61: 4 Tactical Moves to Manage Increased Hunger

Apr 15, 2024

Feeling extra hungry lately and not sure why? After recently transitioning from Wegovy to ZepBound, I noticed a significant increase in appetite. But whether or not you've changed medications, there are a whole bunch of factors that could be contributing to increased hunger pangs.

But instead of hitting the panic button when hunger strikes, remember that tough times in your health journey are the perfect opportunity to put on your detective hat and uncover the root cause. So today, we’re delving into what might be causing a surge in hunger levels and uncovering four practical ways to manage it effectively.

Factors Impacting Your Appetite

If, like me, you've recently switched weight loss medications, that can of course be a major factor contributing to increased hunger levels. But the first answer is not always to go up on the dose of medicine. In my case, there were several other factors at play, which is why it’s always worth troubleshooting other changes in your life as well.

Here’s an inventory of potential contributing factors to consider if you’ve recently experienced a surge in hunger:

  • Stress levels: Stress comes in all shapes and sizes, from work deadlines, to sickness, to  worrying about your loved ones. Lately, I've been putting in more hours at work, which, while fulfilling, definitely ramps up my stress levels. 
  • Time zone changes: If you've recently traveled or experienced a time change, your body might still be adjusting. We recently had a time change here and even just one hour can throw me off for days!
  • Travel and routine disruptions: Anything that throws off your daily routine can mess with your hunger cues. Vacations are a prime example. Sure, they're fun, but suddenly changing your sleep and meal times can leave your body feeling out of whack.
  • Changes in exercise: A lot of people don’t realize just how much exercise can increase your appetite and there are certain types that will affect people differently. For example, walking doesn’t always increase my hunger levels but when I upped my strength workout duration, it has a much bigger impact on my appetite.

A lot of these factors were affecting my ghrelin levels during the day. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that says, “You're hungry, start eating” and so we need to carefully examine why our ghrelin levels would go up. And there are lots of reasons for this from stress, to sleep deprivation, to long fasting times.

Four Steps to Tackle Increased Hunger Levels

Regardless of the factors affecting your hunger levels, the good news is that there are practical steps you can take to manage it.  

  • Evaluate your water, protein and fiber intake

Personally, I've found that increasing my fluid intake to at least 100 ounces per day has made a significant difference. I’ve also focused on keeping protein levels high, aiming for at least 100g per day (but usually more towards 170 grams of protein daily) ensures that I feel satisfied and nourished. And when I'm very hungry, my body does best with volume eating. And so focusing on fiber-rich foods has been really important to keep me feeling fuller for longer periods.

  • Assess processed food consumption

Another important step in managing heightened hunger levels is to examine your intake of processed foods. And just to be clear, I'm not here to demonize processed foods - they have their place in many diets. However, I've personally noticed that consuming foods like potato chips and chocolate tends to fuel my hunger rather than satisfy it.

While these foods may fit into your calorie goals, they often lack the essential nutrients, hydration, protein, and fiber needed to keep hunger at bay. Therefore, if you're looking to curb hunger, it might be worth experimenting with reducing or eliminating processed foods from your diet for a week or two to see if it makes a difference. In my experience, cutting back on processed foods has consistently helped alleviate hunger. 

  • Prioritize sleep

Although it might not seem directly related to hunger, sleep still plays a significant role. Aiming for at least seven hours of quality sleep per night can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping hunger hormones in check and reducing stress levels.

Of course, if you struggle with insomnia or other sleep disorders, it's essential to seek professional help. There are various medications, therapies, and strategies available to improve sleep quality, so don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.

But even if you don't have a diagnosed sleep disorder, it's worth examining your sleep habits. Are you giving yourself enough time to wind down before bed, or are you binge-watching Netflix until the early hours? While there's nothing wrong with indulging in some screen time, it's crucial to establish boundaries and prioritize sleep.

Personally, I'm pretty strict about my bedtime routine - I prioritize sleep over everything else. Even if it means turning down late-night appointments or sacrificing some "me time," I know that getting enough sleep is essential for my overall well-being.

So, take a moment to reflect on your sleep habits. Are there any changes you can make to ensure you're getting enough rest? Remember, quality sleep can make a significant difference in managing hunger levels and maintaining metabolic health.

  • Exercise: Less is more

When it comes to exercise, a lot of us always think more is better. We think that it's going to get us further, we're going to lose weight faster, we're going to put on muscle better, etc. But that definitely has not been the case for me. I had to cut back my workouts to 10 minute strength workouts because of the impact it was having on my hunger. And despite that, I actually continue to put on muscle. 

So, ask yourself: is your current exercise routine serving you well? Are you feeling energized and balanced, or are you pushing yourself too hard? Remember, it's okay to scale back if needed, or even to explore alternative ways to stay active, like walking, which personally helps me stay grounded and focused.

Ultimately, it's about finding the right balance that supports your overall well-being, both physically and mentally. So, take a step back, be curious, and adjust your exercise routine accordingly to better suit your needs and goals.


Just two weeks ago, I found myself facing a surge in appetite due to various factors like medication changes, time changes, and shifts in my work routine. But instead of panicking about derailing progress, I took a proactive approach.

I upped my water intake, boosted my protein consumption, and paid close attention to fiber. I also slowed down my eating pace, recognizing the importance of giving my brain time to register fullness signals from my stomach.

I revisited some of my dietary choices, making small adjustments to minimize processed foods that seemed to exacerbate my cravings. And in terms of exercise, I had to acknowledge that sometimes less is more. Scaling back on my strength training routine, even though I initially craved more, was necessary for maintaining balance and managing hunger effectively.

Reflecting on this experience, I've learned just how important it is to be my own detective when facing challenges with hunger. When things feel tough, don't hesitate to dive deep, explore, and find what works best for you.