When you're on a weight loss journey if you're eating according to the correct intake needs of your body you shouldn't be on aggressively low calories. Your metabolic capacity is far greater than the 1200 calorie allowance the diet industry preaches is 'right for you'. In saying that though, in order to lose body fat you are required to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you're expending more energy than you're consuming. It's normal in this state to feel a little hungrier than usual - you're essentially eating less food, but the aim of the game is NOT to be starving yourself! Some people have greater appetites than others whether they're on the right intake or not. It's in these times that dieting poses challenges like cravings and wanting to eat beyond the plan.
We've put together some tips for those times that you know in light of your goals that you've hit your limits. Perhaps you aren't even wanting to eat out of hunger but just because you're having some cravings and are wanting to eat - which is so common!
Our Equalution client down 6kgs and 22cms in body measurements in 7 weeks following a customised meal plan reflective of her food preferences and body's intake requirements. She was still able to dine out on a weekly basis and drastically improve her relationship with food now no longer binging.
1. Sugar-free beverages: things like Diet Coke, sugar-free cordials, iced teas etc can give you a good sweet hit and satisfaction without derailing your adherence.
2. Coffee or tea: coffee or tea works as a great suppressant for nil calories in comparison to opting for a snack or meal. Add Equal/Stevia for added sweetness. Our favourite tea is peppermint tea with a little sweetener for a refreshing and satisfying beverage which you can have hot or iced!
3. Chewing gum: don't overdo this one because it could have the opposite effect, but chewing gum can help with giving you a little sweet hit and help with that need to mindlessly chew on something without all the added calories!
4. Low-calorie hacks: get to know your low-calorie foods like watermelon, celery, carrot, pumpkin, strawberries, blueberries etc that you can snack on without blowing your day's intake. Just remember all food has calories so in excess consumption beyond 100 or so grams (a small serving) you should factor this into your allowance. Tip: if you're a fruit lover add some sugar-free maple syrup for extra sweetness to satisfy those cravings! Savoury lovers - get to know your seasonings so you can use salted herbs and mixed seasonings on your veggies for some added flavour and satisfaction.
5. Drink water: a lot of people confuse dehydration and your body's call for water with wanting/needing to eat. Drink water if you're feeling peckish as you might be in need!
Be proactive about your hunger and reduce the likeliness overeating by:
1. Volumising your meals with vegetables: add low-calorie veggies to volumise your meals without quadrupling the calories. Our go to favourites include stir fry mixes, beans, pumpkin, carisma potatoes, zucchini, cauliflower and sugar snap peas!
2. Increasing your fibre: fibre slows the digestion process, quite literally holding the food inside you for longer but also allowing for better digestion. Aim for 10-15g fibre per 1000 calories as a general rule of thumb, this will keep you fuller for longer.
3. Increasing your water intake: while keeping hydrated may not necessarily directly affect hunger, it'll help to ensure that there's no confusion between thirst and hunger. Aim for about 1L per 23kg of body weight.
4. Switching to reduced fat/lower calorie options: get to know your lower calorie alternatives that will allow you to get more bang for your buck in meals density without all the added calories. There are calorie alternatives for everything from dairy to veggies to breads. Some of our favourites include:
- Chobani Greek yogurt
- Yoplait Forme yogurt
- Nestle Soliel yogurt
- Buttercup Country Split bread
- Carisma potatoes
- Kent pumpkin
- Goodness Superfoods barley wraps
- Mountain rye wraps
- Peters No Sugar Added Ice-Cream
- Kraft light peanut butter
- Purebred gluten-free rolls
- Aeroplane diet jelly
- Nestle diet chocolate mousse
- Skinny cow ice cream range
- Cobs popcorn
- Deli meats
- Crankt protein shakes
- Musashi low carb bars
5. Timing your exercise in with your meals: work out when best suits your appetite and energy levels to exercise i.e. before or after breakfast or dinner etc. Be mindful of 1) having enough energy for your session and 2) not getting too hungry after.
6. Pre-planning your day in advance: Don't log and track your food as you go, it's can open the flood gates for being left with poverty macros and little choice at the end of the day. Understand the calories in the food you're eating and eat pragmatically i.e only splurge on a calorie-dense meal if you know you can handle the taper back in the latter part of the day.
7. Reducing snacking: more frequent eating can set you up for wanting to constantly snack. Instead, make your meals denser and more satisfying so you're not constantly feeding yourself with empty and unfulfilling snacks.
Dieting can be hard. It doesn't have to be painful and nor should it be if you're eating according to the science of fat loss which shouldn't see you on aggressively low calories daily. However, it's normal to 'feel the pinch' given you're eating less than you're accustomed to and less than your body is burning. Be wise with your meals and resort to the above tips to reduce the need to and giving into going astray. Ultimately you want to ensure you're compliant given it's not about how adherent you are for one day but rather consistent over a period of time.
Your mindless eating, always wanting to eat and feeling unsatisfied could be symbolic of a poor relationship with food, directionless nutrition or a poor method. Feedback we constantly get from our clients is "it doesn't feel like a diet" and nor should it. If you're eating to a correctly strategised intake need of your body you shouldn't feel like a ticking time bomb. Practice a science-based, customised and non-restrictive method of dieting and start seeing results in the first week. We use foods of your choice to meet your intake needs for your goals.