Ever had those days when all you can think about is your next meal? It’s happened to all of us! When trying to cut calories for weight loss, hunger is one of the biggest side effects. After all, your body doesn’t want to give away its fat reserves without a fight.
Read on to find out that this is one battle you can totally win. With a few clever strategies and some planning, you can keep hunger at bay and still achieve your weight loss goals without the frustration.
Here are seven expert tips and tricks to tame your hunger cravings:
1. Stay hydrated
The recommended 2-3 litres of water per day will help with hunger pangs. It can be easy to confuse hunger spells with thirst. They’re both controlled by the same part of the brain, so staying hydrated is a great way to rule out being thirsty when you think you’re hungry. Lindsey Pine, RD, suggests drinking hot beverages like green tea in addition to water. Not only do herbal teas keep you hydrated, but they also give you something to sip on for a period of time.
2. Eat breakfast
Skipping breakfast can generate stomach hunger pangs and can also lead to grazing and binging later in the day. Cravings can begin just 7-8 hours after the ingestion of food, and are usually more intense in young people because they usually carry more muscle than older people.
3. Careful sugar intake
Foods high in sugars can only satisfy hunger temporarily, ensure they are mixed with a meal to help control hunger shortly afterwards. Richards J. Johnson, M.D., of the University of Florida showed in his research that communication between the digestive tract and the brain’s fullness center was disrupted by high-fructose corn syrup, making appetite difficult to control.
4. Sleep well
Most of us don’t get the required 7-8 hours sleep each night to keep our hormones in-check and curb sugar cravings. Work on getting enough sleep and waking up at the same time each morning. Remember to turn off electronics with bright lights before bed, and eat dinner at least two hours before you hit the sack for a great night’s sleep – this is a big one for weight loss.
5. Load up
Foods high in water content have only a few calories per gram, so you can eat more and feel fuller compared to calorie-dense foods like: cheese, pastas, nuts and sweets. Water rich foods are great for bulking up your meals and still keeping calories low. Liquid soups, salads and vegetables are filling and nutritious too.
6. Don’t skip meals
If you’re trying to cut calories and stay on track, avoid skipping meals. Skipping a meal or leaving very long gaps lead to irregular snaking and binging later-on. Aim to eat every three-to-four hours – and have breakfast within an hour of waking up to keep your hunger in check.
7. Eat more protein
Increasing amounts of research has shown that both acutely and in the long-term, higher protein intake helps blunt hunger cravings. It also helps that, as long as you’re consuming lean protein, it can be tough to consume a lot of calories in the first place- which helps with your weight loss goals.
I’d also note that there are many other reasons to consume sufficient amounts of lean protein on a weight loss diet including aid of blood glucose stability and sparing of muscle mass loss.