female personal trainer

Posted 2 years ago

Managing hunger when dieting

So, you’ve started a dieting-phase, and all is going well. Feeling a bit leaner, dropping weight on the scale, not struggling at all… till it hits you.

The HUNGER is suddenly real, and you can feel yourself drooling over high calorie foods that you’d love to eat, but you know won’t help you achieve your goals. I know, it’s hard – your body does not want to lose fat, and it does not always like dieting, especially when you push it to the extreme!

But, when you have a goal – whether that is to lose some body fat to feel better, get lean for a photoshoot, get shredded for stage, or do an aggressive recomp – sticking to your diet and your calorie deficit is important, and as such, learning how to manage hunger is also important.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of tips, and please note that I do not recommend you follow these if you struggle with disordered eating patterns or an eating disorder (please contact your GP if this is the case). But for those of us who are looking to get lean and find hunger-management challenging, here are my top dieting tips:

Prioritise protein and green veg

It may sound like I’m stating the obvious, but I cannot emphasise the importance of this tip enough! Firstly, it’s important to note that protein is the most satisfying macronutrient. In addition, it’s the building block of muscle. Therefore, if you’re dieting to get lean and training hard to support this, eating protein with every meal should be a no-brainer. Secondly, if you pair it with low calorie green veggies – which are packed with fibre and have negligible calories – then you’re in for a winner. A meal like this will keep you fuller for longer, and help you manage that empty stomach feeling you might get when digging deep!

Make sure you stay hydrated

Not just because it’s important for nutrient mobilisation and just general health but staying hydrated can also help us “feel” fuller for longer. You can get your daily dose of hydration from water, flavoured water, low kcal squash, black coffee, flavoured teas (which help with cravings), and zero calorie fizzy juice. Yes, drinking 5L of artificially sweetened juice is not ideal but having a can / glass of something sweet can definitely “scratch that itch” of sweet cravings you may get during a dieting phase. Plus, if you drink a tonne of fluids, you’ll be needing to go to the toilet constantly – more steps, right?

Explore low calorie snacks

Just because a pizza or biscuits are not optimal during a dieting phase – not just because of their low volume and high calorie density, but because they’re so moreish – doesn’t mean you need to cut out snacks to diet successfully. There are plenty of low-calorie snack options out there, but these are some of my favourites:

  • 20g 80% dark chocolate
  • Two plain rice cakes with protein powder “spread” (bit of water to make it into a thick spread)
  • Two corn-cakes with salsa and cucumber, and some sort of chicken ham /quorn ham to up the protein content
  • Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery and carrot sticks
  • Low calorie jelly
  • Pan/water fried apple with cinnamon

These are just a few of my personal go-to snacks that I find support me during dieting phases.

Don’t be miserable

So many people fall trap of dramatizing a dieting phase and acting like they will never get to eat a chocolate bar ever again. Thinking this way will only make things harder for you, and why would you spend hours looking at food porn on Instagram when your goal is to get lean? Do yourself a favour and focus on the task at hand. The reality is that you are the one who has chosen to diet, and irrespective of the reason behind it, it’s still a choice you’re making. Tasty food isn’t going anywhere. You will be able to eat pizza again. Making the choice to diet and choose to be hungry and set aesthetic/health goals is a privilege!

In sum, there are quite a few ways of making things easier for you when dieting. However, the bottom line is that if you are dieting, you will be hungry. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is. Getting lean takes effort, and a lot of self-discipline and goal-driven behaviour. The good news is that when you start to get hungry, it shows the diet / training / cardio / steps is working. Therefore, if you are finding things difficult, remind yourself of the fact that dieting is your choice, and that your goals are bigger than what a milky bar is worth.

If you want to completely transform your physique and get lean, be sure to get in touch by clicking the button below and enquiring today.

Clara Swedlund MSc MBPsS