Friday, November 14, 2008
First of all, be sure you are not depriving yourself of all the calories you can have, while still being able to lose weight. There is virtually no one who needs to be on a diet lower than 1200 calories, and it's nearly impossible to get the nutrients you need if you're eating less than that. Figure about 10-12 calories per pound is what you need to maintain your weight (eg if you weigh 200 pounds you are burning approximately 2000-2400 calories a day). Of course this varies greatly depending on your age, gender, and activity level, and there are websites to help you estimate your needs a little more closely.
Take 250 to 500 calories away from this number (now your range for weight loss if you are 200 pounds will be between 1500 calories and 2150) and you can expect to lose one-half pound to one pound a week. True, if you eat 800 calories you can lose 3 pounds, but it's not worth it to starve yourself and be miserable for an extra couple of pounds, is it? The fact is, you can learn to eat an 1800 calorie level for the rest of your life on most days and then you will never have to 'diet' again!
So, now to address the hunger issue. Think about how you feel when you say you are "hungry". Is your stomach growling, are you lightheaded, or do you just feel like eating more food because it tastes good? If you just like to eat, you will have to develop some strategies to distract yourself after you've eaten the proper portion at each meal and snack. Leave the table, have a cup of tea or a hard candy, go for a walk, call a friend, listen to music--whatever you enjoy that will distract you from the idea of eating more.
Some tips to help keep you from feeling empty:
1) Eat all the food allowed on your meal plan. Don't skip a meal, don't skip a serving of vegetables. You'll stay more full during the day when you eat consistently
2) Enjoy a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. There is a book called "volumetrics" that explains how to eat a lot of food volume without taking in a lot of calories.
3) Mind calories taken in from foods that will not fill you up at all: simple carbs like pretzels and crackers; hidden fats like melted butter and cream sauces; and one of the worst culprits--sweetened beverages like soda and sweet tea.
4) Before a party or a meal, have a handful of nuts--just about 10 or 12. They send a chemical message to your brain within about 30 minutes that says you are not hungry!
Hang in there, and take it slow and steady. Enjoy the food you do eat, and find other things you like to do to keep your mind occupied.
Let us know what strategies work for you!