If you were eating the Standard American Diet and then simply create a calorie deficit, chances are you felt deprived and sort of miserable. Maybe you even added in exercise, but seemed to become MORE hungry but still tried to subsist on salad and chicken breast because you were stronger than this, right?
You know what a diet shouldn’t be? A game of willpower. “Normal”-sized people don’t have better willpower than you do. You don’t have some sort of mental weakness. You’re suffering from two problems: the wrong diet, and wrong expectations.
Lack of Satiety with Low Fat Diets
First off: What is satiety? Satiety is not feeling “stuffed”, it’s getting enough of the right kind of food to have a lack of interest in further eating. It literally means reaching the point of satisfaction. They always say “don’t go to the grocery store when hungry”, I now have the problem of “don’t go to the grocery store when satiated”, because I never end up buying enough. My complete disinterest in food is enough for me to not buy nearly enough food for the week.
Satiety is not about how much food is physically in your stomach. I’d bet you could eat an entire loaf of bread and still be hungry in 2 hours. Your body can quickly process and store (read: put in fat stores) carbohydrates. So it’s not the physical pressure on your stomach that causes the satiety… what is it? It’s the fat! Fat is fuel. When your body senses that it has gotten enough fat, that is when it says “okay, i’m good to go for awhile, you can now spend your time thinking about other things”. This makes biological sense. You just ate a nice fatty fish, your body feels fueled, instead of forcing you to constantly feel the need to fuel up, it allows you to think about other necessary things, like finding water, reproducing, finding shelter, etc. If your body is telling you that you are still hungry, it’s because it is! You didn’t feed it enough fat.
“But I can’t trust my hunger!” you say, “I’ve gained weight with my hunger!” Yes, you have, on a low fat high carb diet! Remember that loaf of bread that I mentioned before? Your body didn’t need ANY of those carbs, it didn’t satisfy it, you still needed to eat something else, and there you went day in and day out eating unnecessary calories. Calories do count, and empty carbohydrates from sugar and grains are unnecessary. If you focus on getting 70-80% of your calories from fat, less than 10% from carbohydrates, and get a moderate amount of protein, you reach a perfect point where your hunger perfectly drives your weight loss.
Exercise and Weight Loss
Exercise is really great. It can increase your endurance, increase lung capacity, increase endorphins, and can be a great way to relieve stress. I love going on walks and reconnecting with nature. Once I lose some more weight I’d love to start jogging.
Exercise increases your calorie expenditure, and is therefore going to increase your hunger. If you are properly following LCHF, you should never ignore your hunger. LCHF is not a mind game. If you are hungry, you need to eat. You have reprogrammed your body and fixed your carbohydrate addiction, so when it is asking for food, it really does need it. Don’t fight it. If you fight it, you are going to lose the energy to work out because you will not have given your body the proper fuel. And please, don’t listen to anyone that says to have to carb load to exercise. Your body can run (literally) on ketones just fine.
For more on both of these concepts, I highly highly HIGHLY recommend reading either of Gary Taubes’ books. He explains it better than I ever could. There are lots of websites that explain these concepts as well… if you’d like to point to any of them, please mention them in the comments!