10 Tips To Feel Full – Yes, Really! (Because Hangry Is Horrible!)

Feeling hungry – or getting to the point of “hangry” – is terrible for everyone. There ARE ways – yes, really! – to maximize fullness and avoid the pitfalls of poor-choice snacking.  It does take some commitment, but it isn’t so difficult that it can’t be achieved (with minimal, if any, pain, I promise.)

I struggle with snacking too – I’ve always liked eating a lot of food, so I’ve learned some tricks to keep me on track, without the starving feeling of a “diet” (I don’t actually believe in the “D word” to begin with.)  The point is to set yourself up for success, not disaster.  Binges?  been there.

#1. . . H2O

Water is essential for SO many reasons, and I guarantee that most of us aren’t getting as much as we need. When you feel thirsty, it’s usually too late.  Incidentally, in effort to get the hydration it needs, sometimes you’re sent a “hungry signal” when in fact it’s the body and brain’s way of saying “need fluid asap!”

How to make it work: Always drink water before you eat.  You WILL get a stronger feeling of fullness.  In some cases, too much water at once might make you feel sick…so go easy and give your body a chance to adjust.  Sip your water first and you’ll likely notice you don’t need to eat that whole, huge portion.

#2. . . SLOW DOWN!

Eating too quickly is a surefire way to A.) eat more than you need and, B.) leave you feeling overly full.  Stomach aches are NEVER good! Slowing the pace can make a huge difference – you will feel that “fullness” when it’s time to stop.  The body has been designed to work like a highly-tuned machine – it knows before the brain does sometimes.  Trust it.

How to make it work: Take a bite and put your utensil down.  Sound basic? It is.  But try its because it helps.  Eat a little, put your fork down, and give yourself a chance to chew and enjoy the food.  

Feeling full!?

#3. . . Fruits and Veggies

Portions M A T T E R.  These nature-made goodies are easily found, not expensive, and are one of the best ways to add bulk to your meals (not to yourself!), while also adding a dose of H2o goodness and nutrients.  Veggies in particular are my go-to for making meals a lot BIGGER than they really are without adding a ton of calories (e.g. . .or to my waistline, which can happen when I’m not careful.  Thanks, meso-endo body type!)

How to make it work: Add an extra serving of steamed vegetables as a side for your meal, or add them to it (for example, soup or pasta) to make a larger, and more filling portion. Fresh fruits are also great (and a better choice than their deliciously dried counterparts) to add to things like yogurt, cereal, or even frozen yogurt for a treat.

#4. . . Distract yourself and stay mindful

Are you *really* hungry?  Or just bored?  I have a habit of wanting to eat when I’m not busy (working on the computer, watching something on tv etc.)  Bad news, because then I look for more food to snack on…

How to make it work: It’s okay to snack here and there but if you are not mindful of what you are doing, you’ll probably go overboard (it’s easy – portions aren’t really that big!) If you absolutely *must* snack while doing something else, portion it out and remind yourself to (#2) slow down. If you are simply eating because you are bored, find another way to distract yourself to get that “I’m not hungry but I want to eat” out of your mind.

#6. . . Pre-Portion

Having some options at the ready is always a great idea, especially when they are portioned out already.  You dont’ need to buy crappy snack packs, you can make your own (hummus with veggies, popcorn in portioned bags, fruit salad etc.)

How to make it work: Have some pre-portioned items in your pantry or fridge for when you need them.  Stay mindful and remember they are portioned for a reason.  If you savor what you are having, you don’t need to eat three portions of it.  Often we do that because it’s an oral fixation – the act of just munching – vs our body really needs the sustenance.  I’m super guilty of this one.

#7. . .  Don’t BUY it!

This is a go-to for me also.  Sometimes I know I really want something…but if I buy it, I’m not going to be able to control the amount I have.  So…I don’t buy it.  It isn’t worth it to me to then be kicking myself in the butt – if I don’t have it at home, I can’t eat it.  I CAN, however, buy other options.

How to make it work: Don’t get sh*t you know you can’t handle!  I’m serious! You know your weaknesses.  Do buy things you can have instead that you won’t beat yourself up over.  You deserve to feel great ALL around.

#8. . . Get moving!

Exercise is a nice distraction technique (see #4.) It’s great for  you, but it also gets your metabolism moving along as well.

How to make it work: Maybe you don’t have a gym membership, or you are having a tough time motivating…try doing a few little things during commercials when you are watching your favorite show, or in between stirs while you’re cooking dinner (e.g. pushups, jumping jacks, setups etc.) Baby steps are OKAY.  In fact, they are MORE than okay.  It might help get your mind off the need to munch, and give your furnace a boost while you’re at it.

#9. . .  Chopsticks

Yep.  Chopsticks are not as easy to eat with and they force you to follow rule #2 whether you want to or not.  Sneaky, yes.  Genius, also yes.

How to make it work: Pick up a pair and start pinching!  If you have trouble, there are modified ones that are joint at the top (not as good, but still slower than a fork or spoon.)

#10. . . (Worse comes to worse, and ps, I’m NOT a dentist!) Have some peppermint, or try a piece of gum

I am NOT recommending chewing gum as much as I do (it is sugar-free, but I’m sure it’s not the best habit.) There are plenty of healthy ways to avoid overeating but sometimes a quick piece of gum can keep me from eating something I don’t really want or need.  A dose of peppermint tea, or a mint can also help. Again, not trying to suggest this is should be a default – I’m slapping my own hands given that I love my Bubblemint.  But…if all else fails, it can help in a pinch.

How to make it work: Have some peppermint tea, suck on a mint, or even have a piece of sugar-free gum.  As a last resort, this can actually help.  Some folks recommend smelling fragrant oils – you can try that too, though the physical act of chewing, or having the taste on your tongue, might have a stronger result.

Once again, not a doc, and not a dietician..but these are a few tricks that might help when the munchies hit.  As someone who LOVES volume (e.g. LOTS of food) I can say honestly that these tricks CAN work.

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Nutrition – 100 Calorie Snack Packs

Hard to beat!

Fresh fruit is a great (and easy!) snack to tote along – high fiber, low calorie, full of nutrients, pre-portioned…and no hard-to-pronounce ingredients on the list!

Staying Healthy When Eating Out

It is definitely possible to eat clean when you eat out – don’t let fancy menus intimidate you, peers pressure you, or options overwhelm!  

I’ve written tons of posts about eating at restaurants and on the road because the reality is…you aren’t always going to be in the safety of your own kitchen!  When you have goals – whether to lose weight, maintain fitness, optimize performance, compete…whatever – you know how important it is to stay clean.  Nutrition IS about 85% of it – let’s not kid ourselves.

Clean, however, doesn’t have to be boring!  Nor, equally important, does it have to leave you starving!  The whole idea is to set yourself up for SUCCESS, right?!

My family visited this weekend, and we had a three meals planned at restaurants – back in the day, that would have terrified me (having eating disorders is nothing short of being held hostage by delusional thoughts – it’s a living nightmare.)  Nowadays, I feel so blessed and thankful, not only that I can eat out and really enjoy it (sans anxiety!), but that my loved ones are supportive of my choices. ❤

One of our meals was in a restaurant that made Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives…so you can imagine, it wasn’t poised as the most healthy.  Still, ordering steamed shrimp, broiled fish (no oil, no butter), and plain, steamed veggies was a CINCH!  It was delicious, filling, and totally in line with my needs.

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Dinner was at a fancier place, where richer dishes are commonplace.  But, again, easy-peasy – basic grilled fish, grilled vegetables, and an appetizer with plain crabmeat.  Clean, delicious, satisfying! 🙂

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Breakfast was at a hotel…with an OUTRAGEOUS buffet! The majority of foods were ones that I don’t really allow on my meal plan, but there we also many healthy, wonderful options.  I ordered my usual poached eggs, snagged some boiled shrimp, and a bowl of fruit.  

I never like to eat too much in once sitting (I CAN, but I’d rather break it up – both because I know I can overdo it easily, but also my body can better assimilate the nutrients when I leave time in between.)

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So what preparations should you look for / ask about when you find yourself at a restaurant?

  • Steamed
  • Grilled
  • Boiled
  • Broiled
  • No sauce, oil or butter (or on the side if you must)

Trust me, they have been asked before so DON’T be embarrassed.  Sticking to what works best for you…and, most importantly, leaves you feeling GOOD about you…is always okay!

For more food-related jazz…! 

 

Thankful For My Other Half

I could enumerate – at great length! – there reasons I cherish the love of my Life…  

This one image comprises several reasons in one, actually! – as I have eluded to in many pasts posts, I eat to live, not the other way around. Thankfully eating disorders are well in the past, but any of us who have been there must make efforts every day to stay strong, and healthy.  Muscles need fuel and nutrients!

Finding someone who is supportive of you, your needs, your desires, and your quirks is a blessing beyond words.  He checks to make sure I have snacks before any lengthy road trip or travel.  He makes wherever we go out to eat that I can get something I am, legitimately happy with… He’s so incredibly good with me, and it never goes unnoticed.

I came home from Ninjutsu the other day and he had bought me lunch.  The kind of lunch I would have bought myself.  Not just what was convenient, not nothing at all… He surprised me with clean, healthy food…and I was so very thankful. ❤ 

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Natural Sugar

Sometimes after a workout…and sometimes before…I need a jolt of sugar.  I don’t do well with sugar in general – too much fruit is as much a problem for me as processed foods depending on the quantity!  But when I do need something sweet, I reach for fresh fruit as much as possible.  Red grapes are a favorite, as is pineapple – when they are ripe, the sweetness can completely override the need to have something far less healthy!

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That said, I often crave salt after lifting or working out. Well, let’s be honest, I crave it ALL the time!  I tend towards low blood pressure, not uncommon with really active females, so salt can be a good thing in my case.  But the other day all I wanted was sweet, and this bowl of grapes did the trick!   

I find that my body will let me know what I need – my cravings are an indication (typically) that something is in lower supply. Not only did my natural, grape-ity bonbons satisfy my sweet tooth, they helped in the recovery process, as well as with my energy level – happy muscles = happy me! 🙂

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Listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to have some fresh fruit around the house – the natural sweetness, fiber and water content can help you stay on track with your nutritional needs and goals, as well as give your body a boost when it needs it!  (Not to mention healthy natural enzymes and nutrients!)

Breakfast When You’re Away From Home

So I can’t say I have had a 100% PERFECT experience as far as ordering a healthy breakfast meal when I’m out..but so far, it’s been pretty great!  I’ll always say “don’t worry, if they have eggs, fruit, and / or vegetables, I’m sure I can make it work!”  

But…my hunnie is more right than I am that asking for “CLEAN” isn’t always as simple as it *should be*…  Diner waitresses have looked at me curiously many times.  I’m not sure if they’re thinking “is she serious?” or “I feel kind of badly she’s so stringent.”  It might be a mix…and that’s okay.

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Generally, I make out pretty well.  I usually will order three eggs medium-boiled (preferably), though poached seems to be the easiest preparation (and the most common.)  I ask for medium-boiled because I don’t care for soupy yolks, nor for dry…and I also want to be sure they are fresh cooked and hot.  Someone did ask me once if I wanted already-made COLD hard-boiled eggs heated up.  Uh…no thanks!  (I wanted to say “would YOU?!“)

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So three it is (hopefully more on the medium side) and a side of fruit.  Fresh fruit is a great option because it’s full of nutrients, it’s less sugar dense than a juice, and you get to chew (I am a HUGE fan of munching…not drinking…my calories because it makes me feel more satisfied)…   There’s lots of fiber and water as well to keep you fuller longer. If that’s not around, I’ll ask for cut up “whatever-fruit-you-have”….or steamed vegetables if it’s later in the morning.  The protein and good fat in the eggs, paired with water-dense items will keep you from feeling like you didn’t have enough. 

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Generally, I get something close to what I’d like, which is great.  I feel good about those choices and know that if I need to snack later at home, I can do that (and I will, undoubtedly, bust out my veggies and do so!)

So it isn’t, by any means, impossible.  And you have every right to ask for what you’d like.  Not everyone will HAVE those items, so be prepared to choose something different – maybe grilled chicken slices! 😀

More and more people are modifying because of allergies, or for health reasons, so you won’t be the first.  And if I happen to have dined there before you, trust me, they’re used to it! 😉

(For more of what I eat…)

Weekend Lunch

Right before moving, my hunnie and I had a chance to get together with all the parents (always a treat – they are all amazing! ❤ ) We went out to dinner together, which was a ball, but he and I had a chance to get some lunch together earlier.  It was a gorgeous day…still quite warm, but Fall was undoubtedly present, trailing on the end-of-summer breeze.

We sat outside and ordered some unsweetened iced tea – I’ve recently decided I am steering clear of Splenda (sucralose) and the like, as I *may* have intolerance.  (PS, that’s rather a topic all its own.  Alarming, some of what I was reading!)

I feel like whatever I order is simple – fortunately this waitress agreed!  Most of the time I can order healthily and people are accommodating – it is SO much more commonplace these days to be asked to “modify” a meal, whether because people are more health conscious, have allergies etc…  But in the end, a simple meal without the extra butter, oil or paraphernalia IS easy to prepare.  So modify away!

I asked for “a usual” for me, baby spinach, tomatoes and grilled chicken.  That’s it.  Nothing else!  It sounds sp plain but when you add salt and pepper and chip it up a bit, the moisture from the baby spinach helps it all mix in.  It’s delicious, and incredibly good for you.  It’s also filling because of the protein, so I’m not starving in two seconds. 

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I’m looking at it now, somewhat hungrily, actually!  I used to eat a lot of lettuce, but baby spinach, or really deep greens, pack so much more of a nutritional punch that it’s worth at least mixing some in if you don’t want to go ALL in.