Does this sound familiar? You’re trying really hard to stick within your calorie goals, but every time you start to crave or get bored, you just crave and have a snack: you always end up going over your diet limit by a couple hundred calories.
It’s a hard fact that hunger is usually something everyone will encounter during a diet.
Research continues to uncover numerous interacting and overlapping hormones (such as leptin, ghrelin, etc.) that monitor how much and what someone is eating and they send a signal to the brain that drives a number of processes, not the least of which is hunger.
It would be easy to deal with if hunger was only due to non-physiological reasons. For a lot of people, we get hungry for various reasons – it could be boredom, it could be we go out somewhere and it’s expected that we eat or it could be we just saw an advertisement for KFC or some food we like.
One way you could approach the situation is to ask yourself what is driving that hunger? Is it physiological or psychological?
The problem is that the distinction between the two is increasingly fuzzy and difficult for many of us to understand.
Hunger is exceedingly complicated and finding out ways to deal with hunger while dieting is a huge first step in making any diet more effective.
So here are few practical tips that can help you to better control your hunger while dieting:
1. Get a food scale and portion out your food
Eating in moderation is a key. Here’s an article about how you can better control your food portions.Once your body adapts to eating smaller portions, you will more easily feel full. Also, find your “bad eating” trigger and make a promise to yourself not to buy it.
2. Eat fruit
One aspect of hunger has to do with the status of liver glycogen- the sugars which are stored in the liver. When liver glycogen is emptied, a signal is sent to the brain that can stimulate hunger.
The fructose sugar found in fruit works to refill liver glycogen, so it’s a good idea to include a moderate amount of fruit in your diet as this can help you feel less hungry.
3. Eat more fiber
Fiber can help with hunger in two ways. The first is that the physical stretching of the stomach is one of many signals of satiety; in other words when the stomach is physically stretched the brain thinks you’re full. High-fiber and/or high-volume foods- (foods that have a lot of volume for few calories) like vegetables, accomplish this very well.
Secondly, fiber slows gastric emptying, the rate by which food leave the stomach. By keeping foods in the stomach longer, a high-fiber intake keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
4. Include foods you like in every meal & snack
If you are continuously eating foods you don´t like then you will be more tempted to give in to cravings. That’s a simple fact that we always want what we don’t have. This leads to frustration and “snacking accidents”.
5. Drink 2 glasses of water when hungry or before meal
If you go into the kitchen and pour yourself some calorie free water or a hot drink you will fill yourself up and the cravings will pass. Drink water before eating will minimize the quantity of food as well as keep your body fresh and fit.
6. Be more flexible
No, we are not talking about doing splits… but rather about diet flexibility!
I think this is the number one area most people have trouble with and more often than not, it is what derails their progress.
Any diet which restricts you for long periods of time can be bad. What if you deprive yourself from a food that you love? Growing frustration is likely to happen.
Of course, the follow-up to this is that when dieters do eventually eat the food they’ve been deprived of (and they will), then they just feel guilty and miserable. They then feel sorry for themselves, convince themselves they’ve blown it and eat the entire bag or box of whatever it is, and abandon the diet altogether feeling frustrated and unhappy.
The reality is, if you’re sensible, even small deviations don’t really do much harm. Say you’re on a diet and you eat a couple hundred calories of cookies because you really wanted them. If you’ve dieted the past 6 days, that’s not a big deal… Don’t derail yourself, move on and stay focused.
Read this carefully: media and advertisers want that you feel guilty while dieting and failing over their golden rules. It is normal because it is directly related to their businesses.
A good diet starts with good eating and healthy cooking. In summary, don’t let diets control you… you are in control. Learn to be more flexible about things and take a higher point of view. Try a few of the suggested points and don’t be hard on yourself.