You’ve been dieting for a week with great success. You’ve cut your calories, you’ve made it to the gym everyday. You’ve dropped a couple pounds on the scale. You notice one butt cheek starting to perk up a little bit. The stars are aligning. A few more weeks of this and Men’s Health or Women’s Health will be knocking on your door to be featured in the next issue.
But then something happens. You’re feeling a little weak during the day. You’re more tired than usual. All you can think about is cheeseburgers and fro-yo. The good kind of fro-yo where you mix three different flavors and shovel four pounds of toppings into the bowl.
No problem, I can muscle through this you think. I’ll just have another piece of celery dipped in fat-free, sugar-free ranch powder.
How long can you sustain this? Is this the type of life you’d like to live?
Unfortunately this is how a lot of people experience “dieting.” And a reason most people do not see long-term success. We’re torturing ourselves in an attempt to be healthier. We think we can either be happy or healthy, but not both at the same time.
I don’t care to use the term diet in general, as it implies deprivation and temporary changes. We should instead be looking at sustainable changes we can make to our eating. If your way of eating is leaving you feeling hungry all the time, you should re-evaluate your strategies.
Here are some smart ways to stay full while you’re working to lose fat. And all involve adding things rather than taking them away…
1) Protein, Fat and Fiber. These nutrients are great at keeping us full. Make sure your snacks and meals contain at least moderate amounts of these. To increase protein, add things like eggs, beef, chicken, fish, beans. For quality fat sources, think grass-fed butter, coconut oil, eggs, avocados, nuts and seeds. For fiber, look to vegetables, fruit (particularly berries), beans, nuts and seeds.
2) Stay hydrated. Your body can confuse dehydration for hunger. So next time you’re feeling hungry an hour or two after a meal, trying drinking a tall glass of water and see if you’re still hungry.
3) Eat whole foods. Processed foods have an uncanny way of packing large amounts of calories and junk into small, unsatisfying servings. Real foods typically have more protein, fiber, fat and water (think fruits and veggies).
4) Eat enough. When trying to lose weight, people tend to under-consume. While this may work in the short-term, it can be challenging to maintain over the long haul. When you’re eating high quality food, you can feel good about eating until you’re satisfied.
5) Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to more cravings, especially for junk food. Look for future posts regarding sleep.