It goes without saying, when we diet, we’re starving. We’re already thinking about the next meal before we finish the one in front of us. We’re convinced we need to eat and eat now! (which we often do, especially when we’re super calorie deficient) and we’re salivating at the mouth at the thought of food.
A few days into the diet, we can’t stop thinking about that box of donuts sitting in the office break room. Nom Nom!
Alright, so the million dollar question, how can we stay satisfied when we’re on a lower calorie diet plan? Here’s a few tidbits that I suggest to help take the “edge off” when we’re eating a little less than normal.
- First, don’t restrict too hard. I know you hear this all the time but the lower you reduce your calories, the hungrier you will be. Remembering, the more we restrict, the more we will end up binging in the long run. Our body’s will be starving and will do anything for food when it thinks it’s living off an island with no food access. Be smart with your calorie cutting. Ideally, I like for my coaching ladies to not fall below 1500 calories a day, give or take a little bit. Here’s a few ways you can do this to keep sane in the process.
a) You can follow the zigzag approach: Here’s an example:
Day 1: 1400 calories
Day 2: 1900 calories
Day 3: 1400 calories
Day 4: 2000 calories
Day 5: 1300 calories
Make sense? So you’re literally going up and down with your calories daily.
Some days you will go higher than your average intake while others you stay on a slight calorie deficit. This way you won’t feel like you’re going mad on a stagnant calorie plan day in and day out. You have options and more to work with because at the end of the week, your total calorie intake will be around the same.
b) You can keep your calories the same each day. This typically works for those of us that need structure and the same meal plan everyday. We know how much we’re intaking so it’s easier to just have a set plan and follow that to a T.
c) I hate “cheat days” so I’m not even going there. I think they’re stupid and cause binging tendencies because we live in this mindset of restricting all week, then binging on the weekend and starting the process all over again. When we have the “cheat days” our mindset is, when will I be able to have this again? I have to eat it all NOW!
2. If you’re not one for calorie counting, I like to rely on my #fullnessscale in relation to mindful eating. I think this approach is for those of us that feel like we have a handle on our typical calorie intake and really just use our fullness meter to determine when we’ve had enough. Personally, this one took me a LONG time to achieve. Do I still eat more than needed sometimes? Of course. Do I beat myself up for it? Not at all. However, the majority of the time I stay in tune with my #fullnessscale by wrapping my meal at a 7-8. (more on this later) 1 being starving and 10 being so full I’m about to pop.
3. Eat protein at every meal. Research has proven time and time again that protein is more satisfying than fat believe it or not. It takes longer for our body to digest protein than fat and carbs and the protein also helps stabilize our blood sugar and keep us feeling satisfied longer than just noshing on a bagel with butter. Examples?
+Egg omelette with spinach and fruit
+Protein shake with almond milk and a banana
+Cottage cheese with a sweet potato
+Turkey slices with veggies
+Almond butter with an apple
4. Drink a glass of water before you dive into the pantry. Our body needs water! We’re made of 70% of it so of course we need to stay hydrated. Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst so when you find yourself digging into the cabinet for food, first ask yourself, how much water have I had today? If the answer is little, fill up that glass first and then if you still are hungry, grab a snack.
5. Fill up on fiberous foods! Anything that has skin on it, get after it! Think celery, almonds, peppers, apples, carrots, the rainbow of fruits and veggies! Do you ever notice after you eat at a restaurant you still might be feeling hungry yet unsatisfied? Typically, that’s because the restaurants have tons of hidden fats in the meals so your body is full on fat rather than fiber. Remember when dining out to ask for steamed, baked, broiled or grilled to help remove some of the excess vegetable oils and get more nutrients!
6. Enjoy your guilty pleasures too! Listen, dieting is such a black and white mindset, let’s be honest here. In order for anything to work long term we HAVE to find something that’s sustainable long term. If you’re miserable eating broccoli, don’t eat it! If you enjoy cucumbers with ranch dressing then eat it! Just don’t eat the whole bottle! :). Healthy fats also keep us satisfied and happy! When we lack omega 3 fatty acids or fats in general, we’re often moody, irritable and our skin and nails show it.
One of my favorites are dark chocolate squares.
This will be my go to after lunch and dinner as I like to fill my sweet tooth! The darkness seems to take the edge off and helps me not feel deprived of goodies!
Instead of feeling the need to restrict-binge-restrict finding the middle ground will not only save your sanity but you will feel happier and more satisfied because of it. The all or nothing mindset gets us into trouble every single time. Focus on eating foods you enjoy, do the zigzag approach if you wish and drink that water!
Speaking of sustainable diet approaches, I’m super pumped to be rolling out my new and improved Lean in 14 2.0 version with a meal plan and workout routine for 14 days! Be on the look out for that as I’ll be posting the link here shortly.
For more goodies on food and fitness feel free to join my email list at www.kimschaper.com and follow me on Instagram!