Diet Advice

Help, I’m Hungry on a Macros Diet

By Ted KallmyerUpdated June 6, 2023

Some of my macro coaching clients complain about feeling hungry while counting macros

They make statements like:

  • “About an hour before my next meal, I start to get hungry.”
  • “I get hungry before bedtime.”
  • “I wake up in the middle of the night hungry.”
  • “I don’t like feeling hungry, which makes me want to give up.”

If any of these comments resonate, this article may change your outlook!

Hunger doesn’t mean something is wrong – it’s an early warning bell

Hunger is your body’s way of telling you that it’s running out of quick energy and is starting to use stored fat.

  • This message comes from chemicals in your body, especially a hormone called ghrelin, which makes your brain feel discomfort and tells it to start looking for food.
  • This system comes from a time when finding food wasn’t easy, so hunger is an early warning sign to start looking for food, not a sign that something is wrong.
  • The human body can go for a while without food and still work normally, but it will eventually need food because its energy will run out.

Were you raised in a household where your parents provided a snack at the slightest hint of hunger?

Some hunger is a part of the human condition, and our obsession with avoiding it is part of our obesity problems.

Help: I’m out of macros and calories, but I’m still hungry

Here are some steps to help you deal with feelings of hunger while counting macros on a macros diet.

1. Reframe the hunger 😌

Start thinking of hunger not as a bad feeling but as a sign that something good is happening in your body.

  • It’s a sign of a healthy metabolism.
  • It signals that your body has begun tapping into its fat reserves.
  • Sit with it, be okay with it, and focus on other things.

2. Understand set point weight theory 💡

Set Point Theory suggests that your body likes to stay at a weight it’s comfortable with. So, if you’ve been 230 pounds for some time, your body will try to keep that weight.

When you start a calorie deficit your body increases hunger hormones to keep you at 230 pounds!

You might wake up in the night hungry. Being overly hungry is your body trying to stay at its set point weight. It will subside after a few weeks.

3. Be in tune with your natural hunger cycle 🍽️

You have a natural fasting and eating cycle. Get in tune with it.

People say to start your day with a big, healthy breakfast because it’s the most important meal.

However, it’s better to eat your first meal when you’re actually hungry, not just because it’s morning. If you don’t get hungry until 10 or 11 am, that’s okay.

But if you’re really hungry when you wake up, and not so much in the evening, you should start and finish eating earlier.

The difference between feeling hungry and starving

Ever say “I’m starving” when you feel hungry?

  • You are not starving (sadly, many people in the world do experience true starvation).
  • Pay attention to the language you use.
  • Your hunger is temporary as you know where your next meal is coming from.

I can’t promise you won’t be hungry on a macros diet. I can promise that you won’t actually be starving.

Hunger is a part of life. Even when you are no longer losing weight, you should still feel some hunger between meals. Hunger is okay.

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