A key component to fat loss and sustainable fat loss for that matter is being self aware enough to realize if your body is actually hungry or if you are mindlessly eating while binging on Netflix. We have all been there
But, one of the number one reasons people can’t stick to any diet plan is because they get hungry and when they are hungry that donut their coworker is eating looks and smells allotttttt better than if they are also eating that same donut every day. Agreed?
For the sake of this blog, let’s say you are motivated, being very disciplined with your nutrition and you are physiologically hungry. You aren’t stress eating or binge eating because you are bored. You are legitimately hungry because your stomach is growling, you are losing focus at work or school and all you think about is your next rice cake snack.
Let’s also assume you aren’t doing some extreme smoothie challenge or 7 day fat blaster injection shots with a 500 calorie diet. Let’s assume you are eating in a calorie deficit and but not starving yourself. You have limited portion size, while keeping a good amount of protein in, carbs relatively moderate and health fat levels in the middle. You aren’t purposely restricting any food groups just because you want to. You are eating a well rounded and “healthy” diet..just less food than you normally eat. You aren’t trying to starve yourself because you have been reading my blog posts and you know crash diets won’t work so you are trying something new 🙂
Alright. So you are 4 weeks into this and you are HUNGRY. But, you don’t want to give up because you are feeling less bloated since your processed carb intake is down. You have energy to workout still because you didn’t cut out all carbs. You aren’t super sore after workouts because you kept that protein shake in your plan. Good good. But, you are still HUNGRY.
Trust me, this will happen. Part of dieting is being hungry. This takes discipline and this is why you don’t want to always be in a stage of “trying to lose 10lbs,” because being hungry is a stressor you shouldn’t have in your life year round.
Here are some tips to help with hunger while trying to lose those lbs:
- Make sure 30-40% of your calories come from lean protein sources, because protein keeps you full longer than carbs or fat. Food like chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish, whey protein, rice or pea protein, Greek Yogurt, beef jerky, low fat string cheese sticks, eggs, egg whites, beef jerky and protein bars. Every meal or snack you eat should have one of these protein sources.
- Eat more fiber. Don’t take out green veggies and fruits that are loaded with fiber. These foods will also keep you satiated. Shoot for 1-2 servings of fruit (berries, apples and bananas are best for fiber) and 4-6 servings of green veggies per day. What is a serving? A serving is 1/2-1 cup of fruit or veggies.
- Drink more water. Drink 10oz of water before every meal. Shoot for at least half your body weight in ounces per day OR even up to a gallon (128oz). I like to drink 10-20oz before bed so I am not waking up hungry at 2am…if I have to pee, I have to pee.
- Don’t completely cut carbs out of your diet. Remember carbs give you energy to have quality workouts (especially lifting weights) and we still want you working out smartly while on a diet. Also, the longer you go without carbs in your diet the larger the binge will probably be when you finally allow yourself to eat them. Try to keep your carb intake stacked around your workouts. Healthy carbs like: oats, fruit, rice, quinoa, whole wheat or Ezekiel bread are great pre and post workout carb options. Then try to limit carb intake the rest of the day to veggies and maybe another serving of fruit.
- Don’t skimp on healthy fat either. Fat has 9 calories/gram while protein and carbs only have 4 calories/gram. This means healthy fats are more calorie dense and will fill you up. When I drop my calories to lose body fat I always make sure to have almonds and peanut butter around….but also make sure I measure or weigh out the servings to make sure I am not eating too much of them.
- Try intermittent fasting. This is up to you but has worked great for me. I wrote a blog about it HERE. Fasting has worked wonders for my hunger levels while dieting. It is tough at first to adjust the first few times, but I found I was more focused and thought less about food the more I did it. I recommend trying fasting 1-3 times per week at most.
- Make sure you are following a flexible diet. The more restrictive you are the more you will hate the diet. Allow, yourself some variety with the foods and meals you eat, as long as you are eating enough protein and keeping your calories where they need to be to see progress. For example, allowing yourself a cheat meal of pizza once per week is OK as long as you don’t over do it. Or, maybe you can fit in 3 Hershey Kisses at lunch but you know that is your dessert for the day even if your husband brings home cheese cake. This takes discipline, but will allow you sustain the diet for longer.
- Keep yourself busy. Go for a walk, call your friend. Do something to get your mind off food until your next snack or meal.
- Exercise?? For some people exercise can be an appetite suppressant. For others though it can cause hunger pangs….this is me. So, don’t completely take exercise out of your life, but maybe cut back slightly while you are eating lower calories if you feel daily exercise is exacerbating your hunger.
- Drink some caffeine as this is a pretty well studied supplement for appetite control. 80-300mg a day depending on how much you currently take in is a good guideline. A black cup of coffee is 60-80mg as an example. Don’t drastically increase your intake just for appetite control though as that will cause other side affects. An extra cup of black coffee in the morning or between meals might help, but really focus on the tips listed above before going all in on this one.
- Give yourself a diet break. This could 7-14 days of eating more food (not binging though and losing progress), but mentally and physiologically resetting the body. Or it could be 3-6 months of giving yourself a break from dieting. Yes, you might think I am crazy for saying take 6 months off, but if you have been dieting for 3-12 months you will need it. Not only mentally, but your body needs a break before it breaks down.
Nahla is always hungry…but reads my blogs and has learned good discipline
In the end you will have two choices though, because hunger will be inevitable if you want to continuing losing more weight. You have to decide what is more important to you RIGHT NOW, eating that donut or losing the next 10lbs you have been trying drop for a year. There is nothing wrong with eating the donut and sometimes that is just what you need to do, but unfortunately being hungry is part of the “dieting game,” so being prepared is your best way to handle it.
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