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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Setting Up The Day

There’s something to be said for having breakfast in the morning.  It doesn’t have to be sitting on your night table and devoured the moment your lids go up…but having a meal in the morning as you get going can set you up for a much better day.

My system is a little quirky – if I wake up early, before my usual (and more natural) time, I have to eat pronto.  Not doing so lands me in a puffy and uncomfortable way – no one can explain it, it just is what it is.  Same thing happens if I wait too long between meals or snacks! Frustrating but…I know it happens, so I’m able to be proactive and head it off!  If I wake up at my usual time, a cup of coffee and a little time before eating works best.  Everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with the way your morning routine is if it works for you!

I don’t vary a ton with my food in general – I could list my staples on one hand.  So breakfast is either eggs and vegetables, or eggs and fruit.  I don’t manage to get bored, remarkably (spices and sometimes even salsa or hot sauce can make a nice change!)

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What I find, though, is that having a decent amount of protein, paired with high fiber and high water content foods sets me up to have more energy for the not just the morning, but the day.  It kicks starts the metabolic burning process, and it often keeps me from devouring everything in sight later (that happens – for sure – when I don’t.)  

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Whatever mix of macronutrients works for you so that you feel your best, have the most energy, and feel satisfied, is what you should do!  That might be toast with peanut butter and some fruit, or a big greek yogurt smoothie… Whatever it is, though, squeeze it in if you can.  Breakfast is hugely important and will give you the support you need internally to start the day right. 

 

Healthy Breakfast When Dining Out

This really is my usual cast of characters, so it’s fair to say that MOST of my dining-out breakfast options look a lot like this (which, for me, is a good thing!) 🙂  

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There are always a lot of great options, though – you never have to have full fat milk in your cereal, or even milk at all, for example – most places offer skim (lots of protein, less calories and fat), or soy or almond options.  You also can ask for greek yogurt in most establishments, in place of plain (less protein than greek, and often more sugar.)

You can absolutely ask for any condiments on the side, lest your dish come out drowning in something more caloric than you need.  Fresh fruit and a tall glass of water are also great as they give some volume and a feeling of fullness…without being bad for you!

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For me, the combination of healthy fats, protein, fiber and water content helps keep me satisfied a good while – I’m the kind of person who eats a LOT during the day, so consider that I probably need to eat more often than most.  In this case, the fact that I am satisfied for a while indicates that the food items are doing their job nicely…withOUT being bad for me!

More Deliciousness

Appreciating Family and Fresh Food

I had the wonderful fortune to spend time with my parents, an uncle, and my sisters this past weekend.  My fiancé had not been to the island – ACK, to be clear – so it was a special treat to share a childhood haunt…and many fond memories and traditions…with him.

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A gorgeous ship in the harbor (prompting pirate accents when we saw it!)

We were there only two days and my heart really sank to leave – the combination of vivid memories from my youth, paired with having us all in one place (my brother and sister-in-law were missed!) plucked at my Empathetic heartstrings!  It is always jarring to swap realities for me, and always has been – not to the point I can’t do it, just that it takes a little adjusting (incidentally, it appears this is a common problem for folks – google it and see!) I truly, however, appreciated every moment while I was there.

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Harvested, fresh clams…er, the shells!

One of our traditions is going out to the harbor just before low tide, and taking advantage of the low water levels to snag fresh clams (in season, and within the regulations, obviously.)  I love that the restrictions are in place, lest individuals harvest with gay abandon and upset the ecosystem for their own gain.

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Fresh clams

Once we have a good bushel (or more!) we haul them back in and make two things – clams casino and clam sauce for pasta.  

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Clams casino

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Martelli pasta (the BEST!) with clam sauce

As a clean eater, I actually don’t have either dish (though, in my defense, casino contains cheese, which I – and my stomach – definitely cannot have!)  It is more important to me personally to maintain and achieve my goals, so I’m okay with abstaining.  I always have enough of my own goodies to not feel hungry (my fiance made stir fry chicken and vegetables! 🙂 and I know I will feel better later.

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Fresh candy from the local farm!

That said, I do enjoy the preparation, having all of us together…AND a few steamed clams in olive oil and green tabasco (my uncle’s favorite concoction!)  The most important part of the meal preparation, and devouring, is the time with my loved ones.

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When I reflected on our many summers together, my heart just glowed – sometimes Life goes  too quickly.  Or maybe we are young and aren’t thinking about time marching on as vehemently as it does… But since we all are at a stage where we DO have control of mindfulness, make sure to take the time to stay present (something I work on daily.)  Cherish the moments you have – they make for a mind-blowing tapestry of memories and love.

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❤ 

 

Humor (and Tips) – It’s HOT Out

The heat is definitely rising these days in the Northern Hemisphere – While past years have run higher, it is well above what the body is accustomed to regulating on it’s own.  It is therefore vital to stay mindful when the weather turns the dial up – lack of preparation can end (quite) poorly.

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I’ve sort of been feeling more lethargic, but I’m outrightly blaming it on the oppressive heat.  Still, I’ve toned down my response – I used to be more melodramatic about it…

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Now I just do my best to deal.  I won’t be caught with a frown on my face anymore, but I will be equipped with a giant bottle of water…especially when I’m training or working out.  

The Holy-Heat! Checklist:

  • H20 – Stay hydrated!  Everything from your core temperature, your heart, brain, and body function, to your skin will thank you.  So, SO important, and not to be overlooked.
  • Sunscreen – Wear it when you are out.  Reapply often.  I guarantee you aren’t wearing enough (neither am I! *slap on hand*)
  • Salt – This depends on the individual and personal conditions but…if you are an athlete in particular, you need to replenish your sodium and overall electrolytes.  Water matters, but be careful not to over dilute.

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Being stuck indoors during summer is a drag, especially when it’s “nice” out – but if the temp does creep up to “ungodly” maybe take a shade break too. Overheating is never a good idea, especially if you can prevent it.  And…you can!

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Eating Clean All The Time

It isn’t as hard as it sounds.  There can be little treats here and there, absolutely…but clean eating “all the time” means it’s a lifestyle, not a fad or “diet.”

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Family gathering

I don’t take whole days off from eating well – it matters to me what I put into my body as fuel, and I know that if I get OFF track, getting back on will be much more of a challenge.  So I stick with it all year round, every day – it isn’t a “summer thing” or a “after-holiday revamp.”  When you maintain ANYthing, the difficulty drops substantially – less catching up to do!

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Breakfast and Snacks on vacay

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Breakfast and Snacks on vacay

A FEW TIPS for when you aren’t home, or you have a gathering?

  • Go for the cleanest preparations: Grilled, broiled, steamed, roasted, baked.  While you are at it, ask them to go light on (or eliminate) any oil or butter they might *think* they need to add. 
  • Instead of heavy dressings or condiments, ask for lighter substitutes: lemon, vinegar, olive oil on the table (so you can control the amount), coarse salt etc.
  • If the dish sounds enormous, ask for a smaller portion…OR, take half home. If you’re at someone’s house, just take a little – no one is forcing you to overdo it! 
  • Ask that any sauces be brought “on the side” so you aren’t at the mercy of the heavy-hand kitchen’s often have, or just skip it if you are at a party.
  • Drink your H2O – it will help fill you up!
  • Ask for a double order of steamed veggies on the side…another “fill you up” helper, or munch on some salad before you dive in.
  • Have fruit or berries instead of other desserts.  I know, I know, less fun.  BUT, it does help the sweet tooth (and you feel better about it later.) 🙂

If you do want to stay healthy, it’s a lot easier these days than it once was – most places (and people!) are used to it, so don’t be too hung up on that.  How you feel physically and otherwise is numero uno, so take care of YOU however you need to. I got a few looks ordering plain grilled chicken and steamed veggies at a bar while out watching UFC with grappling buddies…but whatever.  I even pulled an organic apple out of my bag.  No funny looks with that though, except for the jealous friend who wanted one too! 🙂

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Yes…even at a bar watching UFC fights…it’s possible!

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For more Nutrition posts…

Stocking Up At The Supermarket…

I go to the store almost daily – I think for some people, that sounds like an alarming rate. . .but going once a week simply doesn’t work for me. 

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I go through my food at a rapid pace, but given the quality of it, I’m okay with that (I’m not going to beat myself up for devouring all of my vegetables, whereas if I was mauling bags of potato chips, I might have to second guess my restocking habits!)

The usual suspects:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh, packaged greens (spinach, mache etc…)
  • Frozen vegetables 
  • Still water 
  • Carbonated water without chemicals (flavoring from natural fruit)
  • Ground chicken (I prefer organic, but sometimes can’t get it)
  • Popcorn (the lightest kind I can find, non-greasy, just a touch of oil and salt.  PERIOD.)
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Coconut creamer (which I mix with the above)
  • Chia bars (Heath Warrior, chocolate peanut butter)
  • Hummus
  • Organic eggs
  • Egg whites 
  • Nitrate-free sliced turkey 

There are a few other things I pick up, but those are the typical cast of characters.  I think it’s important for us to shop often. . .and NOT to shop hungry.  

Food preparation is always a wonderful thing if you can do it (that can be done once a week, maybe twice – there are fabulous blogs out there specifically dedicated to this, not only for fitness competitors, by the way!)

What kinds of foods duo you buy?  Are you shopping several times a week?  I see the store when the snow comes and I’m always shocked.  *LOL*