Have you recently started following a diet in an attempt to lose weight, lean out, or perhaps you are following your first-ever diet for competition? Whether you are following your first diet or you are a veteran dieter, it is never easy. Dieting restrictions can result in cravings, low energy levels and can often affect mood too, especially if you are following a diet that is low in carbs. Although low carb diets are very effective for fat loss, and for muscle building, if you are following a diet that is too low in carbohydrates it can have a significant impact on your mood, your appetite and your energy! When we reduce the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, it reduces the amount of sugar that is in the blood and that is stored, subsequently it also reduces the amount of the mood-influencing neurotransmitter serotonin. This can cause an increase in cravings for sugary foods and make you feel cranky!
Before you try any of these ten tips you should take a good look at your carbohydrate consumption first! A general rule for carbohydrate consumption during dieting is that it should be about 30 percent of your caloric intake. But your activity level and how you respond to carbohydrates will determine if you need more or less. If you are very active and therefore put out a lot of calories and require a lot of stored energy, such as running, you may want to increase the amount of carbohydrates you are eating so that you feel more energetic! However, if you are performing less cardio, more weight training and want to get super lean, you may require less. Now here are ten tips for battling your diet hunger!
Tip #1 – Don’t Underestimate Your Calories
Be sure you are eating the right amount of calories for your activity level. If you are underestimating your calories, you will have low energy levels and will not be providing your body with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are needed to help metabolize your food or keep your energy levels up! One way to determine your calories is to use the standard Harris Benedict Equation, which is the following: 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilos) + (5 x height in centimeters) – (6.8 x age) = Basal Metabolic Rate. Then you take your BMR and multiply it by your appropriate activity level. There are a few different rates for activity level ranging from 1.2 for non-exercises all the way up to 1.725 for those of you who exercise up to 6 or 7 times per week. More than likely you will be at the 1.55 level for moderate exercisers who work out 3 to 5 days per week.
Tip #2 – Drink Lots of Water
Water is extremely important for maintaining great health and getting a leaner body. Staying hydrated also helps to stabilize appetite and subdue hunger! A recent 12-week study showed that participants who drank two cups of water before meals lost about 15.5 pounds compared to non-water drinking dieters who lost only 11 pounds. The message is clear: add more water to fill you up and reduce your caloric intake throughout the day! Drink at least 3 to 4 liters of water every day to stay hydrated, keep your metabolism functioning optimally, and to keep hunger away!
Tip #3 – Have Tea Time
If plain water is not your thing, try substituting with tea. Unsweetened brewed tea is still calorie free, inexpensive and can be consumed cold or hot. For extra zing, add lemon or lime juice, and if you need a little sweetness, add the natural sweetener stevia. Tea provides antioxidants, and depending on the tea you drink it can also provide other weight-loss benefits too. Green, black and oolong teas provide catechins that can help speed metabolism and increase energy expenditure!
Tip #4 – Get Enough Protein
If you are not getting enough protein in your diet, you are not doing yourself any favors! Protein provides a satiating effect, helping keep hunger subsided between meals. Protein also provides a thermic effect; it takes energy for the body to break it down and metabolize. If you are serious about losing weight and getting a lean and toned muscular body, you need to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. For active individuals, you should be getting at least 1 g/per pound of bodyweight every day. That should work out to about 40 percent of your daily calories. Protein sources can include egg whites, chicken, turkey, lean cuts of red meat and whey protein.
Tip #5 – Eat Lots of Salad and Veggies
Begin any meal with salad, and be sure to eat plenty of green vegetables too. In fact, eat green veggies with every meal. The roughage in salad and green vegetables is fibrous and can help keep your stomach feeling full. Not to mention vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients that are needed as part of a healthy diet. This little trick can help curb your appetite.
Tip #6 – Sleep Plenty
Recent research has shown that not getting enough sleep can actually affect your ability to lose weight and have an impact on appetite. In a recent study, it was found that those who only got 5.5 hours of sleep lost less fat and more muscle than the group that got 8.5 hours of sleep. All participants were given the same caloric intake and activity regimen. This is not a favorable outcome! After all, the more lean mass you have the more active your metabolism will be! What’s more, it was also found that not only was fat loss affected, but limited sleep also resulted in an up-set of the regulation of two important hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Without sleep, these hormones remain turned on, causing hunger to continue. Be sure to get eight hours of sleep every night.
Tip #7 – Arm Yourself with Condiments
Dieting meltdowns can come from bland, flavorless and boring food! Try adding sugar-free and low-fat condiments to your food to make healthy foods taste interesting and satisfying. Try balsamic vinegar on your tuna, add salsa or hot sauce to your potato, mustard to your chicken, or soy sauce to your brown rice. Pickled foods are another way to add flavor without calories; try kimchi (pickled ginger), pickled onions, or pickled asparagus with your meals. It actually takes more energy to chew these snacks than what they’ll return to your body in the form of usable calories. Now anything pickled is full of salt– which can cause serious bloating and is generally not good for you in large quantities, so be sure to limit your consumption of these condiments.
Tip #8 – Be Naughty Once in a While
As your body becomes accustomed to being on a diet, your metabolism can actually start to slow down. A great way to prevent this is to intentionally schedule the occasional cheat meal that is higher in carbs and fat than your usually meals. This shift can shock the system, forcing your metabolism into overdrive! Not only that, but knowing you have a cheat meal approaching can keep you motivated and working toward your goals.
Tip #9 – Get Your Share of Good Fats
Essential Fatty Acids or EFAs are highly satiating and can provide nine calories per gram. EFAs help regulate energy production, play a role in fat metabolism, blood sugar and insulin control, as well as carbohydrate metabolism. Fats should be 30 percent of your diet, and can come from sources such as flax oil, olive oil, fish oil, as well as sources from nuts such as almonds and walnuts.
Tip #10 – Appetite-Suppressing Supplements
There are a few good supplements that can help reduce appetite between meals and keep you on track with your diet. The supplement 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan has been shown in numerous studies to reduce hunger between meals, resulting in consumption of fewer calories and weight loss. 5-HTP is the natural precursor to serotonin, allowing the body to produce more of this feel good neurotransmitter. Another good supplement for appetite suppression is glucomannan, which is a fiber that swells in the gut and is slowly digested, thus increasing the feeling of fullness and reducing hunger.
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