Curb Your Appetite: tips and tricks when eating in a caloric deficit
1. Protein Consumption Protein is the building block for muscles, and will ensure that you maintain your lean muscle mass during the dieting phase. Not only does having more lean muscle mass mean that you burn more calories at rest, but it is also the macronutrient with the highest satiety (feeling of fullness) effect in our bodies.
2. Protein Timing
Since protein keeps you the most full the longest, check that you’re spreading out the consumption of protein throughout the day. Focus on consuming some protein every 3-4 hours. Also aim to consume some protein, such as a protein shake, within 30 minutes of your workout. During this stage your muscles are most depleted, and are most susceptible to protein absorption.
Having volume in your diet is HUGE! Things like big salads, big servings of veggies, and adding fruits into your diet can be so beneficial since they’re high in fiber and will make you feel full longer, but are also extremely macro friendly. For example cauliflower rice is 25 calories per cup and 5 grams of carbs, whereas brown rice is 218 calories per cup and 46g of carbs. Similarly zucchini noodles are 20 calories per cup and 3g of carbs, while whole wheat pasta is 145 calories per cup and 29g of carbs. This is NOT to say that carbs are bad (they are not, they’re necessary), just to highlight that if you’re close to reaching your carb macro goal, and are still hungry, you can eat huge quantities of veggies without the stress or guilt.
Did you know that sleep directly correlates with appetite control as well as weight loss? When we’re not sleeping, leptin levels decrease and ghrelin levels increase. Leptin is the hormone responsible for making us feel full, whereas ghrelin makes us feel hungry. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, try to implement an evening routine. Turn your phone/screens off an hour before bed, start planning the next day, and try to get to bed at the same time every night. Some supplements which support sleep and relaxation are; magnesium, melatonin, and inositol.
- Stress raises cortisol levels. Cortisol is a low grade adrenaline/stress hormone secreted from the adrenal glands. In small doses it is beneficial, however when it becomes chronically high it leads to increased fat storage, hunger rates, and belly fat. Cortisol directly affects our nitrogen balance, leading to increased MPB or catabolism, which is the breakdown of muscle. It also affects our thyroid function, when thyroid levels drop, they lower our basal metabolic rate causing less day to day calorie expenditure. Too much cortisol even affects our serotonin levels, causing mood disorders and other mental struggles.
- If you’re dealing with a lot of stress try a magnesium supplement at night to help you relax. Some other things I would recommend trying to do when feeling stressed are; meditation, deep breathing techniques, taking a walk and connecting with nature, going to a yoga class, reading, and drawing or finding another creative outlet.
-There are SO many studies which have proven that people often mistake thirst for hunger. When you’re dehydrated, your body receives mixed signals of hunger, when in reality you just need some liquids.
- Try to bring a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go and focus on drinking AT LEAST half a gallon of water a day.