Ever feel hungry when you ‘re cutting? Don’t worry, hunger is a normal phenomenon when you are in an energy deficit for a long time. And there are things that you can do to limit hunger. We give you ten tips.
1. MAINTAIN A NOT-TOO-LARGE CALORIE DEFICIT
If you want to lose weight, there is a great temptation to cut calories significantly. But an excessively large calorie deficit, of, for example, 35% of your maintenance level, has some major disadvantages.
For example, there is a limit to how much fat you can burn daily, without also losing muscle mass [ i ] . If you go on a crash diet, there is a chance that you will lose hard-earned muscle mass in addition to fat. And besides, such a large calorie deficit quickly leads to diet fatigue, which is at the expense of your training performance, among other things. Finally, you will have to deal with unfavorable hormone levels. This decreases the level of leptin, also known as the satiety hormone, which signals your brain that you have eaten enough. In short, you get more hungry.
Of course you don’t want to cut unnecessarily long. Therefore maintain a medium calorie deficit, that is to say of 20-25% of your maintenance level. With this deficiency, you lose 0.5 to 1% of your body weight on a weekly basis, while maintaining your muscle mass and limiting your hunger.
2. CONTINUE TO EAT LOTS OF PROTEIN
In the cut you have to cut back on calories, but not on proteins. In fact, to protect your muscle mass, you eat even more protein in the bulk: 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (versus 1.6 g/kg/d in the bulk). In this article you can read why. It’s fine to stick to 2 g/kg/d, but don’t go much higher either, as that will unnecessarily compromise the amount of carbohydrates and fats you can consume.
Eating a lot of protein has other benefits for cutters. For example, it slightly increases your metabolism because proteins have a higher thermogenesis than carbohydrates and fats (20-30% versus 5-10% and 0-3% respectively) [ ii ] . Thermogenesis is the energy used to process food. In addition, scientists think that proteins have a higher degree of satiety than the other macronutrients. That means you feel fuller faster. However, more research is needed on this [ iii ] .
3. EAT FOODS THAT ARE LOW IN CALORIES AND HIGH IN SATIETY
While cutting, you can reduce your feeling of hunger by eating a lot of foods with a high degree of satiety. How satiating a food is is mainly determined by its energy density (calories:volume), the amount of fiber and to a lesser extent by the amount of protein.
You score best with foods that are healthy, satiating and relatively low in calories, such as: potatoes, oatmeal porridge, chicken breast, fish, eggs, boiled rice, legumes and most fruits and vegetables.
Although oatmeal still contains relatively many calories, it is very healthy and gives you a long-lasting feeling of fullness. That’s why, in our opinion, oatmeal is your best option for breakfast, even in the cut.
4. CHOOSE FIBER-RICH FOODS
Eating a high-fiber diet can reduce hunger pangs and help you eat fewer calories. This by slowing down digestion and influencing the release of satiety hormones that increase satiety and regulate appetite [ iv ] .
Additionally, eating fiber helps produce short-chain fatty acids in your gut, which are believed to further promote feelings of fullness [ iv ] .
High in fiber are whole-grain cereal products (including whole-wheat bread, rye bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and muesli), legumes (such as kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils), nuts, potatoes, vegetables and fruit.
5. KEEP SNACKS OUT OF SIGHT
Snacking can make it very difficult to lose weight. After all, snacks contain a lot of calories compared to a low degree of saturation. In fact, they often taste like more. In addition, they are unhealthy.
It is therefore wise to avoid snacks during your cut as much as possible. The best way to do that is by not bringing them into your home. Do not go to the supermarket hungry.
If you nevertheless fondly think of that bar of milk chocolate or that butter waffle, keep the purpose of your cut in mind. Because the less you snack, the faster that coveted six-pack will appear.
6. DON’T DRINK CALORIES
High-calorie drinks, such as soft drinks, fruit juices and alcohol, have a less satiating effect than fixed calories. Through fluid you pour in hundreds of useless calories. It is therefore best to drink water (see next point). Coffee and tea are also great drinks to enjoy in moderation.
7. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
The biggest advantage of water was already apparent from the previous point: it contains no calories, while it is an effective thirst quencher. But drinking water may have other benefits when you’re cutting.
For example, there is the claim that drinking a few glasses of water before a meal makes you feel full, and therefore ensures that you eat less. This is supported by a study that showed that people who drank two glasses of water right before a meal ate 22% less than those who did not [ v ] . A similar effect can be achieved if you have a cup of broth-based soup just before the main meal, according to another study [ vi ] .
In addition to making drinking water less hungry, it can also speed up your metabolism [ vii ] [ viii ] , especially if you drink cold water [ ix ] . However, this effect is only small and has no substantial influence on weight loss.
8. EAT MINDFULLY
Mindful eating has been shown to reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness. Mindful eating is a way to respond to your internal hunger and satiety signals, such as your thoughts and physical feelings [ x ] .
Mindful eating is not as floaty as it may sound. It means:
- Do not let yourself be distracted by, for example, telephone or TV while eating;
- Eat slowly and focus on every bite[ xi ];
- Pay attention to your hunger signals and eat only until you are full*;
- Concentrating on things like the taste, texture, smell and appearance of your food;
- Approaching food as if it were the first time you’ve ever tasted it.
9. KEEP BUSY
There is a relationship between food and boredom [ xiii ] . Being aware of this and not making impulse purchases in the supermarket are already good steps to counteract this. Also, try to stay busy with whatever activity you are doing. For example, take a walk more often: good for body and mind, and you also burn some calories with it.
Feel also free to do some cardio when you’re cutting. You can eat a little more because of the calories you burn. Although it must be said that cardio itself can also make you hungry again, which is why it is best to eat a meal immediately after the cardio. In addition, do cardio in moderation, because excessive cardio can be at the expense of your muscle mass.
10. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Getting enough good quality sleep can also help reduce hunger and protect against weight gain [ xiv ] [ xv ] . Studies show that too little sleep can increase subjective feelings of hunger, appetite, and food cravings [ xvi ] [ xvii ] .
Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
Avoiding hunger altogether is not possible during a cut. Accept that some hunger is part of the process that will lead you to great results.
- [ i ] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15615615
- [ ii ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10193874/
- [ iii ] https://mennohenselmans.com/protein-is-not-more-satiating-than-carbs-and-fats/
- [ iv ] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-reduce-hunger-appetite
- [ v ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25893719/
- [ vi ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29151813/
- [ vii ] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24179891
- [ viii ] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205
- [ ix ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16822824/
- [ x ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28718396/
- [ xi ] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24847856/
- [ xiii ] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00369/full
- [ xiv ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32960623/
- [ xv ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26567190/
- [ xvi ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30893841/
- [ xvii ] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27866988/