Do you seem to be hungry all the time … like your stomach is some kind of bottomless pit? Being constantly hungry can make weight loss challenging because you know you need to eat less to lose weight. But, there is a lot you can do to keep you full longer, while keeping the calories under control.
The first thing to figure out is if you really are hungry. Sometimes we eat out of anxiety, boredom or exhaustion. So before you take a bite, figure out if you really are feeling physical hunger or if you are just using food to cope with a negative emotion.
People tend to feel hungry when they cut their calories too low in an attempt to try to lose weight. Yes, in order to lose weight you have to cut calories to some extent, but sometimes this can be taken to an extreme. Use a calorie calculator based on a formula called the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, which has been found to be the most accurate way to calculate calorie needs. Then eat the number of calories you need to lose 1-2 pounds per week, which is considered the safe rate for weight loss. If you cut your calories too low, you will feel like you are starving, which will only trigger overeating.
What you eat for breakfast can impact your hunger level for the whole day. First, make sure your breakfast has enough calories. A small, 100-calorie breakfast bar isn’t going to cut it; you are going to be starving within a couple of hours. Instead eat, a breakfast that has enough calories to keep you full until lunchtime. For most people, this means a breakfast containing 300 to 600 calories, depending on your daily needs.
Additionally, these calories should come from fat and protein, important components of a healthy breakfast. A bowl of oatmeal with fruit may seem healthy, but without any protein or added fat, you will be starving by mid-morning. Instead start your day with 2 to 3 whole eggs, mixed with veggies of your choice and a side of fruit. Or a protein shake, like our INVIGOR8, that contains at least 20 grams of protein.
The need for protein doesn’t end with breakfast. Protein should be included in every meal and snack throughout the day to prevent hunger. Snack on some Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or hard-boiled eggs when you get hungry. Eat a serving of protein at each meal, approximately the size of the palm of your hand. Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients, so boosting your intake will help you feel fuller all day.
People often confuse thirst with hunger. Staying hydrated can help you feel fuller. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day — more if you are physically active. Also, when you are feeling like you want to eat between meals, reach for a glass of water instead and wait 10 minutes. You may find that you don’t want to eat after all.
Being chronically hungry can be frustrating when you are trying to lose weight, but with a focus on protein, water and getting enough calories, you will feel less hungry and improve your chances of achieving your weight-loss goals.
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