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    ICON Meals Blog — 2021

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    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)


     

    Two hormones have a major influence on energy balance: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin mediates long-term energy regulation and is responsible for decreasing hunger. Ghrelin is the yin to leptin’s yang, a fast-acting hormone that increases hunger.

     

    When you’re cutting, putting your body in an intentional caloric deficit, the body’s subconscious response is to increase ghrelin which leads to cravings and hunger pangs. This is true even in short cutting periods. And if you give in to these cravings, your cutting will have been for nothing! Here are eight ways to counteract the body’s hunger response:

     

     

    ICON Meals - Caffeine

    1. Caffeine

    Black coffee’s caffeine content can blunt hunger. However, it’s not a panacea and I wouldn’t recommend downing a pot later in the day.

     

    ICON Meals - Distractions

    2. Distractions

    There’s nothing like watching your favorite show or a movie during dinner to help you chill out after a long day, and mild hunger can fade when our minds are distracted with entertainment. Take care to fully enjoy your food — chew thoroughly, swallow, set your fork down, take a sip of water. It’s not a race.

     

    ICON Meals - Fasting

     

    3. Fasting

    Some people have no trouble pushing their meals until later in the day, and fasting can be effective for fat loss — but it is definitely not REQUIRED. Before jumping on the fasting bandwagon pay close attention to how it affects your energy levels. There’s no reason to force your body to take on additional stress when already in a deficit.

     

    ICON Meals Flavors

     

    4. Flavor

    If you’re finding your food a little bland, adding spices and other flavors can make it more palatable without adding excessive amounts of sodium or sugar — ICON Flavor Seasonings are a great example. Too much salt and sugar can numb taste receptors over time, leave you feeling hungry, and make lightly-seasoned foods less satisfying.

     

    ICON Meals - Hydration

     

    5. Hydration

    Drinking water is far better than eating more calories when maintaining a deficit. Most importantly, you need water to help regulate a vast number of physiological processes and stay healthy. Drinking water before and after a meal (and in between bites) helps to promote fullness and keeps your digestive system working properly.

     

    ICON Meals Grilled Chicken Lean Box

     

    5. Nutrients

    Whole foods are your best bet for overall health. 200 calories of potato chips are mostly empty of valuable nutrition —instead, opt for veggies or micronutrient-dense foods to get far more bang for your caloric buck. Additionally, nutrient-dense foods often provide your body with better energy levels and can be much easier on digestion.

     

    ICON Meals Mentality

     

    6. Mentality

    Going to bed hungry is a big pet peeve of mine, so I like to save the majority of my daily calories for the last meal of the day. This doesn’t agree with everyone, and that’s ok. After you’ve eaten dinner, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to starve. If you get those post-dinner cravings, drink water, stay occupied, and see how you feel in 20 minutes.

     

    ICON Meals Sleep

     

    7. Sleep

    Sleep affects hormone regulation, and lack of it will put leptin and ghrelin out of balance. To prevent cravings and dips in your energy, your body needs to get full, complete rest. This is doubly important when you’re intentionally depriving yourself of calories.

     

    ICON Meals Fork

     

    8. Utensil Size

    Psychological tricks can help us feel fuller without actually changing our food. Smaller silverware and dishes visually trick our minds into thinking our portions are larger and therefore more satisfying.

    Weight Loss Meal Plan Success Strategy

    Weight Loss Meal Plan Success Strategy

    Here’s a story that may sound familiar - a person starts a new diet with a weight loss meal plan and they’re really excited about how it’s finally going to change their health around. Maybe there’s some early success! Eventually though, six months or maybe even two years down the road, the diet fails. It happens to so many people that it’s almost an expectation.

     

    A scientifically sound weight loss meal plan is a fantastic foundation for losing weight. Obviously what you eat matters, A LOT. But that’s not enough — without a long-term strategy for success in place most diets are doomed to fail. We want you to take the weight off and keep it off, so here are three ways to make your weight loss meal plan successful for the long haul.

     

     

    1. Set Realistic Goals

     

    Goals should be concrete daily objectives like “drink a gallon of water a day for 30 days” or “work out arms for 30 minutes today.” Writing down and working toward short-term activity based goals is a common strategy for successful professionals in all walks of life — athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs — but those goals have to be realistic to have any chance of working. 

     

    The best strategy is to reverse engineer your long-term visions to create short-term goals. Let’s say you want to lose 5 pounds in a month. Twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise in addition to cutting out processed sugars everyday is a rational, attainable goal. 

     

     

    2. Healthy Caloric Deficit

     

    Putting yourself in caloric deficit (burning more calories than you ingest) is absolutely essential for weight loss, but it is incredibly easy to do so in ways that negatively affect your health and sabotage your long-term goals.

     

    Cutting too many calories too fast will send your body into survival mode, crippling your metabolism as it desperately stores away all energy from everything you consume — your lizard brain thinks you are starving. Your body won’t want to burn fat.

     

    Instead, figure out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and cut that number by 20%. This shouldn’t be enough of a change to trigger your body’s survival mode. Not sure how many calories you’re taking in every day? Keep on reading.

     

     

    3. Accurately Count Calories

     

    We know, we know. Counting calories can be a demanding chore, but it really is necessary for long-term weight loss success. Good news though — a good weight loss meal plan (like our Lean Box) does the work for you! The calories of every meal are already counted for you — simply put the numbers into your favorite nutrition app, or write them down old-school in a nutrition journal. 

     

    And don’t forget — document EVERYTHING. A little snack here and there might not seem like much, but those calories add up too. 

     

     

    In It To Win It

     

    If you’re thinking about investing in yourself and getting healthy with a weight loss meal plan, congratulations — you deserve to live your best life! Help guarantee your self-investment is successful in the long run by adding these tips to your weight loss strategy. 

     

    ICON Meals Signature Menu

    Wyatt Medlin’s ICONIC Weight Loss Journey

    Wyatt Medlin’s ICONIC Weight Loss Journey

    In college Wyatt was a weightlifter and avid swimmer. After graduating and entering the workforce, something happened that is all too common — life got in the way and fitness was no longer part of his daily routine. 

     

    Just before January 2021 he weighed 321 lbs, and started eating ICON meals in the new year. His after pics are from June 15th, 50 pounds lighter and looking great! Read on to hear how he got past his biggest challenge: “getting started again.”

     

    Wyatt Medlin Weight Loss ICON Meals

     

    Can you describe the moment when you decided to make a change? What caused you to make that decision?

     

    Late 2020 I went on a family vacation to the mountains and found myself extremely winded and out of breath while hiking trails, struggling to keep up, at only 30 years old. Being an active person most of my life, growing up playing sports and enjoying working out, it hit me very quickly that I had lost focus for my own well-being and had let myself no longer be a priority. It was time to make a change!

     

    When you started, what was your original vision or goal?

     

    My original goal was to realign my physical, emotional, and personal priorities. Finding a new

    routine, trusting the process, becoming comfortable again in the gym, and hitting new goals!

     

    What has been your biggest struggle along the journey so far?

     

    Shifting around a schedule to ensure that I allow myself time every day to be better as a human. 

     

    Do you remember when you finally began to see progress? When was that and how did you feel?

     

    A few weeks into my journey and it was motivating and exciting!

     

    Where are you now? Describe your results and how you feel.

     

    I'm 6.5 months into my journey and ICON Meals has allowed me to follow a healthy, clean diet that takes the guesswork out! I am feeling proud and excited for what's to come!

     

    What advice do you have for others that want to make a change?

     

    Take the first step. You won't regret it! 

     

    Has your journey impacted others? If so, in what way?

     

    My twin sister has joined along on her own journey and it's been so fulfilling to see her progress as well!

     


     

    Share Your Own ICONIC Story!

    Have ICON meals helped you reach your fitness goals? Share your story and inspire others to start their journey.

    In the Gym With Phil Heath and Mike O’Hearn

    Phil and Mike have been bodybuilders for a long time. Phil’s a 7-time Mr. Olympia winner and Mike is the only American Gladiator to be on the original show and the revival nearly 20 years apart. That kind of longevity comes from being smart about developing strength and athleticism.

     

    We captured footage of these two powerhouses training arms and dropping wisdom bombs. It’s worth a watch!

     

    The Titan Breakfast Burrito

     

    Recipe: Brisket Baked Sweet Potato

    The 4th of July around these parts means brisket. Combine Texas’s favorite cut of meat with a baked sweet potato and you’ve got a dangerously delicious and easy meal. Make it even easier by having us ship the brisket and seasoning directly to your door.

    The Recipe

    Prep time: 45 minutes (mostly baking the sweet potato)

     

    Ingredients

    • Large sweet potato
    • 1 lb brisket
    • ¼ cup ICON Tennessee Whiskey Flavor
    • 2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh if possible)
    • 1 cup water
    • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese (more to taste)
    • ¼ cup green onions (more to taste)

    Instructions

    1. Wash and dry all fresh produce.
    2. Drizzle olive oil on sweet potato, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and bake in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees until tender.
    3. In a large saucepan combine brisket, water, tomatoes, and ICON Tennessee Whiskey Flavor. Mix until thoroughly combined. Cook on high until simmering, then drop to medium low heat for 15 minutes.
    4. When the sweet potato is done baking, remove from foil and place on serving plate. Cut one deep slice lengthwise and slightly squeeze ends to create a hollow “canoe.”
    5. Fill sweet potato canoe with brisket mixture. Top with cheddar cheese and green onions.

     

    Click here to buy 1lb of brisket

    Click here to buy Tennessee Whiskey Seasoning