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Entry No. 4 – Why am I STILL hungry?

The debriefing starts now…

There is a time and place for extreme nutrition in the fitness world; for instance, individuals seeking to compete on a professional stage. If you, or somebody you know, has ever competed in a body building, wellness, figure or bikini competition, you know ALL about the hunger pangs and mood swings associated with a calorie-restricted diet. Perhaps Jekyll-Hyde comes to mind?

Most people reading this aren’t professional competitors. And because of that, there’s seldom a need for such extremity. The “diet” life is a cycle of temporary satiation and hunger, as diet means restricting or eliminating.

You will also note that those who undergo a “diet” –including professionals–never stick to it long term. I mean, look at competitors 72 hours after they get off stage. Look at professional athletes off season. Any “restrictions” were done for a set purpose, and once that purpose was realized, it’s back to normal.

Some of you out there may be thinking, but what if I’m NOT in a calorie deficit? What if I’m eating protein, fats, and carbs but I STILL feel hungry?

To avoid nit-picking your macros and activity level, we’ll assume your numbers are perfect. These are the top four culprits that play a major part in a full (happy) belly.

No. 1 – Your calorie count (numerically) is correct BUT…it’s empty calories.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say at some point, all you have to do is burn more calories than you consume! Sorry…that is incorrect.

While it IS tempting to substitute 200 calories in mixed dry nuts for 200 calories in candy, understand there is a huge difference in how those calories affect your appetite, sustained energy and long term health. Dry mixed nuts are nutrient dense while the candy is sugar-laden. Mixed nuts will be utilized properly as fuel, while candy adheres to your enamel and leads to cavities.

No. 2 – Too much soda/juice/alcohol, and not enough water.

Did you know up to 60% of your precious meat suit is made of H2O? Here is a water-composition breakdown to put things in perspective:

Brain and heart = 73% water
Lungs = 83% water
Skin = 64% water
Muscle and kidneys = 79% water
Bones = 31% water

The debate over how much water should be consumed on a daily basis varies. Don’t take this number as law, but for an active female, aim for about 12 cups a day (96 ounces or 2.8 liters); active men should aim for a gallon (128 ounces or 3.8 liters). Heavy lifters are advised to drink even more, an estimated 5 ounces on TOP of your daily recommended intake.

Water intake includes brewed tea, without additives. I personally, am a big fan of loose leaf tea purchased from the local tea shop (Houston has some great ones).

Another trick is to down a full glass of water before and after your meal to feel fuller.

No. 3 – You don’t eat your veggies.

I don’t wanna hear, “But I eat broccoli with my chicken and rice!”. Really? Those three forks of broccoli? That’s not enough.

When consuming vegetables, think of the rainbow. Colors are a good thing and you want at LEAST two of your main meals to include a variety of colors. Think leafy greens, colored peppers, different kinds of squash, mushrooms, avocado, garlic and onions. Vegetables are low calorie, help you fill up faster and most importantly, are nutrient dense. Eat them with your breakfast, lunch and dinner; there are no rules!

And for Pete’s sake, stop overcooking your veggies to the point they resemble a spilled jar of Gerber.

No. 4 – You aren’t getting enough fiber.

Fiber is soooo underrated in today’s modern diet. Our bodies need fiber JUST as much as protein, carbohydrates and fats. The recommended fiber intake for men is 38 grams per day; women, 25 grams.

A great way to get in more fiber is to swap out the white/bleached carbs for brown carbs. Instead of white rice, try brown rice, farro, flaxseed, beans, chick peas or quinoa. These fiber sources help you feel full longer while also aiding in digestion and elimination.

I truly hope these tips helped. If you STILL experience hunger issues and fatigue after incorporating all four points, then it’s due time to speak with a medical professional. Your body could be telling you something is wrong.

That’s my five minutes for the day. Or was that six?
With love, and GAINS.

P.S. Today’s Random Nugget: “Over and Out” is a term introduced to the masses by Hollywood. In (arguably mediocre) movies, the phrase is said to acknowledge a response on the radio. In actuality, “Over” means that you have heard the message and expect a reply, while “Out” means that you have heard the message but you are ending the conversation. You don’t say them both. So next time someone tries to say “over and out” wearing their pretentious Aviator shades, bop em upside the head.

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