Appetite control is, without question, the greatest pain of dieting. Hunger can transform a normal human being into a resentful, angry, verging-on-insane wreck of a person. And it is, of course, the number one reason why diets fail.
The sad truth of the matter is: whilst we can eat whatever type of food we want as part of an effective diet plan, we can’t eat as much of it as we’d like. The laws of physics are a cruel thing, but if we are to get anywhere in our pursuit for the body beautiful, I’m afraid that we have no choice but to work with them.
First of all, the basic hunger-avoiders must be covered. This means: enough total food (no over-the-top calorie deficits!), enough filling food, a good fluid intake (water is your friend!) and sticking to what you find is the best meal frequency for appetite control.
For the majority of dieters, the most filling nutrition plan tends to be one higher in fat and fibre. As for meal frequency- some people find ‘small and often’ is the best appetite suppressor, whilst others find larger, less frequent meals more effective for hitting the spot. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and finding your perfect balance is something that may require some good old trial and error. This means a bit of eating experimentation, to determine the most effective use of your daily calorie allowance.
Of course, there will be times aplenty when ‘eating a good balance’ just won’t cut it for the hunger monster. So when you’ve nothing but the dregs of your daily calorie allowance left to play with, when a square meal- let alone a nice slice of cake- is out of the question, how do you satisfy those hunger pangs?
The answer is low calorie/high volume foods. This means foods that you can eat a LOT of, at a minimal calorie count. There are natural, nutrient-rich options, and there are sugar-free/fat-free, chemical filled options. Personally, I feel both have their place, but it comes down entirely to your personal preference. So- enough talk- what are they?
Here are some ideas:
- A bowl of salad greens, dressed with vinegar
- Raw tomatoes, peppers, celery and cucumber
- Steamed asparagus with low-sodium soy sauce
- Steamed cauliflower with hot sauce
- Roasted pumpkin, butternut squash and zucchini, with low-calorie cooking spray
- Egg white omelette with low-calorie sweet or savoury filling (e.g. for a sweet filling, you could have berries, sweetener – I use Splenda or Stevia– and cinnamon; and a savoury filling could be peppers, mushrooms and hot sauce) made with low-calorie cooking spray
- Fat-free/sugar-free jell-O
- Fat-free/sugar-free pudding
- Ice blended with low-calorie flavour of choice (e.g. lemon juice and sweetener, coffee and sugar-free syrup, berries)
Of course, the above list is just the tip of the iceberg. Get creative – once you know some good low-calorie ingredients, it’s amazing what interesting and tasty combinations you can come up with for a calorie-friendly snack.
Despite all this, let me make one thing clear: you probably will get hungry. That is the nature of a fat loss diet- you are eating in a deficit, and sometimes you just have to accept the fact that hunger is to be expected. However, you should now be able to tame that hunger monster down from a life-dominating nightmare, to a minor annoyance, and that is going to make your diet plan sustainable.
Do you have any favourite tips and tricks for appetite control? Do share them below!