Satisfaction: How to Feel Full

One of the hardest parts of following a diet to lose weight is feeling hungry. Cutting calories works, but only if you stick to the plan. And the plan can often end up leaving you hungry at the end of the day. So what do you do? Probably ditch the diet and tear open a bag of chips.

I have nothing against experiencing a little hunger. Right now, I'm hungry but I'm not going to eat before bootcamp. As soon as I start exercising, I'll forget about the hunger. Starving yourself is never going to work, though. If your diet leaves you hungry all the time, between meals and at night, there is no way you're going to stick with it. You've got to find a plan that gives you satisfaction: the feeling that you've had enough to eat.

Now when I say "satisfaction" I don't mean stuffing yourself until you can't move. Satisfaction is when you've had enough. And enough is the right amount for a meal. Enough to keep you from feeling hungry for 4 hours. (This is an important aspect of the Zone diet.) Enough does not refer to a number of calories, but to the right balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Eat each macro-nutrient in the right percentage and your meal will last about 4 hours. According to the Zone diet, the right percentage is about 40% carbs, 30% fats, and 30% protein.

Of course, everyone is an individual and this exact formula might not be perfect for your metabolism. Some people might need slightly more carbs, while others will do better with slightly less. You will need to experiment in order to find out what works best for you.

But the key to feeling full for longer is not to skimp on the protein and fat. If your "meals" consist of mainly (or only!) carbs, you will be hungry very quickly after eating. I know this from personal experience. I was once one of those vegetarians who rarely consumed any protein or fat at all. My meals featured loads of carbs: bagels with nothing on them, muffins, fruit, oatmeal with raisins, etc. I was hungry nonstop from waking until I went to sleep at night. I ate about every 2 hours, all day long. I could never be without food.

Today, I consume protein and fat every time I have any kind of carbs. As you may have guessed, I'm a big fan of the Zone diet and have been using its principles for many years. I have stuck with this particular diet and its concepts because they work so well.

Let me give you some examples of balanced meals. For breakfast, you might try a three-egg omelet with spinach, tomatoes, onions, and feta cheese. (3 eggs=protein, veggies=carbs, cheese=fat) For lunch, a sandwich on sprouted wheat bread with 3 ounces lean turkey breast, 1 ounce cheddar cheese, and a pile of fresh greens like baby kale. (Bread and kale=carbs, turkey=protein, cheese=fat) For dinner, a large chopped salad topped with grilled chicken or salmon and guacamole. (chicken=protein, veggies=carbs, avocado=fat) Snacks should be mini-meals, and also include all three macro-nutrients.

Keep in mind: the more refined a food, the more quickly digested, and the more quickly you will feel hungry again after eating. Whole foods last longer than refined, processed foods. Two factors which slow the digestion of carbs are FIBER and FAT. So whole grain bread slathered with butter is going to take longer to pass through your system than plain white bread with nothing on it. In fact, studies have shown that white bread spikes insulin production as much or even MORE than white sugar! Strange but true.

If you are struggling to lose weight and looking for support, I am available in-person or long-distance to assist in your efforts. Leave me a message in the comments if you are in search of a weight-loss coach.