8 February 2019


by Jacob Schepis 0

Dieting can suck. If you’ve ever been on a diet for any reasonable amount of time, you will know how tough it can be to stay compliant. The incessant thoughts of food, the cravings, the hunger, the lethargy, it all becomes too much, and before you know it you’re back to where you started… So…

Dieting can suck. If you’ve ever been on a diet for any reasonable amount of time, you will know how tough it can be to stay compliant. The incessant thoughts of food, the cravings, the hunger, the lethargy, it all becomes too much, and before you know it you’re back to where you started…

So how can you beat the hunger and lethargy to fat loss success?

Firstly, hunger is an adaptive response to dieting (energy imbalance) and isn’t something that should be feared. You just need to learn how to manage hunger to ensure that you can adhere to the diet and set in place the necessary checks and balances to ensure your physical and mental well being are taken care of…

Secondly, a reduction in energy levels is also a natural consequence of an imbalance of energy, and prolonged periods at a calorie deficit will indeed result in lethargy and poor energy levels. Again, there are certain measures that can be taken to maximise your energy levels during a fat loss phase.

Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a degree of ‘suffering’ when you get deep into your diet, especially for physique competitors. However for most of you looking to drop a few extra kilo’s, you are probably suffering unnecessarily due to your lack of knowledge and experience when dieting. 

There are a number of tips and tricks that you can implement to make dieting more bearable and help you manage your hunger and energy, and If you are someone who feels tired and hungry, ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. Am I sleeping properly?

Sleep is crucial when it comes to maximising body composition. Not only is it important for your overall energy levels, but it plays a vital role in hunger regulation.

You see, when you are awake, your bodies natural response is to elevate hunger hormones (ghrelin).

When you are asleep, Ghrelin is temporarily down regulated, and the chances of you getting hungry are far less dire. 

So, the first place to look if your energy levels are low and hunger is unbearable on your diet, is your sleep patterns.

Ensure you are getting a minimum of 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

2. Am I eating enough fiber?

Fiber is natures broom, and is responsible for both your digestive health as well as is a primary contributor to our satiation (fullness levels). 

When we consume adequate fiber, our gastrointestinal tract distends, releasing an array of peptides and hormones that will tell your body you are full.

So, are you eating enough fiber?

If you’re finding you are getting hungry, you may need to up your fiber intake.

Vegetables,  beans, lentils, bran cereals and fruit are all high in fiber and will also add volume to your meals without the additional calories. 

Ensure you are getting at least 15g of fiber per 1000 calories or aim for 2-3 servings of vegetables daily.

3. Am I making sensible food choices?

Sure, we want our diet to be flexible and include those little treats every now and then. But if you are spending too many calories on processed foods that are energy dense, meaning they have a lot of calories for very little food volume, then you may find yourself hungry and lacking energy.

When we consume energy dense foods, the body will typically utilise these nutrients at a much faster rate, thus these kind of foods aren’t able to sustain your energy and fullness very well.

Not only is it sensible to eat wholesome foods from a health perspective, but it will ensure that you are full and provide long lasting energy. 

Ensure you only eat 10-20% of your calories from refined foods, and the other 80-90% from unprocessed foods.

4. Am I spacing my meals out evenly?

If you are someone who skips meals, and then finds yourself falling asleep at your desk or with severe hunger pangs, it’s time to re-think your meal schedule, and make it consistent!

The timing of your meals will NOT improve your body composition, but it can improve your adherence and enjoyment of the diet if you spread them out in a sensible and clever manner.

Evenly spaced meals every 2-4 hours is typically a great place to start. However, it is imperative that you find a meal schedule that fits your preference and lifestyle, whilst ensuring that you don’t get overly hungry or lethargic due to long durations without food.

Once you find your schedule, make it stick like glue!

Space your meals out every 2-4 hours, and make your eating  schedule consistent.

5. Am I Drinking Enough Water?

The final and arguably most important aspect of your nutrition is your water intake.

Whilst there is no set recommendation for water intake due to the large discrepancy between individuals, as a rule of thumb you should be regularly drinking water so that your urinations are clear.

Not only is water necessary for every cellular function in the human body, but it’s role in hunger management and performance is crucial.

Similar to fiber, water also distends the gut and increases your fullness.

Aim to consume 2-3 litters of water per day, and always keep a close eye on the colour of your number one’s.

Take Home Points:

  • Hunger is a normal response to diet & weight loss.
  • Energy levels will be lower on low calorie days and higher on high calorie days.
  • Get a minimum of 6 hours sleep per night.
  • Ensure you are drinking enough water.
  • Eat plenty of fiber.
  • Space your meals out evenly.
  • Make your eating schedule consistent.

– Jacob, Director & Head Coach


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