This morning’s workshop on nutrition was requested by a member who had been dieting for a while, but struggled to feel full on the foods she was choosing. When she started to feel hungry, she’d overeat and that made it difficult for her to achieve her weight loss goals.
The request came in last week. As I always do, I took a week to think about the problem and start to suggest some solutions. The ideas I had seemed to be grouped into two camps; those relating directly to food choices, and those which did not.
Stuff that isn’t about food
Indirectly, much of the content of last’ week’s article on mindful and emotional eating seemed to apply – particularly with regard to not eating while distracted, such as while watching TV or on your phone.
Increasingly, people feel pressured to eat lunch at their desks and take a working lunch. I’d encourage you to avoid that if at all possible. Your work is almost definitely not so indispensable that you can’t spare 10 minutes to walk away from it for a snack and a break!
*If your job actually is life and death then obviously don’t bin it off for a sandwich and a prolonged bathroom break. Don’t be a dick.
Actually planning meals, and becoming organised with cooking helps. It also helps to know when you’re getting to eat next, so you don’t eat like an arsehole out of hunger because you don’t know when the next meal will be coming & you’re panicking.
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d be told “don’t eat that now, you’ll spoil your tea” – same principle applies. Except now you’re the responsible adult… but also the hungry and impatient kid.
Noticing when you get physically hungry during the day and planning a snack for that time can be a great strategy for some. I’ve had a few clients talk about the 2pm chocolate bar fix, or the bag of nuts on the bus ride home that could – if they weren’t careful – spoil their deficit for the day.
Rely on diet drinks, and zero calorie pop to satisfy that sweet craving instead. Some people may also feel fuller and less hungry by selecting a fizzy, carbonated drink. There is absolutely no reason why you should be avoiding aspartame, no matter what your colleagues told you.
Last week, we talked about the good old Precision Nutrition strategy of eating to 80% full, and putting down your fork as you chew. An incredibly difficult, albeit super simple, target. Even managing this for one meal a day can make a huge difference to how much you appreciate your meals.
The actual food choices
Regarding the food itself, last week we talked about drinking a big glass of water before and during the meal to feel fuller & help your food digest more easily.
This week I’d add that avoiding heavily processed foods can help feelings of fullness. This is one that I have relied on in the past, and it’s related to the point about getting organised and preparing food. If you aren’t prepared the chances are you’re going to end up with something processed, which probably won’t fill you, and will probably cost more than you want to be spending. These foods get expensive quickly and are of variable quality. It’s not the end of the world now and again, but it better suits your diet, and your pocket, if you can be a little bit better prepared.
Selecting a lean source of protein at every meal will be a good start, as protein helps you to feel fuller for longer – it’s highly “satiating”. If you’d like a list of possible protein sources, check out this infographic I made, about the bang for your buck you get with different protein sources.
Finally, adding volume to your meals by adding as many vegetables as possible – a low calorie, high fibre option which makes it seem like you’re eating loads of food, even when the calories remain low.