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    ICON Meals Blog — mental health

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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.

    Five Steps To Stop Emotional Eating

    Five Steps To Stop Emotional Eating

    Let’s be real for a minute and talk about a problem that many face on a day to day basis: emotional eatingIt’s an issue I’ve personally dealt with on and off for almost as long as I can remember, and according to a national survey is a struggle for an estimated 2.8 million people. [1,2]

    The Mayo Clinic says emotional eating is a coping mechanism to deal with negative emotions. Major life events and daily hassles can trigger these emotions. We experience many such triggers every day — relationship conflicts, stress at work, money worries, and rejection to name a few.

    The foods we search out when emotionally eating tend to be high in carbs, sugar, and fat. They give us an immediate serotonin boost (the “happy hormone”), but the response is short-lived. Sugar is highly addictive and your body begins to crave that sugar high, creating a vicious spiral that is difficult to break.

    Why is this a problem for so many?  Most do so out of habit. Years of associating food with feelings — a mindset that isn’t going to get better overnight. To break the emotional eating cycle it will take practice, willpower, and determination plus a healthy dose of trial and error.  

    Let me share with you five steps that have helped me break this terrible cycle. Give them a try before throwing in the towel!

    1. Recognize Your Triggers

    What sets off your emotional eating frenzy?  Work? Relationships? Money? Make a list of everything causing you to eat and keep it in a visible place. When these triggers appear, you can make a conscious mental note that they’re setting you off towards the fridge.

    Triggers are not completely avoidable, but you do have some control over how often they show up in your life. One of my favorite quotes is, “Starve the distractions, feed the focus.”  Saying no to possible stressors can be freeing, opening up the door to positive changes.

     

    1. Consume Healthy Fuel

    Nutrient-dense foods provide your body with the fuel it needs to run properly and can help curb cravings. Sugary foods and drinks cripple your weight loss efforts and often create a binge eating snowball effect. Guess which types of food we gravitate towards when we’re stressed? 

    Keeping your water intake up also helps keep cravings at bay. Hunger, dehydration and stress are a recipe for disaster when it comes to emotional eating.  

     

    1. Find Healthier Ways to Cope

    When I’m stressed, hitting the weights is my number one coping mechanism. I always feel better after leaving the gym. Your healthy coping mechanism may be yoga, reading a good book, listening to music, or hanging out with people you love.  

    Whatever puts you in your happy place, do that instead of reaching for a carton of ice cream next time you feel the urge to emotionally eat.

     

    1. Make Your Kitchen A No-Junk Zone

    If junk food doesn’t exist in your fridge and pantry, you won’t eat it. Instead, keep your kitchen stocked with nutrient-dense foods, like:

    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Lean proteins like chicken
    • Cottage cheese
    • Greek yogurt
    • Whole grains
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Nutes

    I also keep some of my favorite protein bars on hand for when I’m craving something sweet.  

     

    1. Phone A Friend

    Friends make any struggle easier to overcome, and they may even have similar problems. Confide in those close to you. Ask them to keep you accountable, share your goals, and reach out when you’re feeling tempted to emotionally eat.

    Support is a huge factor in successfully overcoming any personal demon. Lack of support itself can be a serious trigger for many people.

    Most importantly, recognizing that emotional eating is a real, difficult problem many face  can make it easier to deal with. Knowing you are not alone can be helpful in overcoming this obstacle. 

    You Can Do It

    It took time and patience, but I learned to minimize emotional eating through practice, goal setting and tenacity. You can overcome this challenge, and getting past self-doubt is often the first step to success. Wake up each day reminding yourself: Be strong and courageous, and keep Livin’ Fit. 

    For more helpful training tips, workout ideas, macro-friendly recipes and more, follow me on Instagram @aprilimholte

     

    April M. Imholte, RN

    NASM Certified Personal Trainer

    Certified Sports Nutritionist

    Nationally Qualified Figure Competitor

    LivinFitWithApril@Gmail.com

    Facebook.com/LivinFitCamp 

     

    [1] Hudson JI, Hiripi E, Pope HG Jr, Kessler RC. [Published correction appears inBiol Psychiatry. 2012;72(2):164.] Biol Psychiatry. 2007;61(3):348-358.

    [2] Howden LM, Meyer JA. US Census Bureau Age and Sex Composition: 2010. US Census Bureau. May 2011