Curbing your cravings.
Controlled calorie consumption (and being in a calorie deficit) can be hard. Really hard. Especially if we are relatively new to controlling our nutrition. It can be a big shock to the system when we go from eating anything and everything, to consuming smaller, controlled portions of food. Honestly, it can be down-right upsetting.
Being new to controlling our nutrition can also lead to slight lapses of accountability and focus. Cravings can come at the (almost always) inopportune times; like at 2am on a Sunday morning after a big night on the drink. Or it could come in the form of 'treating' yourself for sticking to your macros for the past 7 days so you "deserve" it.
These cravings can cause havoc to our daily nutritional plan as it could very easily put us over our macro/calorie count for the day. And as we all know -
Weight gain is caused by calories in being greater than calories out
So, what can we do to curb these cravings? Firstly, keeping ourselves fuller for longer is a sure-fire way to stay within our macro allowances per day. Ensuring we are in our calorie/macro 'green zone' means we will be absorbing the necessary nutrients to properly function throughout the day whilst remaining in a calorie deficit (and if we're consistent enough - lose weight!).
Here's 5 quick tips on curbing your cravings and keeping hunger at bay.
- Plan your day in advance - Take the time every night/weekend to plan the entire week ahead before it takes place. If you take the time to organise your week's nutrition before it starts you significantly increase your chances of maintaining a consistent and adherent nutrition plan which aligns with your goals. It also gives you the opportunity to assess each day and make adjustments before any potential bad decisions are made.
- Drink plenty of water - We can often confuse our lack of hydration for hunger. This results in additional consumption of macros, subsequently breaching our macro allowance for the day. If this happens on a consistent basis, we will inevitably be over our weekly calorie goal and treading the fine line of eating at maintenance or at a surplus (we don't want that!).
- Eating enough fibre - Fibre is necessary for a fully functioning digestive system. Ensuring you consume enough fibre each day will help slow the digestive process down, resulting in you feeling fuller for longer.
- Change your meal frequency - Everyone is different. Ergo, everyone eats differently. And different nutritional plans work for different people. If you are finding that 5 smaller meals simply isn't cutting it, increase the volume each meal and lower the frequency. For example, if you originally planned five 300 calorie meals swap them to three 500 calorie meals and vice versa. This is particularly helpful for those of us (like me) who are volume eaters.
- Go to sleep - Sleep deprivation increases the hormone ghrelin, which is known to increase appetite. Additionally, lack of sleep causes the blood levels of the hormone leptin to drop; leptin is a hormone that is secreted which tells the brain that we have enough energy stored within our fat cells and the brain should give us a feeling of fullness. Make sure to get enough sleep each night!
We are all different and therefore require different requirements when it comes to nutrition and training. Don't overcomplicate things by letting your hunger or cravings get the better of you when you are doing so well with your food plan. Figure out what works best for you in terms of fulfilling your macronutrient goals, train hard, stay in a calorie deficit (if that's what you're aiming for) and smash your goals!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.