FAT LOSS: STRATEGIES ON HOW TO MANAGE HUNGER EFFECTIVELY
Managing hunger when trying to shed body fat is very important – is one of the main reasons why some find the process hard to stick to. Fat loss is simple but not easy. We all know a calorie deficit is essential to burn fat. And to achieve a calorie deficit we’ll have to spend more energy than we consume. We tend to go on a very low calorie diet, eliminating food groups completely and sometimes all of this combined with excessive exercise. Drastically reducing your food intake in not wise, sooner rather than later you’ll begin to feel dizzy, tired, irritated and most likely lose your motivation making you go back to your old habits and regain the weight you lost. There’s things we can do to prevent us from being overly hungry, feeling energetic and ready to go making the process smoother, more enjoyable and easier to adhere to.
- Eat plenty of protein, it’s the macronutrient providing the most satiety. Now, how much should you consume? Normally 1.8 to 2.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideal. Say a male weighting 85kg should consume at least 153g of protein. Have you ever tracked your protein intake? You’ll be surprised how little protein we consume! So go ahead and track yours to check where you’re at!
- Get enough sleep. Not getting enough rest and sleep means you will need more calories to keep you going. When you’re tired and low in energy you’re more likely to reach for those high calorie sugary snacks to pick you up and get on with your day.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can aggravate the feelings of hunger. So drink water before reaching for that snack. If you’ve been consuming enough calories most chances are all you need is couple of glasses of water and not extra food.
- Have a cup of coffee or tea. Coffee has natural appetite suppressant properties and a good way to keep you warm during the winter! Try iced coffee or tea during the summer but remember to watch your sugar intake. Liquid calories provide no nutritional value quickly adding up to your daily totals!
- Snack on low calorie high volume foods such as cucumber, carrots, apples. These foods are hydrating and high in fibre all in one providing you bulk for little calories.
- Double up on vegetables specially fibrous ones like broccoli and asparagus. Natural fibre is very filling and essential for a healthy digestion.
- Avoid excessive exercise. You’ll end up more hungry. More isn’t better. Often people believe they need to get more and more exercise done in order to achieve a calorie deficit but the reality is we can’t out train a bad diet.
- Focus on lifting some weights to increase your muscle mass. Increased muscle mass has metabolic benefits that last long after you’ve left the gym. This is because muscle mass takes more energy to maintain itself – about 3 times as much as fat! Your metabolic rate (the number of calories your body needs to keep itself going) is, therefore, higher when you have muscle than it would be if you weighed the same, but with a higher body fat percentage. By increasing your muscle mass you’re therefore in a better position to burn fat.
- Increase your NEAT. In general, as we age we become more sedentary, which means we burn less calories daily. By increasing our NEAT (non exercise thermogenesis) through some subconscious movement we are able to burn extra calories. That’s probably where the old saying “Move More” comes from – and it works! Simple things like walking a bit more, gardening, cleaning the house and being more active in general are key things to help us increase our NEAT.
- Find something you enjoy that keeps your mind busy. Simple things like reading a book, going for a walk or watching something cool on TV is enough to take the head away from food.
- Accept that is absolutely natural, ok and safe to feel a bit hungry at times specially when on a calorie deficit. But is not the end of the world and by adopting some of the above strategies those feelings of hunger can be easily managed!
- And last but not least, seek for professional help if necessary. A qualified personal trainer or nutritionist will help you design a healthy and balanced eating plan that meets your nutritional needs and fits is with your healthy lifestyle.