New to Huel... and dieting, p much

Hi all!

I’ll give you some background leading me to Huel. =)

For most of my life I’ve had a very easy time staying slim, but in the past eight years or so I went through rough times that led to frequent comfort eating, and I guess it doesn’t hurt that I’d surpassed the age when I could get away with that sort of thing every now and then. That eating, with special thanks to the fact that I never learned to pay much attention, became habit.

Coming from a family of perpetual dieters and disordered eaters, I was resistant to making any changes or experimenting with dieting for fear of inducing the disordered eating behavior I’d seen growing up. To this day, my mom and sister are still suffering the effects of bulimia, despite no longer purging. My sister recently has had success with the “keto” diet, and like clockwork my mom started a new diet of her own after seeing her results, and I vowed not to follow suit. For as long as I can remember, my mom has been religiously fat-phobic, and in defiance of dieting, as an adult I’ve indulged in full-fat everything.

But I’ve been on a steady trajectory of weight gain, and while I don’t have an impressive amount to lose, so to speak, I figure it will be much easier to lose a little now rather than much more down the road. I am unhappy with how I look in clothes, even when they “fit," and the fact that I have “outgrown" a few sizes now is getting frustrating and costly. I have been hanging onto a favorite pair of jeans I wore ten years ago, along with a couple pairs from about eight years ago, and ideally I’d like to fit those again. Even if for no other reason than it’s hard to find the same quality of jeans nowadays! lol

As you can see, it’s important to me to be careful and gentle with myself about this. I strive to be body positive and believe that how much you weigh does not reflect your value as a human being. And it is still extremely important to me not to fall into unhealthy, obsessive patterns. That said, I am having a hell of a time corralling these other unhealthy, obsessive patterns I have developed. =/

I did try to count calories with MFP at the first of the year, and that worked and helped me lose about five pounds or so, but I quickly fell off the wagon. One thing I know for fact about myself is that I struggle mightily with self-discipline and am very easily tempted by thoughts of junky foods. And as much as I genuinely love the taste of healthy foods, I am somehow extremely thoughtless about planning ahead for meals and find myself ravenously hungry with absolutely nothing on hand to eat. Add to that, I’m extremely lazy about food prep, anyway. =/ It’s not hard to see how I frequently wind up eating fast food.

Enter: Huel. I figure with meal shakes I will have absolutely no excuse. I’ll always have a quick, easy, nutritious meal on hand.

So I used a TDEE calculator and I’m getting back into MFP and I’m thinking I will use Huel for 2-3 meals per day, or about a bag a week, to make it easier to stay at a 500 calorie deficit. I think for me it would not be realistic to do 100% Huel all the time, so I will have a handful of nights each week where I’ll have a regular solid meal.

However, I have some concerns…

I tried my first Huel for lunch yesterday and then had another for breakfast today, both 100g/400cal servings. Both times I found myself quickly hungry again, within 2-3 hours. =( As I have never dieted for any extended period of time, I am not familiar with handling the inevitable feelings of hunger that come with eating at a caloric deficit. That hunger is the habit trigger that has brought me to the fast food window time and again, and without well-exercised discipline, I worry that I will easily give into it. Satisfying hunger is such a primal human imperative, the idea of overwriting a pattern linked to it feels nearly impossible!

How have you all managed to overcome triggers such as that and exercised discipline until it became your new habit? I will obviously avoid watching the Great British Baking Show, or any other obvious tempters like that. But other than that, I got nothing.

Also, how can I be sure that I’ve accurately estimated my activity level when using the TDEE? I mean, a few days a week I’m completely sedentary, a few days a week I work for 4-8 hours on my feet, once (or more?) every week or two I ride my bike or take a hike, a couple times a year I do a long hike or bike. It’s really pretty erratic, tbh. I never really go to the gym. I chose “light” activity level on the calculator, so as to be realistic and not exaggerate. Maybe my activity level is more moderate though? Maybe that’s why I’m hungry? I feel it’s important that I get enough calories because eating too little could be just as bad for me as eating too much. =/

Anyway, thanks for reading and I’m looking forward to getting to know you all better through the forums!



Update a couple days in:

So far loving the chocolate flavor, and doubt I’ll get tired of it. Def considering getting some peanut butter powder for further awesomeness.

The other flavor I tried in my intro box was U/U. This is bc I thought I may eventually try to use it almost exclusively in order to avoid the sweeteners, relying on tasty add-ins to make it more palatable. As many before me may have already concluded, this may prove more difficult than anticipated…

My first trial of U/U was served straight-up in order to find out just what it tastes like naked and find out what I’m dealing with. I finished it, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

Thinking I might get tired of sweet shakes, I figured I would try a savory option, while still keeping it simple and easy. I thought chicken broth might make it go down easier, but to my surprise… not so much. (Maybe some further doctoring was needed, such as miso, as I’ve read some here enjoy.)

I did somehow get this feeling that I would enjoy it mixed with Original V8, in all its tomatoey glory (a personal favorite on its own), after getting more acquainted with the flavor in these trials. So I finally tried that tonight, but just as a “snack” (1 scoop) in case it was terrible. I actually really like it! I can’t really compare it to any traditional food, but I find it very pleasant and will definitely be using that as a go-to liquid for the U/U.

As for the hunger, I am still experiencing it between meals, although it is seemingly becoming more tolerable. So far I’ve just been willing myself to stick to my “budgeted” calories, which some days is easier than others. Generally going out with friends is the hardest, and I’ve just been doing my best to estimate how much I’m consuming in MFP afterward, trying not to be obsessive about exact quantities. But I did go heavy on the ranch on a salad AND had a beer at lunch today (was off work, lol) so I went a little over-budget. Holy cow beer costs a lot in calories!!! :dizzy_face:

Another positive is that, while I was a little self-conscious about drinking it at work, nobody seemed to even notice. So that’s cool. Oh, and I’ve already lost a few pounds. :+1:


Hey Sarah, it’s great to hear you’re loving Huel! What can help is consuming your Huel over a longer period of time, unfortunately when you are in a calorie deficit you are likely to feel hungry. Some people, such as @Deron, find that setting a certain number of hours of the day for eating e.g. 8am-8pm helps avoid overeating.

You may also find nutrient dense snacks that are low in calories such as fruit and vegetables work. The whole thing is a bit of trial and error to find what works for you, the same goes for estimating your calorie intake. Depending on your mindset tracking your progress once a week or two weeks using a set of scales or a mirror can give you an idea if you’re on track or not.

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Yeah, I recommend just sticking with it, powering through the hunger. I realized that after some time on Huel, the capacity of my stomach must have shrunk because I would get full much faster with traditional food and my Huel drinks made me feel very full as well. So maybe just keep giving it time and you’ll find that your Huel drinks will eventually keep you full as well.

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Hi Dan! Thanks for the reply! It’s reassuring to know that it’s normal to feel hungry when eating at a deficit. I hope that will help me to not buy into my belly’s convincing story that it’s a life or death situation :joy:

I have been trying to extend each Huel meal over a longer period after reading that advice on here, but sometimes when I’m already really hungry it’s hard. Or sometimes when I’m on a shorter break at work and I have to just drink it quick.

Maybe fasting would be more feasible at a time when I have more of a routine. As of right now I’m a student with irregular work hours, and as aforementioned I can be neglectful of eating at regular intervals to begin with, so just making sure I get the meals in is my achievable goal for the moment. But maybe I will look into that in the future!

Vegetables def seem like the obvious filling snack… however it’s so hard not to want to dip or drench them in something, anything! And for me that something tends to be high in calories. :confused: Dressing or hummus for raw veggies, and at least butter for cooked. Maybe I’m overlooking a better way?

Hi George! That’s super encouraging, thanks! I was already looking forward to the reduced sugar intake helping with sugar cravings, but I didn’t think about possible stomach shrinkage. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do a majority-Huel diet for a while, to kind of reset my eating habits. I’ve read that many others have had success with this on here.

between meals (or shakes) drink water. like it’s your life boat. dietitians recommend drinking at least half of your weight in ounces of water a day, and that’s just to stay hydrated and to keep your organs functioning properly.
if you’re staying moderately active, or getting started on a diet for example, increasing the amount of water that you drink will not only help your body adjust to the new regimen but will help you feel full in-between meals.
substituting fats and sugars with anything else is going to be difficult because they are so addictive. doing a slow burn and replacing certain fats and sugars with more nutritious options is easier to do. you’ll find that it’s not all that hard once you get into the swing of things. it’s just the first couple of days that will make you feel like you’re losing your mind…
drink lots of water. find healthier options to snack on. don’t know what those initials mean that you’re talking about when tracking your calories, but stay on it. do what you need to do for you. anyone can tell you what you SHOULD be doing, but that might not work for YOU.
yup yup


Ahh, the old hunger cravings. They can be a powerful foe. Although now that I have come through to the other side, I now see them as more of a boogie man than I once did. At one time, strong hunger cravings and “panic eating” used to take hold of me.

I know that the main reason for weight loss from intermittent fasting (IF) - a.k.a. time restricted eating - is really due to lowering insulin levels and improving insulin sensitivity. But I also found a psychological benefit. IF really helped me to learn that what I once thought of as true hunger signals was merely psychological and habit. My “inner toddler” would act up if I tried to ignore my hunger sensations and then reward me if I gave in. But just as a parent learns to ignore the childish and non-harmful cries of their 2 year old and can differentiate it from a true emergency, I have been able to better differentiate between psychological cravings and true physiological hunger.

It took me about 2 to 3 weeks to adjust to a 16 hr daily IF routine. And I gradually did it, starting with a 12 hr fast the first few days, then stretching to 14 hours, then 16. My point is not to get you to try IF (unless you really want to), but to show that changing eating habits is a process that takes a few weeks to get used to. I remember my college professor comparing the process of smoking cessation to trying to knock over a tower. “You gotta rock it back and forth a few times before it finally tips.” Many smokers go through a series of quit, then relapse, then quit a little longer, then relapse. The contrast they feel from going back and forth helps to establish new thinking patterns. And the people who view it more as a practice session rather than “a test” usually do better. Practice means you get to try again with no real consequences, as opposed to “failing a test”.

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But let’s talk about some practical tips to help you. Here are a few things I found to help me establish new eating habits. Sometimes a little “mental crutch” is all that’s necessary to get through the transition.

  1. Hot no-calorie beverages. This has been my biggest help. I have found that plain tea, plain coffee, Dandy Blend, or hot water with lemon was the best way to help partially satiate hunger feelings while not adding actual calories. (And it can be decaf.). Find one or two hot drinks, preferably ones that can be made quick and on the spot. Try sipping the hot beverage whenever bec feel hunger sensations to see if this can reduce them or at least distract the brain. You get a nice warm sensation in the stomach. There are a whole host of these non-coffee grain-based drinks like Dandy Blend or Pero with only 3 to 5 calories per serving (which is nothing). Also, forcing yourself to drink plain coffee or tea or unsweetened hot beverages can help retrain the brain to prefer less sweet things.

  2. Apple. There is no snack better than an apple. Most are under a hundred calories, but will fill you up and keep satisfied for a while. The dieter’s best friend is to have a few apples available at a given notice. Carrots are a good substitute as well. In fact, these two foods are so good for you, that I’d not even bother counting them towards calorie total. Feel free to have a few servings of these each day with no guilt. Apples and carrots can stay fresh in the refrigerator for almost 2 weeks. And they taste pretty good cold.

  3. Brushing my teeth. For some reason, once I brush my teeth, my brain forgets about eating food for a while. I guess it’s the thought of having food soon after minty toothpaste which is usually unappealing.

  4. Strong mint-based gum does something similar.

  5. Intentionally delay my dinner by an hour. I would sometimes randomly delay my dinner by an hour (or brush my teeth and then wait an hour) to trick out my brain and mix things up. Keep it guessing. I would then look back that night and see that waiting an hour to eat held no negative consequences for me.

Like my friend told me: “I normally open the door for my wife. But every 4th or 5th time I slam it in her face, just to keep her guessing. Keeps the relationship fresh.”

Thanks Chris! You were right, the first days did seem to be the worst of it. Each day I feel less and less hungry. I am even feeling less tempted by treats. Today I had to make 100 rice krispie treats and cookies for a community event I volunteer with and I had only one very small bite of each – for quality control, of course! :wink: I’ll make sure I up my water game. Oh, and MFP = My Fitness Pal, a calorie and fitness tracking app.


Great tips, Deron! Thanks a bunch! Especially since these are tips I haven’t actually seen elsewhere on here, so I’m super grateful you tailored them to my experience so well.

I have tried Dandy Blend before and remember really liking it! I should def remember no-cal beverages that will give me something to put in my stomach when I’m feeling hungry or bored or snacky. Hot drinks aren’t really my go-to (I’m sensitive to caffeine and just never got in the habit of drinking tea) but I imagine I will really appreciate something hot when foregoing hot meals, especially when it starts getting colder out. If I remember right, that Dandy Blend has a really satisfying, full nutty flavor, too.

You’re totally right about apples and carrots, both of which I love. It is hard to break my association with adding peanut butter or dressing, but I can make a new habit.

I’m not much of a gum-chewer, but I might try the toothbrushing thing. Couldn’t hurt.

Today I waited as long as my schedule would allow before having my dinner Huel, as per suggestion 5, and like you discussed in your first post, I was of course totally fine.

After the first couple reassuring replies about hunger on here, I’ve become more conscious about noticing the feeling and allowing it to be without treating it like an emergency. I’m really surprised at how little will power it’s actually taking (it is still only my first week, but you know…). In the past, experiencing hunger after neglecting to plan a meal has felt like an urgent crisis to throw food at regardless of its quality. But knowing that by the end of the day I will have had sufficient nutrition has made it a lot easier to ride it out. And little by little it’s feeling less and less urgent.

So much of it is definitely psychological. Past experiences and associations and such can reinforce fears that seem to validate the primal urge.

Much appreciation for the thorough response!


Day nine and doing good! I’ve had Huel for at least two meals a day everyday so far. I’ve been successful at keeping within 100 calories of my 500 calorie deficit for seven out of the nine days. I had a couple days of serious taco bell cravings about a week in and gave in, but didn’t go too overboard (still within “maintenance” level calories). Thankfully, I’ve managed to avoid sweets and chips (my major weaknesses) completely! Also, I hardly notice any feelings of hunger between meals at this point.

PBfit has been an EXCELLENT addition to the experience. Now that I have it, I end up wanting to work it into every shake. Still only working with Chocolate and U/U, but I made another order and got a bag of each flavor (all four), so I’ll get to try Berry and Vanilla soon. I got a free bag of the Chai Flavor Boost with my first order, and I added some of it to U/U, but I could barely taste it, even with twice the recommended amount. At that point it started to have a chemical-y taste, but not much chai flavor. I had hoped the U/U would serve as a sort of base for Flavor Boosts, but it’s definitely not sweet enough, even with the stevia from the FB. I’m sure it will be better added to the Vanilla (which seems to be the way most ppl in the forums use FBs). I got the FB sample pack with my next order. I’m still happy to have U/U, though, as it works really well when I’m craving something savory. My favorite liquid for savory recipes so far is V8.

As far as shakers go, I have a few that I’ve been using. I use a 16oz Blender Bottle when I just want a half portion as a snack and it seems to work well with the included whisk ball. I bought a 26oz vacuum-insulated shaker bottle (Ice Shaker brand) for when I want to take a pre-made portion with me to work or wherever. It uses an agitator/ice strainer that twists on to the underside of the lid, but because it takes up so much space inside and with the powders on top of the liquid, much of the powder ends up getting smushed and jammed and clumped up in it rather than agitated by it, so I don’t think I’m going to keep using that piece, maybe the whisk ball instead. Otherwise, the bottle does a decent job of keeping it cold and looks and feels high quality (and isn’t Huel-branded if you don’t like explaining your whole deal). When I’m home, however, I really prefer the Huel shaker. The agitator/ice strainer seems to be the most effective of all, and has the added bonus of not being noisy. And even if I wanted to use the prettier, more expensive mint-colored thing I just got for every shake I make, it won’t help to keep it in the fridge considering it’s insulated, so the Huel shaker ends up being the best choice if I’ll be refrigerating it. Best of all, with all of these, cleaning up is super easy. Quick initial rinse then shake up some soapy water and rinse again.

My guts are really appreciating all the fiber. I personally didn’t bother to ease in super gently, and I somehow avoided any major hiccups in that department. I think I may actually have much less gas than I used to! Should have increased my water intake sooner, but now that I’m on track there, my BMs have been… well, impressive would be a good word. Quite satisfying! :poop:

Overall great experience so far!


Hi all!

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, but after two months I’m still going strong. :smiley:

In the last two months I haven’t binged on sweets or junk once. I’m realizing moderation may not be a goal for me with those foods, as I am so easily tempted and lose control. I think it’s easier for me to just banish all thoughts of them completely. Counting calories has really helped me see that it’s not worth it to blow my whole calorie budget on something that won’t satisfy hunger or contribute nutrients.

As of this morning, I have lost a total of 17.6 pounds, over 10% of my starting weight! A few days ago I tried on my old favorite pair of jeans and they fit like a glove. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: So familiar after all these years, like going home. (I really loved these jeans.) I’ve been wearing them everyday since. :heart::jeans::heart: Another shining moment came when I bought a new fleece (it’s cold here already) and was able to fit into a smaller size of an athletic clothing brand! Woah!

I had a bit of a plateau for a couple weeks that I’m hoping I’m getting past now as I’d still like to lose another 5-10 pounds of fat. I’m not sure exactly what my goal weight should be because looking back at old photos of myself I realize I may have been a little too thin, so I don’t want to rely on an old number as an ideal. Also, I’ve gained some of muscle since then. I’m guessing I will just know it when I see it? I’ve already noticed a major reduction of flabbiness! Very exciting!

Also, I have been getting increasingly active and LOVING IT! In the last two months I have exercised at least 4 to 6 days out of every week, walked or biked to class every class day (twice a week, a total of 100 mins walking each day), swum laps at the pool for the first time in over a year, hiked to the top of the highest mountain in Arizona (whispers I did it for the burger… :hamburger: jk… kinda), and EVEN embraced running!!! Notice I placed way more emphasis on this than the mountain thing! I tried really hard to get into running once and HATED it. Since then I vehemently identified as a non-runner. But I learned about the “Couch to 5k” concept of incorporating short timed jogging intervals with walking breaks and slowly increasing them until you can run the whole time and tried it and loved it! Knowing I’m only doing as much as I feel confident I can handle helps overcome the psychological barriers. I recently decided to splurge (mega-splurge) on an Apple Watch and have been really liking tracking all my activity and syncing it with MyFitnessPal.

These past couple months I have had great energy, as well. I take way fewer naps and hardly ever feel lethargic, whereas that used to be how I pretty much always felt. I don’t know how much of that has to do with Huel and how much of it is all the exercise I’ve been doing, kind of a chicken/egg situation, but either way, it’s working for me and I feel great. At first I thought I might feel like I was missing out on regular food when having a lot of shakes, but I find the opposite is actually true. I’ve come to really love the familiar taste of the shakes and how they fill me up. Sometimes I’ll satisfy some craving of something else only to end up disappointed, knowing I could have gotten way more protein, fiber, and satiation with fewer calories. And as I’ve gotten no more interested in cooking for myself, Huel has turned out to be the perfect solution for me, knowing I always have something I like on hand and ready in minutes.

Every now and then I check in with myself to get a read on how obsessed with my weight I’m feeling. For a while I did feel pretty obsessed, especially when the pounds were falling off. But I think the plateau actually helped me feel a little more patient about it. I have also been careful about how I talk about it all with friends because I know a lot of people can be sensitive to that kind of stuff too. I try to avoid talking about calories or weights with anyone who doesn’t voluntarily get into an in depth conversation with me about it. There are enough pressures about having the “perfect body” in our society without me running my mouth about it, and I don’t want my friends to feel bad about themselves because of my choice to change my body.

One thing I have struggled with quite a bit is wondering how accurate my exercise calorie estimates have been, especially during the plateau. As much as I want to not eat too many calories, I also really don’t want to eat too few, especially if it means entering the dreaded (and according to some, apparently, mythical?) “starvation mode.” I really don’t want to mess up my metabolism or do my body wrong when it’s working so hard. I’m hoping the Apple Watch will take a lot of that guesswork and uncertainty out of it for me, but I know nothing is foolproof. Anybody have any additional tips, experience, or reassurances here? I’ve honestly gotten so used to feeling a little hungry that I could easily under-eat and that kinda scares me.

Congratulations on your progress Sarah!

Exercise calorie calculators are, on the whole, pretty poor. Don’t worry about starvation mode you will have to massively consume under your calorie intake to hit that and it sounds like you’re doing okay. It also won’t mess up your metabolism, the body is pretty resilient.

The best advice I can give is trial and error. As you lose weight you will need to decrease your calorie intake to continue to lose weight. Losing between 0.5-1lb a week is gradual and about the right pace you want to aim for.

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