As recently discussed in my latest blog about my pyramid for fat loss, which you can find HERE, I went into great detail on ways to control our calories.
Aside from this, when we’re on a bit of a calorie deficit, we can get a little more hungry than when we’re stuffing ourselves right? It takes a moment to adjust to this new way of living, but again, if you’re not overly restricting, then your hunger levels should be just fine.
However, it’s also about playing it smart and controlling those signals of hunger with proper foods that support our energy levels and cravings.
Here’s 3 tools that definitely help assist with keeping our hunger at bay.
- Fiber: I cannot stress fiber enough and I can tell you right now, you’re not going to find it in junk foods. Fiber comes from an array of sources and it’s typically found in a variety of fruits, veggies, seeds, beans and grains.
Let’s start with some fruits: some good choices would be fruits such as apples, pears, berries, peaches, plums and grapes. Pretty much the ones that have skin on the outside. While oranges and bananas offer some needed dietary fiber, the fruits listed above tend to have a bit more.
Now to veggies: pretty much all veggies have some content of fiber. Some of my favorites include broccoli, kale, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, mixed greens and bell peppers. Speaking of which, did you know that red bell peppers have the highest source of vitamin C content per serving? Cool little tip for ya. 🙂
Beans, beans are good for your heart, the more you eat the more you…..yes, beans can make some of us very gassy while for others of us they tend to digest just fine. If I’m adding beans to a salad or dish, I will ALWAYS rinse the bubbles you’ll see if you’re taking them out of the can. This can definitely cause more gas and bloating so make sure to rinse your beans prior to use! If you don’t have this reaction to beans, I think they’re a terrific source of fiber!
You can see the dietary fiber above for kidney beans and I love how high it is! 7 is a great number to shoot for when we’re looking for a quality source of fiber.
Daily fiber needs are 30-38 per day for men and 25 for women.
When you pick foods like beans, veggies, fruits, grains and seeds you’re well on your way to reaching that number!
Let’s move on to seeds: What I love about seeds is how versatile they can be! If you’re not allergic, I highly suggest these little gems to help reach your fiber needs. The seeds and nuts with the most amount of fiber normally come from the ones with the skin. Think almonds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and so on. Nuts such as peanuts have very minimal amounts of fiber so try not to make those your first pick.
Also, be mindful that the calorie content of nuts can add up very quickly. I suggest having a sprinkle on a salad, a small handful or ration them out so we’re not tempted to eat the entire can. I also want to make note that I would aim for the unsalted versions (yes, they don’t taste as good) but the sodium content can skyrocket in no time. Plus, when we get the unsalted, we’re less likely to over indulge.
Last. but not least, grains. For some, we might have issues around gluten and grains and that’s totally okay, you can still get your needs met with all the other sources I listed above. But, for those of you that can have grains some of my top choices are:
MARY’S GONE CRACKERS
EZEKIAL BREADS AND WRAPS
I’m going to stress one thing here: please go for the frozen breads. These have no preservatives or fillers like the shelf bought breads do. Ever wonder why the shelf breads have such a long shelf life? Because they have all the additional ingredients in them to keep them fresh longer. I’ll always go for the breads that are sprouted, have some seed content and ones that are typically frozen.
Key points I want to make here about high fiber foods:
+we can eat more of them without the added weight gain (mainly veggies)
+they’re more water based and fill us up quicker so we can have them at a higher volume level than typical American foods.
+they’re a great source of many vitamins and nutrients
+they keep us fuller longer
2. Sleep: I know you’ve heard it a million times over, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat the benefits of sleep. Here’s the thing: when we lack sleep we’ll overeat and not on protein and veggies. The last thing we’re thinking about is a chicken breast when we’re exhausted. Those carbs, candies and sugars sound more enticing when we’re sleep deprived.
When we’re deprived of sleep, this automatically messes with our hunger/fullness levels. Think of the terms:
Leptin: (hunger controlling hormone)
+aids in weight management/weight loss
+keeps our hunger levels in check
Ghrelin: (hunger hormone)
+increases when we’re sleep deprived
+is higher among those that have anorexia
+increases before we eat and decreases after we eat (for about 3 hours post meal)
“But, did you know that researchers have shown that either a diet rich in either “good” carbohydrates (like whole grains) or a diet high in protein suppresses ghrelin more effectively than a diet high in fat?” -WebMD.com
“In a study of 12 young men, sleep deprivation was associated with an increase in ghrelin levels, appetite, and hunger compared with when they slept 10 hours a night.”-WebMD.com
So, all in all make sure sleep is high on your list of priorities!
3. Stress Management: Ahhhh, stress reduction is HUGE when we’re trying to control our hunger! Think about it, how many times have we run to the chips for something crunchy when we’re stressed or pissed? I know I have! I will always gain weight anytime I’m stressed due to an increase in cortisol, inflammation and overeating on carbs and sugar. Some of my top “go-to’s” for stress management are the following:
+Deep breathing (even if we take a big inhale through our nose, hold for 3 seconds and then release a big exhale through our mouth) this automatically sends our parasympathetic nervous system to the front seat. The PNS is our rest and digest and when we’re stressed, tools like deep breathing help immensely.
+Laughter. Laughing is awesome to help reduce stress levels and makes life more fun! Next time you find yourself feeling serious and down, try to watch a YouTube video that makes you laugh or call a friend that gives you the giggles. Laughter also releases endorphins which are the feel good transmitters and they take the edge off our stress.
+Exercise. Making sure to add daily exercise into our routine is critical to health and well-being. Even 20 minutes a day has been proven to show tremendous benefits for stress reduction. When possible, try to get outside in nature as it brings a feeling of tranquility and peace.
There you have it! 3 tools to help control your hunger levels! I hope you found this blog useful. Now, which one are you going to implement into your schedule?
Have a great week!