When dieting, at one point or another, hunger is inevitable. When you are trying to reduce your body fat percentage it is unrealistic to assume you will always feel fully satiated, however you should never feel hungry to the point where it interferes with your day to day life or makes you feel ill. However, when you are feeling this normal hunger that accompanies your calorie deficit, there are strategies you can employ which can have a significant hunger-crushing effect, keeping the diet sustainable and keeping yourself sane. Read on to learn more!!
Eating high-volume foods is by far the most effective strategy at managing diet-induced hunger. High-volume foods are simply foods that are lower in calories, and thus macros. When you swap a calorically denser food for a high-volume food, you will find that you can eat much more of the high-volume food for less calories. One example of this would be swapping pasta for zucchini noodles. One cup of cooked pasta has approximately 45g carbs and 223 calories, whereas 1 cup of zucchini has only 4 carbs and 20 calories. Thus, you can have a LOT more zucchini for a LOT less calories, helping you feel full and satiated. Non-starchy vegetables, berries, lean proteins, egg whites, and protein powder are some examples of high-volume foods.
Hydration is essential whether you’re on a diet or not, but drinking a little extra water can make a world of difference in terms of hunger cues! Try to make a gallon a day your goal, even if you don’t end up finishing an entire gallon, by setting it as a goal you will find yourself to drink more water naturally. Setting alarms on your phone to periodically remind yourself to drink water can also be very helpful. One last tip, for every non-water beverage you have (coffee, tea, preworkout, etc), have an equal sized glass of water. So if you have a 16 ounce coffee, follow up with a 16 ounce water. It will help keep you on track for your water goals and banish hunger.
If morning hunger is your downfall, plan to have a larger meal for breakfast. If evening hunger creeps up and makes it impossible for you to fall asleep, plan to have a larger meal for dinner! Listen to your body and your hunger cues so that you can tailor your daily meal schedule accordingly. Many people find that their workday meals such as lunch are ate quickly and thoughtlessly- so if that is the case for you, keep your lunch fairly low calorie so you can have a larger meal with more carbs, fats, and protein later on when you have the time to sit down to a nice meal and really enjoy the food.
Speed-eating is the enemy of the dieter. Satiety cues generally take 10-30 minutes to set in, depending on the person, so if you engulf your food too quickly you will find that you feel considerably less satisfied than if you sit down and savor each bite, drinking water in between and if you’re dining with others stopping to engage in conversation. This can make a world of difference in terms of when that feeling of fullness sets in and can keep you feeling fuller for longer.
It’s very satisfying to have a plate filled to the brim. However when you’re dieting this isn’t always possible on a standard dinner plate. However, if you manipulate your plate size, switching to a smaller size plate, you will find that your plate will look visually much more full, and we all know how important the visual aspect of food is as we eat with our eyes first. This tip won’t manipulate the calories or macronutrients but has a profound psychological impact on how satisfying we perceive our meals.