“My diet is going great! I am just starving all… the… time.”
Words from my client, in which we had a giggle over, and then following by a mini perspective session. Because I have been there before, but also learned you can only go around starving all the time before you finally give in and just say screw it.
You may know from my blogs that in college, during spring training for volleyball I might add, I did the Slim Fast mean plan. Shake for breakfast, shake for lunch and a sensible dinner.
Had to take a brief typing pause to put my hands over my face and shake my head. It’s okay because it was a true learning experience and one of the main reasons I lean toward a mindset based philosophy in creating healthy habits over writing meal plans for people.
I had the same feelings as my client had. It wasn’t too bad. I liked the chocolatey shakes, I was just starving all… the… time! I couldn’t wait until dinner because the food tasted sooooo good! My willpower held up for a solid month until I had a panic one day.
Am I suppose to buy these shakes forever? What will I do when I don’t have them? Just like all meal plans or strict diets and guidelines I had a false sense of comfort. It felt good to be in control but I was left without the tools necessary to continue. Lesson learned.
Keep in mind there is a middle ground. You do not have too either be starving or indulge completely. You can keep your hunger in check in a way that leaves you feeling like you can trust yourself to make good food choices on any given day.
Here a few tips to help control your hunger so it doesn’t feel like it is controlling you.
Do less steady state cardio.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is doing steady state cardio for 30, 45, 60 minutes plus. Some are able to control their hunger, others struggle big time.
If you notice a pattern in wanting to eat more after longer cardio sessions I strongly encourage you to try a new way. Choose shorter, more intense cardio sessions, and strength training as they create a different hormonal response which will effect your hunger and craving in a more preferable fashion. Less hunger. Less cravings.
Eat more protein.
While I do not encourage over consumption of protein, I am a big believer that protein should be included at most meals or snacks during the day as it is incredibly satisfying. I see people make the biggest mistakes at breakfast choosing cereal, muffins, or yogurt high in sugar.
This will cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels and a quick drop leaving you hungry and craving more. Adding protein will help slow the digestion and slow the spike in blood sugar levels.
Back off the artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners can sometimes cause you to crave more of the sweet stuff. This is often the case with diet soda drinkers or low calorie drinks. Though you may feel full temporarily they trick your body into feeling full until your true hunger kicks, your body realizes it is missing calories and causes you to eat even more.
Balance your fat and carbohydrate intake.
As in make sure you have enough of both. This is one that will take a little bit of experimentation on your part. I have seem some people do really well on higher fat, lower carb diets and I have seem some people do better on slightly higher carb and lower fat diets.
The main point I want to emphasize is do not be scared of either. I personally do better when my carb intake is slightly higher. I went through a phase where I tried to limit my carbs at night, only to overeat before bed time because my body was craving for more.
Once I added in a small portion of carbs I was able to control my hunger and cravings better AND sleep more soundly. You must be the detective and investigate to see what works for you.
Eat less processed foods and more veggies.
Vegetables contain more water and fiber and will keep you fuller longer. Plus they are full of tons of vitamins and minerals that play a crucial part in your health.
Processed foods are designed to taste good. They are loaded with a combination of fats and sugars that our tastes buds just love and keep us coming back for more and more and more. Plus they are often high in fat or sugar, or both, and low in fiber and protein, therefore are not feeling and leave us feeling never satisfied. Ever try to eat a plate full of broccoli? But a bag of chips? Box of cookies. It is so much easier to overindulge.
Keep in mind that hunger is not inherently “bad” but you do not need to feel starving all the time to make progress.
Feeling starving all the time does not indicate success and feeling satisfied does not indicate failure. Keep on practicing and you will find what works for you.
In the mean time grab the free Ideal body Cheat Sheet which I created to help you learn how to make progress without being stuck to rules and restrictions.
Additional resources here, here, and here.