To lose body fat, we need to be in a calorie deficit (eating less calories than our bodies need for our daily activities and functioning)... but this doesn't mean you need to be starving yourself! If you're struggling with daily hangry-ness try these easy tips...
#1 take a minute to stop, breathe, relax and think are you actually hungry or is it something else? Being bored, stressed, depressed or over-tired all are all emotional states that might cause us to feel ‘hungry’ even if we just ate 5 minutes ago. They raise cortisol levels which cause cravings. Step back and think of how you’re feeling at that moment. Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 – 10 (the highest being dying of hunger). If you aren’t an 8 or higher, then don’t eat.
#2 Avoid simple and refined carbs such as bread, biscuits, sugars, pasta, chocolate, fruit juice and most processed foods. These cause havoc with your blood sugar levels and insulin levels, stimulating more hunger! These also stimulate the reward centre in your brain, causing you to want more and more. If you’ve ever tried to eat 2 squares of chocolate and ended up eating the whole block you understand... #thestruggleisREAL
#3 Always eat some good quality fats with each meal. Fat has more calories than protein or carbs but it increases satiety or that feeling of being “full”. Fat also helps regulates hormones, which include the hormones that tell you when you’re full.
#4 Choose a meal structure and stick to it! Lock in the times when you are going to eat, even with your snacks. Decide on the meal times and don’t eat outside of these times. This stops random snacking and going too long between meals, which we all know can make you HANGRY and cause you to eat whatever you can get your hands on quickest.
#5 Eat lots of protein spaced throughout the day. It takes a long time to digest and will keep you feeling fuller for longer, especially animal based protein sources. Have a protein rich food every time you eat and aim to hit your protein goal every single day for best results.
#6 When you make your meals aim for VOLUME. This means making meals as BIG as possible without a huge amount of calories and vegetables are perfect for this. E.g. add handfuls of spinach to EVERYTHING, use a bag of grated carrot to bulk out meatballs or rissoles, blend your smoothies with a tray of ice and veggies (zucchini & cauliflower!), mix roasted veggies with your rice, add chia seeds to thicken sauces, curries and smoothies, put grated zucchini in your oats! The bigger it is, the longer it will fill you up and the happier you will be.
#7 Drink more water. We’ve probably all heard this one before but it’s so true! A lot of the time when we think we’re hungry… we’re actually thirsty. Make yourself a tea, some soda water with a splash of lemon and mint, add some fresh fruit into a jug of water, or drink your BCAAS. Make drinking water something you enjoy, not a chore or you won’t do it.
#8 Getting your sweat on (especially using weights) increases insulin sensitivity and fights stress, both of which help control your appetite. Try and do something every day to get your heart rate up, come to the gym and let everyone else motivate you to get going ;)
IF ALL THIS FAILS...
Then you are probably in too big of a caloric deficit. You need to check your calories and eat more food. Eating too little calories is dangerous and will have the opposite outcome your after! Muscle loss, tiredness, hormonal issues, mood swings, deficiencies, hair/nail weakening, even fat gain.
So don't starve yourself on 1000 calories per day. Eat well, eat a little less for weight loss or a little more for muscle gain.
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