Personal trainer Emmet Rushe reveals the best approach to dieting to keep hunger pangs at bay.
I am currently on a ‘diet’.
By ‘diet’, I mean that I am currently in a phase of my training where I am dropping body fat.
The goal of this is to get down to a low enough level of body fat for the summer.
But enough about that.
One thing that has happened to me, over the last few weeks, is that my hunger levels have risen the further into the diet that I have gone.
When I say hunger, I am never really ‘starving’, it’s more of an empty feeling an hour or two after I eat.
This brings us back to the point at hand;
Should you be hungry when on a diet?
Ask one hundred different people and you will get one hundred different answers to this question.
There are a few ways to look at this;
1. One is to look at where you are coming from.
Whenever you are starting into a diet, what your nutrition looked like beforehand will have a huge effect on how hungry you feel during the diet.
If you are coming from a diet that was heavily processed and involved a huge amount of calories but the volume (amount) of food you were eating was low, and you change that to a wholefood diet that involves loads of fruit and vegetables with plenty of meat and fish and enough carbohydrates and fats to suit your goal, the chance of you being hungry are slim.
The reason for this is, even though you are eating less calories, you are actually eating more food than you were before when you compare the amounts.
You will also have an increase in fibre and protein in your diet and a decrease in processed sugars and fats.
All this combined will keep you fuller for longer and you will be able to lose weight and not go too hungry during the diet.
More food – Less hunger – more weight loss.
This is the best possible scenario when dieting.
2. In scenario 2, you have someone who has the same starting point as person one above, but they have chosen to use a quick fix diet instead.
This diet consists of 1 meal per day and 2 weight loss shakes, as the majority of these quick fix diets tend to use.
Now, the chances of you being hungry will increase 10 fold due to the make up of the diet you are on.
You are coming from a diet of low volume, high calories foods to a diet of lower volume low calorie food and shakes.
You will feel lethargic and hungry most of the time as you are only really taking in 1 whole meal per day and when you drink the shakes, you will be hungry again shortly after you consume it.
This combination of factors is the main reason that people cannot sustain these type of diets for long periods of time and it is also the reason that they end up going on a binge and regaining all the lost weight after they finish.
Less food – No Energy – More Hunger – Can’t Keep the Weight Off – Huge Rebound Weight gain
This is the worst possible scenario when dieting.
3. The last way to look at this is if you are coming from a diet that is pretty good, has minimal process foods, has plenty of fruit and vegetables with plenty of meat and fish and enough carbohydrates and fats to suit your goal.
When you start into a diet in order to lose body fat, as I am currently doing, the likely-hood of you being hungry will increase.
The reason for this is, in order to lose more weight and body fat, you will have to reduce the amount of calories you are consuming at different phases of the diet.
Having come from a great starting point, the volume of food you are eating will reduce with each drop in calories, so the chances of being hungry will increase with each phase.
That isn’t to say that you will be starving, but from experience and from working with hundreds of clients, hunger is part of the process.
Allowing yourself to understand what some hunger feels like, is actually a great learning curve for when you start into a diet.
It’s something you must expect and shouldn’t shy away from.
Once you learn to control this, you will be better placed to deal with it if it happens to arise whenever you start your diet.
That will make sticking to your diet much easier and there will be less chance of slipping up or giving up.