands.

My favorite way for dealing with cravings was to start my day with a large meal of fatty meat and some vegetables. That took the edge off and I knew I wasn't really hungry, just craving junk, so I worked at distracting myself until real hunger showed up.

E32abdc9a483de43def522faf81ed4e9
0 · March 18, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Day 5. Very Hungry Very Often.However the hunger isn't driving me to feel nauseous. I'm do have the "darn-it-already a piece of bread would taste good" thoughts, but they aren't the same as the deep hunger I have most of the time. I'm trusting what you're saying here, that a carb/sugar junkie like me is going to take time to adjust. I'm keeping it to around 100 carbs a day,half those are from the banana and almond butter snack I have in the evening to keep me from going insane. I do I hope I will lose the 8 pounds I want to and not gain! This is so different from anything I've ever done.

Ed0cb30f40daff568778b776b2a5a81d
943 · November 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Funny thing, I've experienced the exact same thing. Now I only get cravings for something where my stomach goes "Yeah!"

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · April 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Exactly! In my case, the better I listen (and separate hunger from cravings) the better I do health-wise.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081
1646 · April 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Great idea! I think I did that last night... "Chicken? Nah... Broccoli? Nah... Lamb patty? Nah... Ooooo! Avocado!"

0905a0f8cd1e48f6d39fe625a65b6ef1
2890 · April 19, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Great advice as always, Nance. I second the Eating Huge Meat And Fat as well as generally eating more. I eat around 3500 cals a day, that's what it takes to satisfy me.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Actually that's an excellent test. If I'm not be completely honest what I'm craving right now is these Turkish Dates that I have. Which I know are not bad on Paleo but enough is enough of those. Thanks for the advice.

C14d6e1b6f422db7bb2488d60f8e10c3
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185 · April 19, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Could possibly be high cortisol from too much exercise that is stimulating appetite. Back off the "chronic cardio" do heavy lifting along with walking, leisurely. Along with some HIIT training to reverse the high cortisol. You can take some holy basil to reduce cortisol/appetite. If that works for you then you know it's a cortisol/stress response.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Oh I did skip rope for years during my martial arts training. I was on the star master for the first time in years told, to be honest. The hardboy aerobics are indeed insane, 50 weighted lunges are insane, and she does a lot of halfway down pulsing which I can really feel and I was to sore to hit the weights. So I tried the star master / skiing thing. It wasn't so bad.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · April 19, 2012 at 8:01 PM

yeah man your workout program made me laugh a little. Sounds like something super early nineties. You're skipping rope too, right? ahha. I'm just messing around. As long as your stair mill sessions are HIIT and not LISS you're all good. and if hardbody aerobics is like INSANITY, you're good there too.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081
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1646 · April 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM

My experience the first week or two was somewhat similar. I'd eat a good meal, plenty of fat, and about 15 minutes after finishing, my body would signal "HUNGRY NOW!" even though I felt a "stomach full" feelings. It was the oddest sensation. During these faux-hungries, potato chips, candy bars, cookies, and pasta all sounded fantastic.

I'm guessing that I was seeing the insulin spike and drop from carbohydrate conditioning, and it slowly got better during the first 14 days. The main difference between pre- and post-paleo start is the hunger symptoms: before starting, if I didn't eat something within 30 minutes or so of beginning to feel hungry, I'd get awful nausea and feel like I was going to pass out; during the first 14 days, I'd get the hungry feeling but never any nausea and I never felt desperate to eat.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
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14877 · April 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Do the broccoli test: if you are not willing to sit down and eat a plate of steamed broccoli, then you're not really hungry and it's psychological.

OR drink a tall glass of water as you may be confusing hunger for thirst.

If neither of those help, you may just be better suited to smaller meals more frequently, as opposed to a few larger fatty meals.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · April 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Thirst is the probable cause. If you are eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates, you're dehydrating system. Drink plenty of water, eat water rich fruits.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Hmm, I like broccoli so eating some steamed doesn't sound so bad right now. It is true I seem to be more thirsty now then I was before I started this diet. I'll try drinking more water

6c216fc97da9c233f4e8a8d88b54a4fa
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20 · November 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM

if we look at primal man, snacking, during certain times of the year, is likely, nuts, berries and so on, though a full decent feed wouldn't occur 4 to 6 times a day. Maybe there is something to eating more abundant foods regularly and the meat/kill, as would have happened with primal man, now and then?

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1523 · April 19, 2012 at 8:30 PM

I would agree with Chris, and some of the others addressing the workout issue, to some extent. Nance's answer was spot on - it tackles the notion of hunger vs boredom or junk cravings. I've dealt with this for a long time myself - eating out of boredom or just because I'm not totally full. Before going to a more paleo friendly diet, I considered anything less than a full stomach to be the same thing as being hungry. Obviously, that's ridiculous. Unfortunately, that's what I had trained my body to respond to. Since eating a higher protein and moderate fat diet this has improved for me so I would also give it some time.

The other issue I've run into is that running or doing aerobic exercise (which I would almost never do if I weren't in the military) for 20 minutes or more significantly increases my appetite. It depends on what your overall goals are though. Do you just want to lose weight or do you have specific fitness goals you're trying to reach with your training schedule? If weight loss is ultimately what you're seeking, I would agree with Mark Sisson in saying that 80% of that is diet. Well, I think his exact words are something along the lines of "reaching your genetic potential" but you get the idea. I found this was true for me when I first started. I had little or no aerobic exercise, other than a mandatory 3 mile run every few weeks, and I've lost 20 pounds and am just below 12% body fat. I also found that for me personally the sugar in fruit can sometimes make me hungrier than I might otherwise be, but I guess that might be different for everyone. If it keeps you from eating candy or potato chips, go for it. However, if you're seeking significant or fast weight loss I would cut out the fruit for a while and stick to fresh berries when you do eat them. That's just been my experience. Oh and almonds. Handful satiates me pretty quick. Best of luck!

5228c2a976d7115667ca5bdb855a0393
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10 · April 19, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Same here, but I'm a female who doesn't exercise much these days. I started eating this way a week and a half ago and am only down 2 pounds (it was 4 pounds after the first two days), but I am always hungry, and last night nothing sounded good, and I didn't eat dinner. (This is was after a small run-in with 4 sugar cookies at the grocery). I am following the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track for now but need some help.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I recommend getting into some recipes. If you have iPhone you could add the Paleo Recipe Diet App. There's some good ideas in there.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7
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1670 · April 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM

This is the exact same thing that is happening to me right now and I don't know what is going on. Glad to know I am not the only one. Your activity level sounds close to mine and I have managed to curb cravings by upping carbs like sweet potatoes and decreasing fruit and nuts as much as possible because those seem to enhance cravings, especially the fructose in fruit. What does a typical day look like for you in terms of eating? how frequently do you eat?

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7
1670 · April 20, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Your fat intake seems good so really I'd suggest upping carbs especially after an intense workout. I like to mash sweet potato in coconut milk. Also you seem to snack and eat frequently so your hunger could be lepton sensitivity. Go a day when you don't snack and eat every 4-5 hours and see how it goes. It may need to be rest.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:44 PM

I haven't had a snack yet but I'm leaning towards those dates. Just to finish them off. Perhaps later I'll have a raw carrot dripped in avocado. For dinner I'm thinking Sardines in olive oil with Asparagus cooked in Coconut Oil on the side.

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM

I really am trying not to eat to much fruit. For me it's somehow I can't just eat one. If I open a bag of dried fruit I just munch until it's done. I eat a couple of hard boiled eggs before my morning workout. Then later for breakfast I have another egg or two. Today I made bacon cups with 2 slices of bacon, yellow pepper, spinach, onions and garlic cooked in coconut oil. Then later I had my daily dark chocolate bar (everything free) and some coconut water. For lunch I had a Chicken breast cooked in Ghee and seasoned with chicken stock, lemons, green onions, capers, olive oil.

Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966
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1794 · April 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Are you working out so much that you are making yourself hungry all the time? Working up an appetite?

My other thought would be to eat more protein, quite a bit more.

Bd88ae0edd99e7c44732067cdd259b2f
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0 · March 21, 2014 at 5:43 AM

As the yeast dies off in your gut it fights to stay alive. It is litterly telling your body to eat again because it needs sugar and more carbs to stay alive. This process sucks. I had a head ache for two weeks when I started. It goes away.

Also another thing that happens. We basicly have been starving our bodies for years. Now all of a sudden it is getting what it needs. Give it a few months. Your appetite will decrease.

I always go for a glass of water first. Most of us are seriously dehydrated. This can seem like hunger.

Keep it up.

1ee3587a5759f08356e2fd7285f6cc68
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5 · March 21, 2014 at 3:46 AM

Oddly, I find if I eat any fruit at all I get ravenous

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10994 · March 20, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Because your body isn't getting enough micro or macro-nutrients from your diet to stimulate the same hormones and feelings that you've previously associated with being full.

1ee3587a5759f08356e2fd7285f6cc68
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5 · March 20, 2014 at 7:19 PM

I sound like a broken record..but I have to say that for me (and that probably applies to some others, there is no amount of fruit I can eat without having a crash. So I eat veggies.

10ddbe2f70093b52ad4c8880b7e42486
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0 · April 02, 2013 at 4:30 AM

I am so sorry that was my bro again I am doooooooing sorry Kevin and everyone else that is reading his stupid texts

10ddbe2f70093b52ad4c8880b7e42486
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0 · April 02, 2013 at 4:27 AM

What up what up what uuuuuuuuppp?!!!?!?!!?!!?!?!?! Whatcha doing and I am talking to you Kevin whatcha doooooooing because I really want to know!!

10ddbe2f70093b52ad4c8880b7e42486
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0 · April 02, 2013 at 4:23 AM

I am so sorry peeps but by bro was picking at my dogo's compartment and don't think wrong cause' that that's what my bro bro would do anyway the reason I am still hear is because I'm suppose to talk about the topic because then the will BANISH me so I am having that so I just hope I'm alright because now I think I am eating too much.

10ddbe2f70093b52ad4c8880b7e42486
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0 · April 02, 2013 at 4:10 AM

What?! No way her butt is not that Hott look at Vanessa's butt it's like Kim k.'s

10ddbe2f70093b52ad4c8880b7e42486
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0 · April 02, 2013 at 4:06 AM

Oh my gosh beaky look at her butt. Toshi!

F524eaa9d58e5cd2d2368ff7bfffda9c
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480 · April 19, 2012 at 7:06 PM

You may not be eating enough carbohydrates. Add in a sweet potatoe, rutabaga, beets, bananas, fruits.. whatever helps you feel satiated

A9fa2bf11cf5f32d5195d677ff2af197
268 · April 19, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Sounds too good to be true, but I'll try it. Thanks

B92902b5bd5e564d443f556e1c216ad0
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-2 · April 19, 2012 at 10:24 PM

There are several 'tricks' to reducing your appetite. But, try to identify whether you are experiencing true hunger (general appetite for food) vs. a craving (obsessing over a specific food, such as ice cream).

If it's a healthy hunger, you can use this to your advantage: Studies have shown that eating 4-6 meals per day (small meals that contain protein) will help you build lean muscle and lose fat.

So, your hunger can actually help you burn fat if you use it to your advantage. The right meals and the right exercise can zap stored fat like a laser. Make sure you're not overdoing it with the cardio.

Quite honestly, the percentage of fat in your diet is quite alarming. I've seen a lot of people get great results with no more than 25 - 35% of fat in their diet (but we're talking about good fats, not industrialized trans fat).

GL!

140e2a7ebd23d56038f8b597bab28464
185 · April 20, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Could you cite the studies? I have always heard the opposite; eating less frequently = less stress on the body / easier digestion, etc.

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