6 Ways to Lower Calories Without Starving
When you have a caloric deficit, you often feel hungry. But how authentic are those feelings? Consuming fewer calories is one of the most traditional ways to decrease fat, and if you consume less calories than you need you will lose weight. However, it can be tough when hunger is gnawing away at you. Bear in mind that people eat for many reasons, and being hungry is far from the most common.
We have addictive fast food, a tendency to eat for comfort and there are calorie bombs that can be tasty, but far from filling. If you want to manage your calories without feeling like you are starving, try these strategies:
1. Drink at least eight ounces of water before you eat. The brain easily confuses hunger with thirst. Many times your thirst cues feel like hunger. When you want to grab something to eat, drink a glass of water first and wait 20 minutes. If you are still hungry, that is a genuine cue.
2. Choose protein-rich items. Not all foods are equally satisfying, and not all calories are equal. Protein naturally makes you feel fuller for longer. Fill up on less food by choosing items that pack a protein punch. Consume at least 20 grams per meal, keeping in mind that people need nearly half as many grams of protein per day as their body weight in pounds. This means that if you weigh 170 pounds, then you need roughly 70 grams of protein.
3. Load up on veggies. Many vegetables have naturally low caloric content. This includes carrots, broccoli, spinach and many others. You can fill up guilt-free on these snacks and foods that are good for you. Some even burn more calories than they provide as you have to chew them more, such as celery. If you make a salad, just make sure you avoid dairy products and high-calorie dressings.
4. Re-train your palate. It might seem like zero-calorie foods will satisfy your sweet tooth, but they actually trick the brain into wanting more. Instead, focus on re-training your palate. If you consume whole, natural foods and less sugar, your taste buds will adapt. You will be satisfied with fewer calories and less sugar over time. This is a healthier approach than choosing “zombie” food.
5. Know the times of day when you ’re hungriest. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is that true for everyone? Not necessarily. Everyone is hungry at different times, so know yourself. If you are hungry for breakfast, enjoy. If your body wants to wait until lunch, don’t feel forced to eat until then.
6. When you are trying to decrease caloric intake, another strategy is re-learning portion sizes. In America, this can be tough to do. It is easy to look up portion sizes with a variety of apps, but don’t be surprised if these sizes seem wrong at first. Especially in restaurants, we are used to seeing enormous portion sizes so it will take awhile to understand true portion sizes.
It is also a good idea to avoid buffets and ditch the idea that you need to be part of the “clean plate” club. Both of these ideas can be dangerous.
Article by Rachel O’Conner