Sick of feeling like food is all you can think about? Do you want to learn how you can stick to an Optavia diet without feeling hungry all the time? We’ve got the perfect thing for you!
There are a few reasons why people can be hungry on Optavia, and fortunately, they all have very simple solutions.
Below are super effective, backed-by-science tips that will help you reach a healthier weight with minimal hunger pangs.
Why am I so hungry on Optavia?
Feeling hungry on the Optavia diet was definitively a new experience for me. In the past, my stomach was full after every meal I eat.
(Like 9 out of 10 full, where 10 is the fullest ever.)
So with 3-4 square meals per day (and a few snacks), I was full for most of the day. I felt comfortable.
I’m not sure if you can relate, but when I started Optavia, it felt like I was always hungry.
My stomach felt like it was growling and no matter what fuelings I eat, I was thinking about food all the time.
(My first week was the worst.)
For the first time in my life, I felt uncomfortable in regard to hunger. Initially, I thought I was doing something wrong.
I thought I wasn’t eating enough
Feeling hungry all day long was so foreign to my body like a new language.
I was completely lost and I couldn’t think straight.
Although I wasn’t getting any shakiness or headaches, focusing at work was very difficult.
I was getting easily irritated with my colleagues.
My work projects were done with minimum effort (or even not done at all) because I couldn’t wait for the lunch break to eat.
After a couple of weeks, I realized that my hunger is still there, but I become more comfortable with it. It didn’t feel like an emergency anymore, but rather like a regular thing.
It became clear to me that the feeling of hunger is a common part of cutting calories and is one of the fat-burn signs on the Optavia diet.
Soon, I learned to distinguish the difference between feeling famished and just having an appetite.
Okay, I’m ready – How to control hunger on the Optavia diet?
Do you wanna know what to do if you’re hungry on Optavia? Controlling my hunger was the most difficult, yet most rewarding challenge I’ve done.
Although it’s normal in the beginning to feel extra hungry (as your body adjusts), I started to experiment with my eating schedule, trying different fuelings, and exercise routines to find ways to control my hunger.
1. Choose the most filling Optavia fueling
Although most of the Optavia fuelings have the same nutritional value, some fuelings are more filling than others.
According to the randomized controlled trial published in the British Journal of Nutrition, “people who drank liquid shakes felt less hungry than people who ate chocolate bars.”
In that study, both shakes and bars had the same nutritional value.
“Liquid shakes induced a lower subjective motivation to eat than chocolate bars,” states the journal.
Choose the most filling Optavia fuelings that will keep you full for longer.
Here’s a photo of my favorite (and most filling) Optavia fuelings.
Here you see Optavia’s creamy chocolate shake, strawberry shake, and tropical fruit smoothie.
Instead of eating Optavia bars, choose a creamy shake mix. Instead of eating Optavia chocolate fudge pudding mix, choose hearty options.
2. Make your fuelings more satisfying
You can make your favorite fuelings more filling and satisfying.
Instead of blending your shakes with water, use low-calorie almond milk, cashew milk, or other Optavia milk options.
(Just make sure you count them as condiments.)
When eating hearty options like roasted garlic mashed potatoes or red bean and vegetable chili mix, add more low-carb vegetables.
Here’s what I like to add to my shakes to make them more satisfying.
In out home we use almond milk and cashew milk (mainly becasue my wife is lactose intolerant). We also add chia seeds to make shakes more filling.
Adding more volume of food almost always helped to keep me feeling more satisfied, with minimum extra calories.
3. Eat slowly
According to the randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, “people who ate their meal faster felt less full than those who ate their food slower”.
“Slow rates of eating led to people taking in less food and drinking more water,” states the journal.
The BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care Journal states that “Slow-spaced eating increased fullness and decreased hunger ratings in overweight and obese participants”
You can reduce your hunger pangs by eating slowly. Start by timing yourself and allow 15 to 20 minutes for each meal (including Fuelings).
Try to make a one-time experiment. Take your Optavia bar and cut it into 10 equal parts. Eat one part every 2 minutes. Notice how your hunger feels.
4. Choose high-protein foods
One of the things that helped me to control my hunger levels on Optavia was choosing the right protein sources.
According to the article review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “protein usually makes people feel fuller than carbohydrate or fat. This may help people eat less under normal dietary conditions.”
Here’s a photo of my lean and green meal, packed with chicken, pork, and some veggies. (Yes, it also has white rice.)
Higher protein diets can help you burn more calories and feel fuller for longer. For your Lean & Green meals, always choose foods that are high in proteins.
I also recommend playing around with your Fuelings.
Add more protein-rich foods to your snacks, or simply choose shakes that are identical to Optavia, but are higher in proteins.
5. Drink more water
I cannot tell you how many times I thought I was feeling hungry (and reached for a snack), only to find that I wasn’t actually hungry at all.
(I was just thirsty.)
If this sounds familiar, you might want to try drinking a glass of water before grabbing your Fueling.
Optavia suggests that your water intake should be at least 64 fl oz per day.
According to the randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, “people ate less when they drank water before their meal, compared to when they did not drink water before their meal”.
While the actual act of drinking water doesn’t necessarily help you lose weight, it can help you feel fuller and more satisfied, so you’re less likely to eat when you’re not actually hungry.
Plus, water has zero calories, so it’s a great way to cut down on empty calories from your diet. If plain water is not your thing, consider using Optavia approved water enhancers.
6. Drink calorie-free beverages
One of the easiest things I did to control my hunger pangs was drinking diet sodas or other calorie-free Optavia approved beverages.
I understand that diet soda has artificial sweeteners, but I feel like if I drink one 12-ounce can of diet soda, I’m not as hungry later.
If you don’t want sodas, consider using Optavia-approved sweeteners with your teas and coffees.
If you don’t want to drink diet sodas, try a low-calorie lemon smoothie. One lemon has 17 calories (1) and when I blend it with ice, it keeps me full for a couple of hours.
7. Create your eating schedule
Another thing that helped me feel less hungry on Optavia was to experiment and create my own eating schedule where I was eating at the same times for the day.
Follow your Optavia guidelines. Don’t skip your Fuelings. Start eating within 30 to 60 minutes after you’re awake. Eat every 2-3 hours.
According to the recently published article in the Journal of Lipid and Atherosclerosis, “If you eat breakfast regularly and at regular meal times, you are more likely to have healthy habits and get enough nutrients”.
“This affects your metabolism and helps prevent obesity and other problems,” states the journal.
8. Reduce your stress
Another thing that made me feel hungry all the time was stress.
I noticed I get hungrier after I had to deal with some problematic situations. On the contrary, I also noticed that when I managed my stress, my cravings went away.
According to the Annual Review of Psychology Journal, “stress affects people’s behavior in different ways. People might eat more unhealthy foods, move less, and sleep less when they are stressed.”
To reduce stress at the moment, find a quiet space for 5 uninterrupted minutes. Create and listen to a relaxing music playlist during your time off.
Look for an experienced therapist and schedule a weekly massage.
To reduce stress, I like to exercise, meditate, and use steam rooms and saunas.
Here’s a photo of me relaxing in the sauna to reduce my stress levels.
Here’s what my face looks like after cold water swimming – also works great to reduce stress.
I find that cold water swimming (and cold showering) works really well to reduce stress and makes me less hungry.
9. Ensure you have enough sleep
One of the first things I needed to change to get rid of my hunger pangs was to improve my sleep.
Journal of Sleep Research published an article where they stated that “a single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger”.
For me, poor sleep was one of the things that often throw me out of fat burn state and led to overeating.
10. Drop the booze
Most experts agree that too much booze isn’t just bad for your health – it could be gumming up the works of your weight loss efforts!
According to the article review published in the Current Obesity Reports Journal, “alcohol can make the meal more enjoyable and increase appetite.”
“Drinking alcohol before or during a meal is linked to poor short-term energy compensation,” states the journal.
The extra energy from the alcohol is on top of the total energy taken in from the food, making people want to eat more.
By consuming empty calories from alcohol, you might not feel as satisfied after eating and your metabolism can grind to a halt.
After a few too many drinks, I always find myself with an increased appetite for high-calorie foods.
Now, I think twice before reaching for that extra glass if I’m trying to stay trim.
A few words on starvation
Struggling to stay full? Finding the perfect meal plan is key.
If you feel your hunger pangs are getting to the point of severe discomfort and constant food obsession (despite trying the aforementioned tips), you may not be eating enough food.
If your hunger persists, start by checking out other Optavia plans.
Optimal Weight 4 and 2 and 1, as well as the 5 and 2 and 2 plan, both offer more calories than the 5 and 1 plan.
However, if you tried some of the tips from the list above, and still experience hunger, I recommend you should consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.