When you make a commitment to losing weight and changing your diet you will face a number of speedbumps or roadblocks it’s unavoidable.
What you can do is be prepared for them, because 2 of the biggest ones will slap you in the face when you least expect it. so what are they?
Well, it’s our good friend’s hunger and cravings! Hang on but aren’t they the same thing? Nope, here’s why.
Hunger is going to be the biggest factor that can affect your long-term success. When you reduce your calorie intake initially it’s one of the body’s natural signals, it’s something you can’t avoid so best to face it head-on!
Many blokes assume that hunger is the culprit when your diet doesn’t work. While this can sometimes be the case, we are often overwhelmed with advertising, drive thru’s, home delivery and service stations loaded to the teeth with everything you shouldn’t be eating which can set off cravings in a heartbeat.
More often than not, it’s cravings that are to blame when you fall off track.
The best thing you can do is to listen to your body and learn the difference between cravings and hunger to manage your weight loss long term.
So what is the difference?
Hunger is a built-in feature in our bodies that acts in a similar way to a survival instinct.
When we go several hours without food, or several days with reduced food intake (such as when dieting), our hunger hormones signal the brain that we need more energy. This tells the command centre in the brain, that we need to take in calories for energy.
Due to the fact that our brain is unaware of how readily we can get food, it interprets these signals as a warning that we may starve to death as our ancestors did. As a response, the body is primed to consume large quantities of food in order to fuel up on energy – in case it has to wait a long time for the next meal.
Now in complete contrast cravings can be both physiological and psychological.
Physiologically, a craving can be your body’s way of telling you that it needs something. For example, if you are deficient in sodium, your body will crave salty foods – usually those that are most appealing to you such as potato chips.
Psychological factors play a massive role in cravings. Emotions such as stress and anxiety can cause you to crave carbohydrates, which boost serotonin levels for a calming effect. Boredom can be another source of cravings. When bored, you may start thinking of foods you enjoy which then gets interpreted as a craving.
Finally, smells, images, or thoughts of certain foods may trigger cravings as they make you happy, or bring up positive memories you have tied to the food.
Understanding these key differences is the first step in taking control.
Once you can establish when you’re truly hungry as opposed to when you’re experiencing cravings for psychological reasons, you’ll be in a better position to gauge whether or not you need to eat
How do I fight off cravings?
If you wait too long between meals and hunger hits, you may start experiencing cravings for less healthy foods, foods that will make you feel happy and satisfied. On the other hand, if you’re having cravings for a prolonged length of time, your body may convince itself that you’re hungry.
Either way, both hunger and cravings have the potential to ruin all your hard work.
By doing your best to reduce them, you’re more likely to lose more weight, and, most importantly, keep the weight off. Here are some key ways to help you fight off cravings to keep you on track.
I know we keep banging on and on about Protein but it’s for a bloody good reason. Protein keeps you full, it’s nutrient-dense and it has been proven to boost greater weight loss results!
So when planning out your snacks and meals make sure you are loaded up with enough protein throughout the day to keep you on track to that next weigh in.
You got excited there for a minute, didn’t you.
One of the best ways to feel full is to load up on vegetables. While this may be more boring than watching paint dry with a little variation and experimentation with spices, it can make all the difference when it’s time to eat.
The best thing about veggies is that they’re very low in calories and high in fibre, which makes them the ultimate anti-hunger food.
At some point in our lives, we have all heard the 5 P’s.
Preparation, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance.
So having a plan and preparing your food in advance is the key here fellas. If you’re trying to lose weight and are eating randomly, it’s very easy to become hungry and reach for the easiest and fastest food, which is usually unhealthy and high in calories.
Prepare your lunch bag and all your supplies the night before, keep your snacks close by and try to mix up the variety of the snacks and options to keep your body satisfied.