Don’t Be Hangry. 10 Hunger Beating Tips

Hangry.

That awful combination between being hungry and angry.

Whilst a little hunger won’t kill us, and is something that we should be able to regularly repress without succumbing to it at the bat of an eyelid, it is useful to have strategies to help keep it at bay.

Im so hungry king leonidas meme

The above holds especially true when you’re deep into a diet and food intake is pretty low. When you’re in this state, it’s especially important to steer clear of the hangry feelings as they can lead you to make poor food choices, potentially derailing your diet.

Take a look at these 10, easy to implement, actionable hunger beating tips and put them to work!

1) Make sure that you’re being flexible.

By this I don’t mean rolling out your yoga mat or doing a bunch of foam rolling and stretching.

I mean being flexible with your diet.

Hunger is quite often ‘food specific’, i.e. you’re more likely to be hungry for a pizza, a pasta dish or something similar as opposed to being absolutely gagging for some chicken breast and broccoli.

However in traditional diets, these foods that you like are quite often ‘off menu.’ Not great if you’ve got a craving that can only be stopped by a specific food.

If you’re a smart, flexible dieter they need not be off menu. By incorporating your favourite foods into your dietary constraints (which can be worked out by using the Diet Creator in my Free Get Shredded Toolkit) you’re much more likely to be satisfied with your food.

2) Make breakfast your smallest (or most low calorie) meal of the day

“But it’s the most important meal of the day!”

“You’ll go into a catabolic state if you don’t eat a big enough breakfast!”

“It’s when your metabolism is at it’s fastest so the food will be burned off easier”

Blah blah blah.

None of the above are true, absolutely not one iota.

When calorie intake needs to be dropped, one of the first places I look is at breakfast.

muesli-breakfast-cereal

Why?

It’s the meal we probably value less, especially during weekdays. We often are rushing about in the morning like a blue arsed fly trying to get ready and often eat breakfast on the go, or standing up in the kitchen.

This busy-ness continues into the mid morning until lunch when we’re far less likely to be fixated on hunger. The exact opposite is more likely mid-afternoon when things are quieting down, or in the evening when you’re chilling on the sofa and the snack cupboard is calling out to you.

Therefore, you’re probably much less likely to begrudge dropping 100-200 calories from breakfast as opposed to your evening meal. This means you can keep some calories in reserve for other times when you’re much more likely to need that food to suppress your hunger.

3) Consider fasting

Following on from the above, we could go one step further and skip breakfast all together.

Or another way of looking at it, just pushing breakfast to later in the day.

Tons of clients have said to me that they aren’t hungry in the mornings, or just don’t particularly like eating breakfast. This suits me just fine as there’s likely no negative effects from doing so.

Having a fasted period means:

a) Less time between meals = less time to be hungry

b) Reduction in the frequency of meals. This means more food in each meal. For some this is more filling. For example if you need to diet on 2100 kcal, would you prefer to eat 3 large 700kcal meals in a short time frame or 6 small 350kcal meals spread out across the whole day? I’d take the large meals in short time any day!

c) Potentially a more convenient style of meal patterns. Eating regular, small meals as some would recommend is just not feasible for everyone in our busy lives. Having longer fasted periods in the day means more time to get your shit done and less time faffing about with buying/prepping and eating food.

If you want to give fasting a go, ease into it gently rather than jumping in at the deep end. Give this approach a try:

First, at your usual breakfast time (let’s say 7am) have just a coffee or tea (allow yourself a very small amount of milk if you don’t like it black). Fast until 10-11am and eat your usual breakfast.

After trying this for a few weeks, gauge how you feel and if you’re feeling good then try a ‘proper’ fasting protocol. One of the most popular, and one that I recommend to my clients if appropriate is the Leangains 16/8 protocol. You basically just pick 16 concurrent hours in the day to fast, and an 8 hour eating window. So for example:

Last meal at 10pm, fast until 2pm the next day. Eating window 2pm – 10pm.

4) Eat plenty of protein

Protein is the most satiating (hunger busting) macronutrient out there. So make sure you’re eating plenty of it, getting some in at each meal.

However, make sure that your protein intake mainly consists of lean protein, rather than fattier sources. Think chicken breast, egg whites, white fish, lean beef, lean pork, lean cuts of lamb as opposed to chicken legs, ribs, whole eggs etc.

Chicken Breast

This is because lean protein is very hard to overeat. Think about it this way, eating 500g of low calorie, lean chicken breast would be a chore and likely quite unpleasant for most people, however eating a 500g high calorie, fatty ribeye would be a breeze.

This isn’t to say that fatty sources of protein need to be avoided outright, just limited depending on your goal nutrient intake (again, which can be worked out in the Free Get Shredded Toolkit HERE)

5) Eat TONS of vegetables

For vegetable driven get shredded success, take what you think is a lot of vegetables and double, even triple it. They’re rich in fibre and have a high water content, both of which keeps us full. Unfortunately, when served solo they can often be quite boring. So don’t just steam some greens and put it on the side of your plate.

Instead, prepare them so they’re more of a central part of the dish and so that they’ve actually got some taste so you ENJOY your diet rather than hating every boring, dull mouthful.

My favourite vegetable dish is egg fried cauliflower rice;

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
Pinch each of salt, pepper, Chinese five spice
1 finely sliced spring onion
1 minced clove garlic
1 finely sliced red chilli
2 beaten eggs
1) Take the head of cauliflower, chop off the stalks, blitz in a food processor (NOT a blender, otherwise you’ll end up with a cauliflower smoothie) until it forms rice-like grains.
2) Heat your oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and chilli, fry for 1 minute.
3) Add the cauliflower rice, spring onion, soy sauce, salt, pepper and Chinese five spice and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until browned.
4) Make a well in the middle of your pan by pushing the rice out the sides. Add the two beaten eggs in the middle of the well and stir well until the egg scrambles.
5) Mix through with the cauliflower rice and serve with your favourite Asian style protein. I like prawns mixed with a little chilli sauce or some stir fried chicken with hoisin sauce and mushrooms.

I also like courgettini as a replacement to spaghetti, the recipe can be found HERE.

IMG_2389 (1)

6) Don’t neglect fruit

Fruit has a bad reputation in the dieting world, usually based off some really crap science based on fructose’s effect on fat storage. This is not true, in fact fruit is a pretty good fat loss tool.

It’s full of water, which obviously has no calories and provides a ton of volume to it which keeps us full.

It also has plenty of fibre in it which also helps keep us full as it sends a signal to the brain telling us we’re full because it slows the digestion process.

A portion of fruit (approx. fist sized) as a snack, or as an addition to a meal is a pretty smart idea to keep hunger pangs at bay and you could do much worse with other choices.

7) Stick to mostly single ingredient foods

Consisting your diet of mainly whole, natural, single ingredient foods will do wonders in keeping you full. These foods are relatively bland and quite filling. Think white & sweet potatoes, lean protein, fruits and vegetables.

These foods are unlike the manmade foods which often have a great mix of flavour, salt, carbohydrate and fat which makes them very hyper-palatable aka f**king tasty. Unfortunately they are by default, quite high calorie.

However, we love these manmade foods and they are VERY difficult to avoid, which is why I recommend against trying to not eat them at all… you’re very likely to fail!

I believe this is where most conventional diets go wrong.

Instead, limit their consumption to 20% or so of your diet, whilst the single ingredient, whole foods consist of the rest of your food intake.

8) Crank up the volume

More low calorie, high volume foods = more space taken up in your stomach = less hunger.

So make sure you ‘volumise’ your foods. Instead of drinking protein shakes, make high volume, low calorie brownies out of your protein powder. Or make protein fluff.

Protein Fluff

Image credit: Protein Pow http://proteinpow.com/2014/07/blackberry-protein-fluff.html

Protein fluff is seriously awesome, it’s more like having a sorbet or ice cream than a boring, runny protein shake.

Other notable modifications to pad out your meals are:

  • More vegetables (see point 5)
  • Try low calorie noodles
  • Pick “airy” foods if appropriate. Puffed cereals vs normal ones, popcorn vs crisps, “Popchips” vs crisps are all good examples.

9) Supplement

There aren’t a great deal of supplements out there that have a decent body of science to back them up when it comes to reducing appetite.

One supplement that does have some relatively strong evidence is 5-HTP. When taken with a dosage of between 750mg-900mg/day has been shown to be moderately effective in reducing appetite and mildly effective in reducing body weight.

Care should be taken though with 5-HTP. It can have nasty interactions with many prescription drugs and in rare cases can cause other health issues due to the strong effects on certain brain chemicals. It would be wise to try all of the other tips in this list first before trying 5-HTP, and if you do wish to try it, consult your doctor first.

10) Have a calorie free drink

This tip probably isn’t as effective as all of the above, but I know for me personally, having a Coke Zero or a Diet 7Up helps me put off my hunger for at least an hour or two, by which it’s hopefully time for my next meal!

The combination of something sweet and the bubbles helps to keep us full and satisfied but it also works for some with black tea and coffee (or at least a VERY small amount of milk if you don’t like it black).

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