So many women are concerned about controlling their appetites for fat loss and while I completely understand, please know that this isn’t going to be your typical weight loss blog!
Sadly, there are countless blogs out there that provide advice like, “Just make a plan and stick to it!”, or “downsize your dishes and eat only half of what you normally would!” and I have to say, all this advice really just sounds really unhelpful and unhealthy.
If you’re a human, you are meant to get hungry. It means you’re healthy and your body is functioning as it should. When you focus excessively on “curbing your appetite”, all that happens is you increasingly feel deprived and you ignore hunger cues, until you end up eating your body weight in ice cream.
While I personally prefer to focus on feeling strong and healthy as my main priority, there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose some fat. But I highly recommend doing it in a way that won’t lead you down a road of deprivation, overfocus or binge eating.
Here are some real life, no nonsense tips if you feel like your eating habits are sabotaging your fat loss goals.
#1 Eat three meals a day with protein and fibre
Eat three meals a day with protein and fibre. If you’re hungry between meals have a snack of either fruit or a handful of nuts (or both). This will make you more intentional about your eating and avoid mindless snacking, which can really cause those calories to add up.
#2 Eat more wholefoods
Studies have shown that wholefoods are far more filling, so the best way to start normalising your appetite and to reduce cravings is to have more wholefoods such as good quality protein, lots of veggies and some fruit in your diet. Make it a goal to increase the amount of high fibre veggies on your plate: carrots, broccoli, zucchini, beets and brussel sprouts (the list goes on). The fibre helps you feel fuller for longer, and you won’t have those blood sugar drops that can leave you feeling famished.
#3 Don’t wait until you’re starving before preparing food!
Don’t wait till you’re already hungry before preparing your food. I always like to make my lunches the night before simply by making sure there are leftovers from dinner. It saves any thought when I’m ready to eat at lunch time as it’s all ready to go!
#4 Don’t overfocus on what you cannot eat!
Do not overfocus on what you cannot eat, because you’ll feel so unhappy and deprived that you’ll eventually eat more of it. Remind yourself that you can eat whatever you want, but that you’re choosing to eat mostly wholefoods because you have certain goals you’re reaching. A small serving of chocolate, for example, does not mean you’ve ruined everything. If your diet is that strict it’s time to rethink it. Reframe your inner dialogue and instead of telling yourself what you cannot eat, remind yourself that you’re focused on healthy living.
#5 Start paying attention to how you feel
When you have the urge for a sugary treat or for fried foods, check in with your body and see where you’re really at. Are you hungry? Or are you bored, emotional, or feeling a bit uncertain about something? Your body actually does have some wisdom. If you often eat to numb a certain emotion you can start to lose touch with your true sense of hunger, but if you pay attention to how you feel it will come back.
#6 Don’t forget the number on the scale can be misleading
Don’t forget that the number on the scales can be misleading since muscle weighs more than fat. Perhaps the scales are showing a slight increase which you think means you’re eating too much, but it could actually mean you’re gaining muscle! Make sure you’re including some strength training into your routine as well as some cardio, and don’t over-exercise. You will burn out! If you want to increase your exercise level for fat loss, do it slowly.
#7 Avoid Mindless Eating
Avoid mindless eating like in the car, or as a distraction while working. It’s a habit that can easily lead to a lot of overeating, and it’s rarely about hunger.
Instead of believing that you need to curb your appetite, please remind yourself that your appetite is a sign that you are a normal, healthy human, and that food is your friend! Change that internal dialogue towards health rather than deprivation, focus on adding more fibre, and really listen to your body (get to know it again, it really does talk to you). Finally, don’t focus on what you can’t have, because you’ll just drive yourself towards wanting even more of that particular food. Focus on more of the good stuff!
Here are some other blogs you may be interested in:
Healthy Over 40: What I Eat in a Typical Day
7 Healthy Habits for Women’s Fitness
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