“Why am I so F$@&ing Hungry?”
I want to take the time to explain one reason why ravenous hunger happens when you are dieting down and getting leaner, and hopefully it will help you deal with it as you finish up your diets this year.
As people get lean towards the end of the diet we hear a lot of people say things like “I am getting hungry before my next meal, I know it’s time to eat” or when they really start to get body fat levels down low “I am about to chew my freaking arm OFF before my next meal!” and usually the reason people think they are hungry is that they arent eating a lot during the latter part of a diet. A lot of this extreme hunger we feel is tied to leptin, a hormone that’s often misunderstood tho it’s tied to hunger in a big way. Why is it some people can be eating a ton of food at the end of the diet and experience the same raw hunger that someone eating lower calories does towards the end? Let me explain a few things.
Leptin is a hormone produced in the fat cells that has a number of things it’s tied to in the body such as contributing to metabolism regulation and appetite control for your body’s energy regulation. Leptin is often called the “satiety hormone” because it tells your brain that you are full and satisfied after you eat. The issue we run into when we diet is that when body fat drops and you get leaner, you have less fat cell size. Since leptin is produced in the fat cells, when fat cells get smaller less leptin is made/produced and you dont get the signal that you are full like you do in the offseason. Make sense?
As you diet down and leptin levels drop it also ties to emotional and cognitive control of appetite. So…. mentally you will have a harder time controlling those urges to eat. It makes sense, your body is an amazing machine and is trying to preserve body fat at the end of the day.
Take home message, if you are going to get lean then you ARE going to be hungry as hell I dont care how much food you are eating. With a reduction of body fat comes a reduction in leptin levels and hunger hits. Know this going in so you understand what’s happening in the body and it could be easier to deal with as it’s completely normal.
John (BS, MA, CPT) is a well-respected contest prep coach/nutritionist and the owner of Team Gorman LLC. John is also a published author, public speaker, co-owner of The Physique Summit Conference, host of the Training and Nutrition Truth podcast, and proud member of the 1st Phorm Phamily. His work centers on helping athletes achieve their maximum potential in various sports such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, crossfit, along with high school and college level athletics. You can follow him on Snapchat @teamgorman, on Instagram @team_gorman , on Periscope @teamgorman , or facebook.com/teamgorman .