Not not hungry
February 2, 2011 9:48 AM   Subscribe

How have you successfully decreased or suppressed your appetite?

Interested in long and short-term appetite control, any and all methods, even questionable ones.
posted by hellboundforcheddar to Health & Fitness (61 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
By drastically reducing carbs and increasing fat/protein intake.
posted by The Toad at 9:51 AM on February 2, 2011 [12 favorites]

Yes. By cutting the proportion of simple carbs in my diet and upping the protein, fat, and fiber. No more crashing, no more "If I don't eat something in the next five seconds I'm going to keel over or bite someone." My calorie intake has gone down, but I'm pretty much never starving.
posted by rtha at 9:52 AM on February 2, 2011

Completely cutting out sugar and simple carbs. I unintentionally dropped 20 lbs doing just that, even while still eating tons of complex carbs.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:53 AM on February 2, 2011

Same here, low-carb (2nd generation Atkins) all the way. I'm less hungry all around, my appetite doesn't go up after a good cardio workout, and my energy level is great. I'm down 23 pounds since Christmas!
posted by TungstenChef at 9:56 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Getting the flu or a stomach illness. Though I think actively trying to get sick would be an excellent example of a very questionable appetite suppression method...
posted by jng at 9:58 AM on February 2, 2011

Nthing losing the simple carbs. I've noticed that since going low-carb not only am I satisfied with less food, I don't experience pangs of hunger when mealtime is approaching. I sometimes have to remind myself to eat by looking at the clock. No other method had helped reduce my appetite like this.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:59 AM on February 2, 2011

Cut way down on processed food in all forms - this will eliminate most simple carbs and empty calories.

Keep busy. If your hands and mind are occupied, you're less likely to turn to snacks as a form of entertainment. Limit your exposure to advertising so you don't see food ads - no magazines, TV commercials, etc.

Also: make sure you are actually getting enough to eat. If you aren't, you will be hungry and you will have a very difficult time trying to convince your body you aren't. "Fasting" is one of your tags - is there a medical reason you're fasting or thinking about it?
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:05 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

By getting up and doing something else that will distract me. Something involving my hands is always good - who wants to snack while knitting or playing Angry Birds? Any active, non-sedentary activity is good, though.
posted by Sara C. at 10:07 AM on February 2, 2011

Coffee works for me as a short-term appetite suppressant.
posted by LN at 10:08 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

fasting will do it, at least 3 days of just juice will shrink your stomach and at least short term diminish your appetite.
posted by katypickle at 10:09 AM on February 2, 2011

All of this. And rotate low-cal liquids (water > tea > kombucha (if you like it) > sparkling spring water > rinse, repeat) so staying hydrated doesn't feel like quite a chore. But so much up protein and significantly reduce carbs.

And if you can keep on going eating less for a week or two, your stomach will shrink and you won't have to eat as much to feel full.
posted by smirkette at 10:12 AM on February 2, 2011

Bacon (all said and done, it was more low calorie than I'd thought). Canned fish (Sardines, tuna, mackerel).
posted by jangie at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2011

Calcium citrate supplements, which I was taking for something else (I was aiming for the recommended 1000 mgs a day, spaced out over two to three daily doses). Discovered I got full much sooner, and ate about a third less than I usually did at meals.

I didn't keep this up for very long, so I can't tell you if it wears off after your body adjusts. I'm also not sure if this happens to everyone who takes calcium citrate.
posted by castlebravo at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2011

- Eating a more filling breakfast that would probably still horrify low-carb people (a substantial bowl of old-fashioned oats with a couple tablespoons of almond-butter-and-flaxseeds, some honey, and usually cinnamon and sliced bananas), reducing less nutritious carbohydrates (e.g. rice, pasta, bread) and filling my plate with vegetables that I actually like the taste of. I can't believe it took me this long to figure ths out.

- When I had a choice of migraine preventive medications, choosing Topamax. I was aware of the side effect, and since they all had various side effects, thought it might not be a bad thing given my health goals at the time.

- Spending three months in Taiwan and eating Taiwanese food and portion sizes. This had two effects: My actual stomach (the one inside) seemed to shrink, and I completely lost my taste for American candy bars. (Nearly all of them, except for a couple, tasted disgustingly sweet to me.) The latter effect was permanent; the former went away to some degree even though I tried to maintain it. Everyone just eats so much here. But I still take home an awful lot of leftovers from restaurants...

I don't think that any of these are questionable (given that I had migraines--Topamax is not the kind of thing you would want to take for fun)...somewhat impractical, perhaps.
posted by wintersweet at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Green tea - I drink about three cups a day, and it really seems to help. No clue if it's placebo, or if it's just the liquid intake.
posted by SNWidget at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2011

posted by Bango Skank at 10:17 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing protein, noting high fiber. When I was eating less than 100 grams of carbohydrate a day, I was never hungry. (It was hard to sustain this on a vegan basis since I was eating huge amounts of peanut butter and soy and a ridiculously expensive amount of vegetables, but I did end up changing my diet in general)

A surprisingly filling breakfast is a whole wheat english muffin with two tablespoons of peanut butter. I also make and eat a lot of vegetable soups, some low-fat and low calorie (pureed greens cooked with broth and sauteed onion) and some fatty (coconut milk and tahini mixed into a spicy broth). Soup is filling and meets that urge to eat.
posted by Frowner at 10:18 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

12 hour sudafed
posted by asockpuppet at 10:23 AM on February 2, 2011

The best way i have found is to always have your next meal/snack planned. I lost about one hundred pounds some years ago, and this is the only way i've found to never feel hungry.

I eat small things every three hours, and drink at least one (reusable plastic) bottle of water in between.
posted by Blisterlips at 10:37 AM on February 2, 2011

Since you asked for questionable methods . . .

Without insurance, my moderate amount of dental work became a multi-appointment process at a dental-student clinic over the course of a few months. I wasn't allowed to chew (and couldn't taste much) on one side of my mouth, so eating became much less rewarding.

Because eating was a chore, I ate smaller portions and less frequently. My body got used to the new normal, and even after my teeth and taste buds were functional again, I got full on small amounts of food and couldn't eat as much as pre-dental work.

I was at a healthy weight beforehand, and lost 15-20% of my body weight without meaning to.

[Months later, I went to see my family for Christmas. My beloved grandmother was (it turned out to be her last Xmas) a wonderful cook and my family has lots of food-centered holiday traditions. I got back into my old, normal eating habits and have gradually returned to my old, normal weight.]
posted by Signed Sealed Delivered at 10:42 AM on February 2, 2011

I also came to say sudafed, since you asked for questionable methods. Man, that stuff makes me not hungry for a really long time.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:50 AM on February 2, 2011

As for a bad cold, take decongestants for 4 or 5 days, using the recommended dose. They work, I think, by "drying up" mucous membranes such as those in your nose causing the trouble when you have a cold. But they greatly reduce hunger, presumably by "drying up" gastric secretions. Perhaps questionable, certainly off-label, but already mentioned above. Good to kickstart a diet, but I wouldn't carry it on for too long.
posted by iChas at 10:59 AM on February 2, 2011

Fasting cardio and a low carb diet - I woke up and did not eat anything until I'd finished my workout, at least five days a week. Then the first thing I ate was something with protein - yogurt, chocolate milk, or eggs. The less carbs I ate, the less hungry I was. One of my meals every day was a big salad with some kind of protein and a creamy cheese dressing - the dairy fat filled me up. Half the time my first meal was lunch (I found the longer I went without eating in the morning, the less I ate during the entire day - sort of a break-the-seal type of thing); I also usually stopped eating after about 8 PM.

Keeping busy was crucial - if I was running around doing X, Y, and Z, I didn't have time to sit and feel snacky. I drank a lot of plain cold water, and a lot of water with "crystal lite"-type low-cal flavored drink powders, so that kept me feeling full as well.
posted by flex at 11:06 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another voice for the low-carb approach, here.

I went on a conventional diet (calorie restriction, aiming to lower fat) a few years ago and was completely freaking miserable *all the time* due to hunger. After 6 months I was ready to quit my job, divorce my husband, put my kids out with the recycling. I vowed I'd never diet again, it was so awful.

Few years on (and with that prior weight still off): I jumped on the Atkins bandwagon in November and my experience of hunger is completely different--it is not at all that horrible, gnawing, impossible-to-ignore miserable feeling. Now I'm just...hungry. Sitting with it for a while is not crazymaking.
posted by Sublimity at 11:12 AM on February 2, 2011

long term - eating natural foods, decreasing or cutting out sugar will redefine feeling hungry/full. we've come to a place where feeling "full" is actually bloated and gluttonous.

it takes a few weeks (and a lot of grapes/apples/carrots/hummus/etc) but after a couple weeks - your whole attitude toward food will change. most of these things you can eat as much as you want of - so you're not really ever going hungry.

but it takes a couple weeks to adjust and those weeks can kind of suck. the payoff is huge - and not really far off in the general scheme of things.

repeat ... payoff is huge.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 11:20 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Questionable? Coffee and cigarettes. And cocaine.
posted by lilnublet at 11:48 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

FIBER---I have a HUGE appetite and recently started eating Fiber One cereal two meals a day, I am usually not hungry until dinner. Even on the days when I have not had the cereal in the morning, I think I am eating less, as my thoughts about food have changed a bit.
posted by jennstra at 11:55 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

If I were you I'd be more confused after reading this thread.

Personally I like to find ways to bolster what I am eating with low calorie "fillers." For example, I will add diced and peeled tomatoes to things for low calorie volume. A can of veggie chili + a can of tomatoes = about twice as much food for not twice the calories. Or a smaller portion of mac and cheese + the tomatoes = a much larger portion size.
posted by thorny at 11:57 AM on February 2, 2011

Seconding stimulants, although this really only works for a short time and not at all for weight-loss. (because you end up eating extra when you stop taking them). Also, stimulants tend to make you go batty when you take them for more than a short period.
posted by ooklala at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2011

Low carb works for me. It's been surprisingly effective at keeping me from being hungry. I still get hungry after a point, but it's not the OMGmusteatnow! hunger I had before I started eating low carb.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:10 PM on February 2, 2011

Like others have mentioned, cutting out sugars is a HUGE HELP. Upping your vegetable and fruit intake. Green tea helps. If I feel snacky I'll have a cup of iced or hot green tea and 75% I'll realize I was just thirsty, not hungry.

Cutting out processed foods... lots of manufactured junk is designed to make you want to crave and eat more of it.

Also, pick up an addictive hobby if you can afford it. Even if it's a video game like WoW or learning a musical instrument to watching tv series. You'll be rushing home to do activity than to eat. At least for me, a lot of times that I overate was simply before I was looking for something to do.
posted by xtine at 12:15 PM on February 2, 2011

Short term, a Nugo bar and a glass of water hold me over for a few hours.

And I've heard that Pu-erh, Oolong, and Yerba Mate teas act as hunger suppressants.
posted by booth at 12:17 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're fasting, chewing gum can help suppress your appetite some.
posted by Andrhia at 12:21 PM on February 2, 2011

1) Being happy and busy and too absorbed in my work to focus on food, or even sometimes to remember to eat without prompting;

2) Have a soup course before the main meal.
posted by amtho at 12:52 PM on February 2, 2011

Full fat milk and a ladle full of buttered vegetables.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:57 PM on February 2, 2011

Shirataki noodles are literally no-cal; the ones without tofu added have no calories (or very close to none). They're made of water and fiber from a yam-like plant. You can eat them for fullness without calories.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 1:08 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

I find that if I eat breakfast, weirdly enough, it kick-starts my appetite and I am ravenous for food by like, 10:45. I hear all the time that people are supposed to eat breakfast, though, so this may be bad advice.

I drink a cup of coffee (or two) at about 9 - 9:30 AM and I find it keeps me good to go until early afternoon. Coffee is miraculous.
posted by amicamentis at 1:44 PM on February 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Oh - and I find that I get really food-focused and cravey when I know there are sweet things in the house. Not really an appetite, per se, but I definitely want to eat more. So the solution is not to buy anything sugary or have it around.
posted by amicamentis at 1:46 PM on February 2, 2011

Low carb again. I follow a strict cyclical ketogenic diet keeping carbs under 20g a day 6 days a week. I only eat carbs on Saturdays for the sake of exercise performance in the week ahead. Hunger is a non-issue.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 2:01 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stress, stimulants.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:11 PM on February 2, 2011

Water. Lots of water.
posted by General Malaise at 3:07 PM on February 2, 2011

Short term - warm liquids. As previously mentioned coffee, tea, broth, etc. will temporarily kill those hunger pangs.
posted by deborah at 4:03 PM on February 2, 2011

Long-term: dealing with the part of my personality that made me want to eat when I wasn't hungry as a way to comfort myself, to quell anxiety, etc.
posted by oceanview at 5:00 PM on February 2, 2011

There's a kind of dumb diet I did once when I was younger and stupider. You drink two tablespoons of a relatively flavourless oil (olive oil if you can find a not-very-flavourful one, otherwise canola oil works), and don't eat or drink anything except water for an hour either side of that. The oil kills your appetite for hours. A tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories, so if you eat two tablespoons of that about an hour after dinner, and that stops you from snacking all evening, you are probably ahead.

The theory behind this trick is a bit dodgy and to do with the flavourlessness of the oil, and supposedly drinking sugar water was meant to have the same effect. In reality, I think the hit of pure fat gives your body the false signal that you just ate a lot (because usually that much fat would be a small part of a much larger meal). So the eating-free window either side may not be essential. (Although I think that is partly because if you start associating the calorie hit from the oil with the flavours from certain foods, your body learns to crave those foods, which is an unwanted side effect.)

Also, drinking the oil made me gag and I stayed nauseous for a couple of hours afterwards, which put me off eating.

Anyway, it's a kind of stupid idea, but not dangerous and maybe even good for you, given what people know today about "good fats".
posted by lollusc at 5:02 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

@amicamentis - i have the same thing. if i eat breakfast, i eat constantly for the rest of the day. it's awful ... i eat at least my weight in food those days.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 5:26 PM on February 2, 2011

Another one for low carb.

Alternately, stress, being very busy, deadlines, looking after a baby, coffee and cigarettes. And nausea too.
posted by kitcat at 6:22 PM on February 2, 2011

I'm not much of a breakfast eater for the same reason amicamentis and crankyrogalsky mention. I've noticed that when I use heavy cream in my morning coffee in place of milk & sugar, I'm easily able to coast (happily!) until lunch.
posted by biddeford at 6:28 PM on February 2, 2011

A tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories, so if you eat two tablespoons of that

For breakfast this morning (which came about five hours after I woke up; I've never had much appetite when I first wake up), I had two eggs scrambled with about 1/2 a cup of 2% cottage cheese. And some hot sauce on top. 242 calories, and way yummier than two tablespoons of oil. (Plus, you know, protein and stuff. And it took five minutes.)
posted by rtha at 7:07 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I stop exercising regularly my appetite plummets.
posted by ropeladder at 7:16 PM on February 2, 2011

Low-carb works for me, as does the paleo diet.

I also find that I'm more hungry when I'm bored, sitting around the house all day. Less when I'm slightly active and interested in what I'm doing.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 8:50 PM on February 2, 2011

Surprised nobody has mentioned The Shangri-La diet.
posted by LongDrive at 11:46 PM on February 2, 2011

Water, water, water. I've started drinking 2 glasses of water a little before every meal and it helps me control my portions.

By far the easiest hack around for this!
posted by maca at 12:58 AM on February 3, 2011

What lollusc is talking about (with the olive oil) is the Shangri-La diet.
posted by rottytooth at 5:13 AM on February 3, 2011

If I may piggyback just a bit -- Can someone clarify about cutting out sugar? Does that mean not adding refined sugar (or honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, etc.) to things, eating desserts, eating anything with any kind of sugar? I'm pretty sure just about all food has sugar, so how can you tell if the sugar is ok or not?
posted by The Dutchman at 7:16 AM on February 3, 2011

Response by poster: Chiming in with thanks for all of the responses. Keep 'em coming!
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 10:09 AM on February 3, 2011

This is definitely a "questionable method." Just type "five bite diet" into Google and watch the vitriol fly. Funny, however, how none of the people who are slamming the diet have ever tried it. I have, and I lost 40 lbs relatively easily. Got lazy, gained a lot back, started again and I'm down 12lbs in 10 days. YMMV, but I recommend it. I now eat about 1000 calories a day, and I feel great. Still losing. :)
posted by Spyder's Game at 11:32 AM on February 3, 2011

Wellbutrin! Here's a highlight from Wikipedia: "Over a period of 6 to 12 months, weight loss in the bupropion group (4.4 kg) was significantly greater than in the placebo group (1.7 kg)."

And nthing water water water.
posted by argonauta at 7:12 PM on February 3, 2011

I take "Glucose Tolerance" (Gymnema Sylvestre), L-carnitine, green tea capsules, and 5-HTP (5 hydroxytryptophan) daily and MIC injection once a week. I started this in mid-September and have lost 28 pounds. I have never been able to lose weight before due to the medications I take and my medical condition(s). I am very rarely hungry.
posted by Prairie at 7:56 PM on February 3, 2011

Topamax. I was taking it for another reason, but I ended up stopping it because it decreased my appetite too much.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:06 AM on February 4, 2011

I got a neuroimmune disease and went from "can't stop thinking about when I can eat next and what it'll be" to "don't really care that much about food." It was a really strange personality change to undergo. I lost the 20 lbs. I'd always wanted to lose, going from average weight to shockingly thin, but the illness has eventually left me bedridden. I wouldn't recommend it as a method.
posted by jocelmeow at 5:31 PM on February 5, 2011

on a lighter note...

lots of sex with your honey (no, the other one... the one you live with) should do the trick!


...err... wait, maybe that doesn't sound right? Sex with spouse causes one to lose appetite? Uhh... no... I mean, sex-ercise will help curb urge to snack/over eat... will generally cure what ails you!

...yeah, that's what I meant!
posted by Jiff_and_theChoosyMuthers at 7:26 AM on February 8, 2011

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