Imagine this scenario – it’s Sunday evening, the diet starts tomorrow. You’ve just prepared a salad ready to take into work – a few tomatoes, a bit of lettuce, a few slices of chicken. Monday morning you wake up focused and motivated to succeed – breakfast is a slice of toast and a cup of coffee. Another coffee when the stomach starts to rumble mid morning, and you’re feeling strong, very virtuous, you even managed to resist the box of donuts perched on the end of your desk! You manage to last until lunchtime, perhaps another coffee in the afternoon, but it’s when you get home from work that’s when it all starts to go wrong.
The hunger has set in before you even walk in the door; looking around the kitchen, you start nibbling at little bits here and there – a piece of cheese, a glass of wine, some of the kids sweets…….before you know it you’ve eaten more than you’ve eaten all day. Having been really focused all day, you’ve suddenly racked up an enormous calorie count in just a couple of hours.
We’re only human – we only have so much willpower. What you have essentially done is starve yourself all day, so its no wonder by the time you get home the munchies kick in. But here’s the thing – you don’t actually need to go hungry to lose weight! Most people fail on their diets because they try to cut calories way too low – which leaves our bodies craving something, anything, to replenish the fuel stores we have emptied. It’s no wonder that at this time we generally shoot for high calorie, sugary foods to quickly refill those stores.
So here’s a few ways you can have the best of both worlds and lose weight without going hungry!
1) Focus on Fibre
Foods that are high in fibre are filling; some take a long time for your digestive system to break down, which is why they can help you stay full for up to four hours.
You’ll find fibre in all fruits and vegetables, plus oats, grains, nuts and seeds. The highest fibre foods of all? Avocado, whole oats and beans (not the baked variety as they are dripping in sugar,kidney or cannelli are a good choice).
The minimal you should be aiming for according to the NHS is 18g per day (which is the bare minimum to prevent disease), most people don’t get anywhere close to this. I challenge you to try and double your fibre intake over the next 6 weeks – do it gradually as to change overnight will be a shock to your digestive system and focus on upping the fresh veggies in your diet.
2) Make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals
Try not to overly restrict your calories in your earlier meals in the day, because you’ll pay for it later. By eating decent portions of food at breakfast and lunch, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels much steadier, meaning there will be less cravings and less rummaging around in the cupboards in the evening. Scrambled eggs with sourdough toast, and fruit always works well for breakfast (‘yes’ all three), then if you like your salads for lunch, try and be creative with your vegetable selection, add a wholegrain carbohydrate such as quinoa and have a whole chicken breast or salmon fillet with lunch. Sound like a lot? Good! Fill up earlier in the day and you’ll avoid hundreds of empty calories later in the day.
3) Add spice
This one is pretty simple really – the spicier the food, the more it’ll curb your appetite. When you feel hot, you eat less, this is why on hot summer holidays we generally eat less, even skipping a meal for a light brunch. Chop up a green chilli, or add some cayenne pepper or paprika to your dishes and you should notice an immediate reduction in hunger levels. Simple and effective. Better still there is research that suggests that capsaicin (the chemical responsible for peppers burning effect) can actually increase your metabolism for a short while. My partner swears by chilli laden scrambled eggs in the morning followed by a trip to the gym!
You should find these tips help to control your hunger levels and help you eat a much more balanced diet. For more tips and tricks on how to eat well and feel great, sign up for our blog here www.salecca.co.uk/blog
Becs Cronshaw – Look out for more articles on training, nutrition and how to transform your body over the next few months. If you would like to ask specific questions, feel free to email me at [email protected] or visit our website www.salecca.co.uk where you can register for our blog.