Nutrition Articles

Simple tricks for when you're hungry and want to eat lots of sweet stuff

So, you're trying to lose weight before you go on holiday. You're training your ass off and following your diet plan to the letter, but there's a problem.... You have these occasions when you're just so damn hungry.

In fact, you’re so damn hungry that ALL you can think about is food. The type of hunger that means you start salivating at the Marks and Spencer advert and inanimate objects begin to resemble biscuits, crisps and donuts!

So, what do you do?!

First off, remember that being hungry when you're on a diet can happen. To lose weight you have to be in what's called a calorie deficit. You'll be consuming less calories per day than your body requires for its daily functions, so you're bound to feel peckish now and again. (Especially if you've made the error of reducing your calories too drastically!).

However, we never want you to feel ravenous, because more often than not, when you get to that point, you make poor choices and end up pigging out and taking yourself well over your daily calorie target.

Plus, I really don’t believe that any successful long term diet plan leaves it’s participants starving hungry! It’s just not a great way to get results.

So what can you do to stave off hunger? In this article I’m going to outline my top 3 tips for you…

Consume more protein

Protein has a high satiety level, which means it keeps you fuller for longer. I encourage my clients to eat some form of protein with each of their main meals, as it tends to keep hunger at bay until it’s time for your next feed.

Most people that consume the typical Western breakfast of cereal or toast, will feel hungry a few hours before lunch time. Try switching to a brekkie higher in protein, such as an omelette or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, most people I train report back that this one change makes the biggest difference to their hunger levels.

So where should your protein come from?

Your main sources will be from meat, fish, poultry, eggs and whey protein (or other protein supplements such as rice or pea protein). Include these as the base of your main meal and you won’t go far wrong.

How much protein should you be eating per day?

protein to bodyweight

It’s person dependent, but I advise anywhere from 1.2-2g of protein per kg of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 60kg, then you’ll be eating anywhere from 70-120g of protein each day.

60kg 120g protein

A top tip that I give to all my clients, is to have a liquid form of protein to hand that you can consume quickly, that way when hunger strikes you can neck some protein easily, even if you’re really busy and don’t have time to sit down and eat a proper meal.

Ensure that you consume plenty of calorie light, volume dense foods.

I'm not a big fan of people eating nuts when on a diet. Yes, they have lots of fantastic properties to them, such as being high in good fats and having an abundance of certain vitamins and minerals. The problem with them is that they are very calorie dense. A handful of nuts can contain hundreds of calories.

walnuts to brocolli

Nuts aren't the only calorie dense, low volume perpetrators though.

  • Nut butters
  • Avocado
  • Cooking oils (olive, coconut etc)
  • Protein bars
  • Cheese

All foods that we may deem healthy, but not foods that are going to help keep us full up. There are others, but these tend to be the ones I see eaten the most.

Now I'm not saying you should never consume these foods, of course not, I honestly believe that there is no need to ever ban a food from your diet.

But....

If you are hungry, perhaps these aren't always the best choices.

Instead, when hunger strikes, you should consume lots of foods that are light on calories but big on density. Lots of veg and certain fruits like berries and apples.

Take 200 calories worth of nuts or nut butter and compare the volume of food to 200 calories worth of vegetables. The difference in volume is crazy!

200 cal nuts veg

What to do when you miss the taste of something sweet

Craving sweet food can often be a stress response to low blood sugar levels, caused by not eating enough or not eating frequently enough.

When hunger levels begin to rise, it’s rare that you think....

"I'd love a nice salad right now"

Your brain starts to think donuts, bread, cakes, croissants.... Sweet and stodgy food.

I particularly see this when people are dieting, they eat very little throughout the day and get mad cravings in the evening.

One thing you can do is ensure that you eat a more substantial breakfast and lunch. By not allowing yourself to go long periods of time without eating, you can keep your blood sugar level much more stable.

Another thing is if you crave sweet food, why not include it in some form? You don’t have to rule out sugary sweet food completely. Obviously, the major issue is that the majority of the aforementioned sugary snacks are high in calories, not great when trying to lose weight (not off limits by any means, but maybe not ideal if you’re trying to hit a certain calorie goal).

There are a few things you could eat that hit the spot sweetness wise, but won’t make a big dent to your daily calorie total. Here’s a few that I recommend…

  • Fruit
  • Fruit, yoghurt and honey (if you want something more substantial)
  • Low calorie jelly such as the Hartley's 10 calorie option
  • A square or 2 of dark chocolate.

These are all options to give your taste buds a little bit of what they want, without eating a tonne of food.

In conclusion, hunger may be something that you experience when on a diet, but use my 3 tips and you can manage hunger so that you can still stay on track with your goals and not binge eat loads of calorie dense foods.

Try to think of these tips as small lifestyle changes as opposed to being “on a diet”. Fad diets tend to yield short term weight loss, but never really give us long term sustainable results. If you want to lose weight and keep it off for good, you have to have a better understanding of portion sizes of foods that you can eat to keep you fuller for longer.

 



Nikki Clarke

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