I’ve learned the hard way that no diet will be successful if you’re hungry all the time. Sheer willpower only saves you for so long before you fold, and begin eating everything in sight. For a weight loss plan to be truly successful, it needs to fill you up with healthy food…ones that will curb your hunger and make you feel satisfied. Only then will you lose weight.

Here are 9 simple ways to control ghrelin, the appetite-boosting hormone that triggers the brain to encourage eating.


Exercise aerobically. There’s nothing quite as effective to curb appetite than getting your heart pounding. Running, stair-climbing, and aerobic sports all can curb your will to eat for as much as two hours. Strength training is good too but is not as effective.

Eat protein. Try to eat plenty of rich proteins that are low in fat, such as lean meats. These protein rich foods are best at curbing ghrelin over a steady length of time. Carbohydrates will satisfy you at first, and then leave you hungrier than before, like a yo-yo.

Curb your sugar. Much like carbohydrates, sugar spikes your blood sugar. Then as the sugar is regulated by insulin, comes crashing down, causing a desire to eat more. Not only is sugar addicting, it adds no nutritional value. Your body does not need sugar for survival.

Eat your breakfast. This is a perfect time to eat protein. Eating lean protein at breakfast controls hunger for longer periods of time than any other time of the day. Eggs, lean meats, and protein rich smoothies and cereals are all good choices.

Add good fats to your diet. I know, this is the opposite advice of the low-fat craze that many of us grew up with, but your body needs healthy fats to function well. The body converts the unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, avocado and salmon into a compound that tells your brain to curb appetite.

Eat smaller meals more often. Having a small amount of food in your stomach throughout the day stimulates the production of a second hormone, peptide YY3-36, that reduces ghrelin production. This also helps to never have that starving feeling which can lead to overeating. The key word is “smaller”; watch your portions and choose wisely.

Plan ahead. When you’re hungry, survival mode kicks in, and you’ll grab the first food you see. Plan ahead by stocking your shelves with healthy quick foods, like nuts, cut-up vegetables, low fat cheeses, and low glycemic fruits. Keep healthy snacks in your car; they’re easy to package in snack-size bags.

Lower your stress. Why are so many of us stress eaters? Because the body makes extra ghrelin in response to stress, and makes us eat, especially foods like carbohydrates and fat. Find a stress-busting activity, like listening to music, calling a friend, going for a walk, or watching a funny movie.

Lose weight. Easier said than done, I know. But the above techniques will also help you shed a few pounds. People with leaner bodies produce more peptide YY3-36 than those who are overweight.