Nutrition

Appetite Control: Lose Weight, Get Shredded

appetite control

Losing weight is incredibly simple.

All you have to do is take in fewer calories than you burn and BAM!

Weight loss!

Well…in a perfect world it would be that easy, but we're human.

There really isn't any black magic, ancient secrets, or well guarded methods only used by celebrities to achieve single digit body fat, but so few actually accomplish the task.

Anyone can write out or download a diet that will ultimately lead to weight loss.

But the fact is that the vast majority of these diets fail.

And that's because they fail to account for appetite control!

Our appetite, whether influenced by habits, social cues, effective marketing, or genuine hunger is the beast that must be tamed before lasting weight loss can occur.

Once you master appetite control, getting and staying lean becomes much more doable.

Sure-fire appetite control methods

Over the years, I've discovered a number of methods that have helped me achieve vascular abs and quads (mostly from making mistakes that left me feeling ravenous and depressed).

So my tips below are more about teaching you proper appetite control rather than simply shouting nonsense like, “Stop eating so much, fatty!!!”

That type of approach has never gone over well with me.

If you're overweight, you're fully aware of the fact and you know eating less should be the focus of your efforts.

So fear not and follow these 10 tips to make losing that weight so much easier than you've imagined.

SIDE NOTE:  Just in case you happen to be at the other end of the spectrum and can't seem to eat enough, appetite stimulation is your number one hurdle.

But don't worry, I've got you covered in my Skinny Guy's Guide to Gaining Weight.

1. Skip the carbs early in the day

appetite control low carb

I love low-carb diets and in the past have followed them strictly for over a year at a time.

But I've found that they aren't a necessity for fat loss, only one of many tools.

However, we can definitely draw from some of the more impactful aspects of manipulating carbs, as I'll illustrate now.

If I have carbs for breakfast, I'm rarely satisfied at the end of the meal (regardless of how much I eat) and spend the rest of my day preoccupied with dessert fantasies.

But one single morning of skipping carbs in favor of protein and higher fat can turn it all around.

My go-to low-carb breakfast is a massive egg and veggie scramble.

I'm working with a client right now who was a self-proclaimed sugar addict.

He confessed to me that he's been “binging on candy every night like I'm 6 fucking years old!”

He was also concerned that he would need constant reinforcement to kick the habit.

But after one week on a very low carb diet, he has zero sugar cravings and feels fully satisfied on two meals per day.

How's that for appetite control?!

If you don't want to go full on low carb, just skip the carbs during the day, hit the gym in the afternoon, and eat all of your carbs in the evening.

2. Delay your first meal

appetite control skip breakfast

If you're restricting calories (if you're losing weight you most certainly are) it's best to think of your food allotment like a daily paycheck.

Do you feel good if you get paid on Friday and spend every dime over the weekend?

Of course not.

You end up feeling miserable, deprived, and depressed for the next five days. It's agony!

But switching that around and being conservative with your money on the weekend will allow you to comfortably and confidently splurge towards the end of the week.

The same applies to your daily calorie allotment.

By knowing that you have some wiggle room, you'll cruise through what was formerly the difficult period and be able to thoroughly enjoy your evenings.

If you eat the bulk of your calories or a specific nutrient too early in the day, one of two things will happen:

  • You'll either hold strong and stick to your plan, but be absolutely miserable and resentful of “dieting” in general.

OR

  • You'll just say “fuck it” and eat whatever the hell you want, eliminating the benefit of watching what you eat in the first place.

Instead of torturing yourself, have some BCAAs (I like these) for muscle preservation and additional appetite control before heading out the door and wait to eat until lunch time.

To help you survive comfortably until lunchtime, also try to…

3. Drink black coffee (or tea)

gift guide 2015 red supplements coffee

Despite being lean now, I still have the appetite of a heavyweight.

I'm almost never completely full, no matter how much I eat.

But certain timing and combinations of food and drink can crush my inner fat kid.

I haven't taken home food from a restaurant in several years, but on a recent impromptu dinner out with my wife and daughter, I took home half a chicken sandwich and most of my sweet potato fries.

Why?

Because I hadn't planned on eating at that time and had just polished off a pot of afternoon coffee while I was writing.

Even though it had been almost five hours since my previous meal and I had a gourmet sandwich in front of me, I simply wasn't hungry.

Coffee is by far the most valuable appetite control tool I've ever found, especially if you're trying to eat less frequently.

I'm currently drinking and enjoying RED Coffee.

To implement this tip, try drinking a cup (or more) of coffee about two hours before your next meal.

You'll find that just as you start to get hungry and are contemplating eating early or gorging on junk, the coffee will stamp those thoughts right out.

Tea is also good for this task. Although it doesn't have quite the same impact on appetite levels as coffee, it packs a host of health benefits.

4. Drink water with meals

When you drink water on an empty stomach, it quickly moves to the intestines and is absorbed, having very little effect on fullness.

When you're eating, specifically meals containing a good amount of fat or high volume fibrous foods, your stomach is shut off from your intestines so it can do its job in the digestion process.

Drinking water during mealtimes helps fill your stomach and contributes to appetite control.

Ever notice how incredibly gross you feel at a parties where you're snacking on cheese and sipping on drinks all night?

That's the combination of fat and liquids filling your belly.

Having a pint of water with a big meal will eliminate the need to go back for seconds and should quell the desire for dessert.

5. Don't skip the fat

It's easy to want to go super low fat (thus low calorie) with your food choices while dieting.

If losing weight were a simple math problem or we were fueling a robot, this technique would work wonderfully.

But again, we're human, and eliminating all dietary fat from even a single meal can leave you extremely hungry, even if calories are sufficient.

You don't have to go on a high fat diet, but for the sake of appetite control, every meal should have some fat content.

The amount will depend on your total fat intake and number of meals per day, but 10-20g should do the trick.

Trust me – if you walk away from a meal feeling wholly unsatisfied, it's going to set you up for failure (or at the very least, major agitation) later in your day.

6. Eat fewer but bigger meals

Let's face it, if you have significant body weight to lose, you're a big eater.

And I know how you feel.

Sitting down to a tiny meal is basically worse than not eating at all.

Seeing, smelling, and tasting food stimulates hunger, so not having the meal in front of you is one of the better tools for appetite control.

I'm a delayed gratification kind of guy, so I would rather eat fewer meals and spread them out and be able to eat until I'm satisfied.

Eating less than say 500 calories does more harm than good for my hunger levels. And that's right around the number I would have to hit if I were eating 6 meals per day.

In contrast, if I eat 3 meals per day, they can each be around 1,000 calories.

That's twice as much awesomeness per meal for just a little bit more willpower.

Decrease meal frequency to just two per day, Intermittent Fasting style, and things are looking even better.

I can have 1,000 calories for lunch and basically eat whatever I want to make up the remaining 2,000 for dinner.

Saving your calories also lends itself to being better able to accommodate social situations.

It's nice to not have eaten four or five meals by the time someone invites you out for food or drinks.

7. Whole foods are your best friend

appetite control whole foods

Both this entire container of greens and a single teaspoon of sugar have 4 net grams of carbs.

When trying to minimize hunger on very few calories, there isn't room for calorie dense foods that do nothing for appetite control.

If you're hungry near the end of the day, you could choose to eat a serving of oatmeal OR some candy.

Both have similar macro breakdowns, but which is going to leave you more satisfied?

The best thing you can do for weight loss is to learn to like whole foods.

Opt for whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and leafy greens every opportunity you have.

I, myself, enjoy having a massive salad before dinner and like adding a ton of veggies to my omelets.

Hell, I even like to snack on raw veggies while I'm cooking for additional appetite control.

For those of you who don't like eating vegetables, try eating them first thing during your meal when you're super hungry.

That way your brain gives veggies all the credit for satisfying that hunger.

And that's a really important mental connection to make.

8. Take a break

A huge part of why we overeat is because we sit down to an extremely large meal and don't so much as look up from the table.

Delicious foods stimulate the pleasure center of our brains and releases feel good hormones.

Then our bodies and minds go into a sort of primal frenzy.

Our bodies are designed to store calories in times of famine (in the form of body fat) by taking full advantage of calories when they present themselves.

The problem with modern life is that we have the opportunity to feast for roughly 16 hours a day, but most of us will never see famine.

The natural balance simply isn't struck.

So it's up to you to interrupt the feeding frenzy instinct and initiate this appetite control tactic.

When you know you've had plenty to eat but don't feel full at all, take a break.

Get up to go to the bathroom, take the dog for a quick walk, or go to the kitchen and straighten up a bit.

Within a couple minutes, these survival-based hunger urges will have subsided and you're no longer at a high risk for overeating.

9. Avoid liquid calories

For the love of God, if you have a big appetite, don't “spend” your precious calories on juice, soda, or girly coffee drinks.

You are setting yourself up for failure by drinking calories that do absolutely nothing for appetite control.

Best case scenario, beverages like orange juice and sweet tea will encourage your sweet tooth, leading to decreased willpower down the road.

Even diet soda, though zero calories, primes you to crave more sweets and carbs later.

And unless you're running a marathon or partaking in two-a-day football practices in the August heat, there is no reason to even look at a sports drink.

This is one of the best health and fat loss changes I've ever made.

The old me used to grab two or three cans of soda from the fridge as I sat down on the couch to a dinner of an entire frozen pizza.

Now it's mainly water and black coffee for me.

10. Know how much you're eating

appetite control track intake

Just as skinny guys don't eat nearly as much as they think, overweight men eat far more than they realize.

Before you can even think about appetite control, you need to know when it's important to implement the other techniques.

I can ballpark the nutrition content for almost all foods, but when I'm out at a restaurant and see that they've managed to squeeze 65 g of fat into two fish tacos, I become genuinely pissed (so I created this healthy recipe).

It's incredibly easy to overeat and not realize it, even if you're making a conscious effort to be strict.

Adding some condiments to your meal, grazing on the office cookies, and having a meal at your favorite pub will have you on the fast track to “spontaneous” waist expansion.

Unless you track everything you eat (at least for a while), you'll never be able to figure out your maintenance level so you can eat slightly under that.

Tracking your food also teaches you to evaluate food choices and will equip you with the knowledge necessary to not only lose weight, but to keep it off in the long run.

I've been tracking my food intake for a very long time and I'm still shocked at how calorie dense some common foods are.

Take-away

Really guys, getting lean doesn't have to be complicated.

It doesn't have to decrease your quality of life.

You don't have to turn down every social invitation or avoid holidays and family gatherings.

Yes, it's going to be difficult and it's going to take willpower, dedication, and self-awareness.

But this truly isn't an impossible task if you employ the right tools and stay consistent with their application.

Follow the methods I've laid out and take what is a foolproof plan on paper and make it your reality.

To give yourself the best possible chance of success in your weight loss endeavors, start with just a few of these tips.

Allow yourself time to acclimate to the changes and then incorporate as many additional techniques as needed until you're crushing your goals.

And most importantly, be consistent!

You've got this.

All the best,

Nate

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Av0046
    January 9, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Hey Nate!nice informative article. I know its a out the topic query,but i am looking to buy my first suit. I wanted to take your suggestion on poly-viscose fabric. Please suggest some other fabric too that you think will look good in navy blue color. Thank you

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 9, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Generally, synthetic fabrics are used in lower quality suits. For a long garment life and comfortable wear, natural fibers are your best choice. A three season wool will be your best choice (and it wont be itchy). Check out Suitsupply for the best bang for your buck.

  • Reply
    Seb
    January 9, 2016 at 8:44 am

    If everyone on a new year diet reads this the success rate will be through the roof. Outstanding, straightforward advice that anyone can apply immediately.

  • Reply
    Jonathan
    January 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    This is a good way to start the year. I’m in the same boat appetite wise, so I’ve always struggled with eating the correct amounts. It’s like my stomach has only three settings: starving, hungry, and oh-my-god-why-did-I-eat-so-much. Nice to have a quick-reference guide I can keep in my phone. Thanks for a great post!

  • Reply
    Eric
    January 9, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I guess I’ll have to try to start drinking more water since I can’t really handle drinking coffee after noon. Sounds silly but it really does keep me up at night even though I drink a couple cups every morning.

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 9, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      You could always try decaf or low caffeine tea. For me at least, decaf coffee has nearly the same appetite control benefits as regular.

  • Reply
    Marcus Harris
    January 9, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Nice one,

    Delaying the first meal really works for me and I don’t mind fasting for a bit. Throw in BCAA’s and an ECA stack and your a fat burning machine. I lost 17 pounds by cutting out carbs but it was miserable. Skipping breakfast is way easier.

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 9, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      I’m right with you, low carb diets are great but they make having a social/on-the-go lifestyle very difficult. What are you using for your ECA stack. As far as I know the good stuff was banned a long time ago in the U.S. Is there a new formula?

  • Reply
    efe
    January 9, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks Nate. Great article. This blog is one of my favourites.

  • Reply
    Benjamin
    January 10, 2016 at 12:40 am

    I just found this blog thanks for the great read.

  • Reply
    Damian Pros
    January 10, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Solid tips Nate.

    I use them all and can vouch for the effectiveness of all of them.

    Another thing I like to do when I am cutting, is to go HIGH in calories 1 day every week. Not so much though. For instance, if my maintenance is at 2700, I normally eat 2200 to cut.

    For that high calorie day I will eat 3000-3200.

    This hugely boosts the fat burning effect the other day and puts the body into an anabolic mode to burn MORE fat in the following days.

    Not to mention that it satisfies you like crazy. When you eat just 2300 calories, going up to 3000+ even for a day feels incredible.

    I used to be afraid (like most) that if I do this, I will break my progress. But what I have discovered is that it helps you continue the cut for longer and achieve even better results.

    -Damian

  • Reply
    Harind
    January 12, 2016 at 2:57 am

    Great read Nate!

    I’ve recently started skipping carbs in the morning and upped my Veg Intake. The other points mentioned are great and I will try and implement them as soon as!

    Unrelated to Diet, I was wondering what your thoughts are on Fasted AM Cardio sessions? Or will you be doing a post about it sometime in the future? Something I’ve been reading into a fair bit but yet to implement as my normal waking hour is 4AM (due to a long commute). Wondering if it’s worth implementing into routine first thing as I wake up for better results to get lean? Any advice would be helpful!

    Cheers!
    Harind

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 12, 2016 at 5:21 am

      Fasted cardio has it’s pros and cons. You’ll likely burn body fat at a slightly elevated rate, but will risk losing lean mass in the process. In the end, your results will be nearly identical so do what works for your schedule. Cheers!

  • Reply
    Jacob
    January 12, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Excellent tips! I’ve been using tips 2 & 3 together with great success. My first meal is typically a small lunch and then a larger dinner in the evenings. If I get hungry in the morning, I chug down a couple cups of coffee and that’ll last me until lunch.

    I usually avoid decaf coffee because I don’t really see the point (Who wants unleaded when you can have diesel?), but you make a good point about even decaf as an effective appetite suppressant. Will have to give it a shot.

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 12, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Coffee really does work wonders for delaying hunger. I sometimes have to revert to decaf after I’ve had 30 oz of regular plus a pre workout in the am and then spend the rest of the morning sipping even more regular.

  • Reply
    John Tyndall
    January 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Hey Nate,
    This is an awesome article and very timely for me. I’ve just started coaching a couple of guys on diet and fitness, and I will definitely be referring them to this article!
    Thanks!

  • Reply
    Simon Tiger Singh
    January 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Nate,

    Great Post!!! I have been playing around with IF lately and am liking the results I have been doing a 5-6 day IT with 1-2 cheat days. Usually having the coffee with Butter/MCT oil is helping suppress the appetite too I’m thinking. Would you recommend doing IF on days that I am not training also or should you increase Carbs? Any thought’s

    Thanks

    Simon

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      You can do IF 7 days per week. If you want to be even more strict, keep your carb intake to only training days and have them just before and right after your workout.

  • Reply
    Martin
    January 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Nat,

    Greetings from France. Very nice physique in that pic. Which exercises gave you these ripped shoulders ?
    My 2 cents for slow but steady weight loss :
    – Reduce food diversity and particularly “instant pleasure highly palatable” foods. You are much more likely to overeat with an increased diversity of food ingredients or courses. Have just ONE serving with ONE delicious ingredient (super sauce, avocado, greasy meat, good quality ice cream, cheese) served with boring but fulling ingredients (salad, rice, legumes, tuna etc) and you will satisfy your taste, avoid tempt your brain to get another serving of “dope”, while keeping your macros.
    – Evening binge-eating after a stressful day will ruin your day caloric deficit. Take just one medium plate of calorie-dense food and right after, instead on looking on this empty plate and keep asking your stomach/brain “am I full ?”, go directely to some 30 minutes time-spending mindless activity like washing dishes/ironing/take a walk. Simple hack.
    – Alcohol and couch potatoe-ing in the weekend will ruin all your week caloric deficit. Stop at the second beer on the night/Take a walk and breath some fresh air when you feel like you will spend this saturday afternoon snacking.

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 12, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      These are some great tips, Martin! I’ve noticed the one about limiting delicious foods and will have to write a part 2 and include that for all the guys who haven’t read the comments. Shoulders are a weak point for me so I focus on heavy pressing and rowing combined with lots of volume from lateral raises.

  • Reply
    Shobhit Choudhary
    January 18, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Hey Nate,

    You have an amazing website. I landed on your website first time through bold and determined last year. I shared quite a bit of articles to my friends here. I specially liked the one, Are you exercising or Training!

    I have been following the above mentioned points for a while now. I eat clean all day and have limited my carbs for the night post-workout. I have a sweet tooth and I really can’t give up on chocolates and other Indian sweets.

    Anyways what do you recommend for protein intake. Being a eggetarian I mostly rely on egg whites 12-15 everyday, and protein shake(2 scoops) and cottage cheese, nuts, milk etc.

    I’m 6’2 and I weight 185 lbs. I eat somewhat around 120-150 grams of protein as of now.. What’s your say on how much of protein I should be eating ? Tips to eat more ?

    Thanks man!

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      I’m glad you’re enjoying Iron & Tweed and thanks for sharing with your friends! For protein intake, what you’re doing is probably just fine as long as you’re able to make the progress you want. If you feel that your gains are lacking, try kicking it up to 185 grams per day for a few months and see if you notice a difference. Since your sources are limited, you could throw an extra protein shake in there to reach those numbers.

      • Reply
        Shobhit Choudhary
        January 19, 2016 at 12:24 am

        Thanks for the prompt reply Nate. I’m a little skeptical about throwing in 3 shakes per day, won’t the body get used to the stimulus ?
        What about you, you weight 185 lbs too, how much do you eat? And what about protein cycling?

        • Reply
          Nate
          January 19, 2016 at 6:40 am

          I’ve never concerned myself with the body getting used to a protein powder since it’s a nutrient, not a drug. If you don’t want to do another shake, just add in another egg white meal or make each one of your current meals a little larger to contain an extra 10 grams. I currently consume 240 grams per day, but that’s on the upper end of what’s generally recommended. See what happens if you bump your intake up to 185-200.

          • Shobhit Choudhary
            January 20, 2016 at 12:32 am

            Yeah I know protein powder is plain food but at the same time I also believe every nutrient has its own stimulus.

            I was consuming 180gms of protein, high carbs and fats for about 12 weeks. I added Casein and cottage cheese to my diet.
            I noticed drastic improvement in my lifts, my bench press went up from 180lbs to 295lbs 2RM. I was also gaining fat so I started the cutting phase sooner.

            An article like this is a reminder and is always motivating. I will surely uptake my protein intake substantially and update you about the progress. If you can write about protein cycling (like carb cycling) that would be great.
            Thanks man!

  • Reply
    Atlanta Man
    January 19, 2016 at 10:30 am

    This site is good, your fashion tips are good for older guys like me. I dig the workout tips too. Please do an article on getting the six pack back for older guys if you get a chance. Beards Rule!

    • Reply
      Nate
      January 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      I’m glad you’re enjoying my work, Atlanta Man! The methods for getting a six pack are the same for young and older guys alike. Just keep at it!

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