by Dr. Matthew Chircop
You might recall, from the previous article in this series, that the four main hunger-relief strategies are:
If you spend your days thinking of big burgers, it's definitely time to address your hunger.
Needless to say, the timing, frequency, duration and dose (amount of carbohydrate) vary according to the individual.
Some people, I suspect a minority, seem to cope with the prolonged hunger, sleep disturbance, mood changes, metabolic slowing, reduced testosterone levels, and other (negative) fertility effects that occur after weight loss.
For everyone else, I suspect that the majority would benefit from at least one high-carbohydrate meal every 2-3 weeks once they have lost a significant amount of weight (more than 5-10 kg, more or less depending on your frame size).
Addressing hunger is as simple as intermittently eating larger than normal servings of food.
If you are in the early to middle stages of weight-loss, diet breaks (for days to weeks at a time) can provide reprieve from hunger, but progress will be slower. People who have a significant amount of weight to lose (>15-20 kg), and whose lifestyle is significantly different from the desired healthy norm, might benefit from this approach. It provides ample opportunity to gradually learn the new lifestyle, as well as occasionally relaxing any perceived restrictions. However, towards the end of the weight-loss phase, the aim is to “wean” the person from their previous lifestyle and make permanent changes. At that stage, diet-breaks for days at a time are likely to undermine the maintenance of good habits. So, unless you are in the early-to mid-stages of losing weight and have a reasonable amount of weight to lose, I would suggest that any of the other methods listed above are better long-term strategies to relieve hunger.
For those who can’t focus in the morning unless they eat breakfast, intermittent fasting is out. I would also suggest that this is also a particularly risky strategy for those who tend to “feast” when they are hungry, as, when they finally do eat, they are likely to eat more than their daily calorie allocation. However, intermittent fasting works well for those who can be easily distracted from hunger during the mornings and who have good portion-control otherwise. It is likely to be particularly effective for those who tend to “graze” rather than “feast”. Emotional eaters are likely to have variable responses to this method, as it depends on when they are exposed to stressors, and the availability of their other stress-management strategies at those times.
A normal meal would contain anywhere from 20-40 grams of carbohydrate (less in the case of snacks).
I would recommend that a "reefed" meal contain at least 60-100 grams of complex carbohydrates – however much you need and however frequently you need to feel “normal” again after the meal.
Some people use intermittent fasting for 2-4 days a week. Others use a cheat meal every 5-14 days. Others have 2-3 high carbohydrate days per week, and moderate their carbohydrate (and calorie) intake on the other days of the week. Use whatever strategy you can maintain given your unique individual situation.
The idea is not to let the hunger escalate to a point where you are at risk of “falling off the wagon”, as, not only is it uncomfortable and tends to weaken your resolve to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it also indicates significant concurrent metabolic slowing (along with other impairments due to chronic low leptin levels – e.g. impaired fertility).
Contact us if you would like to learn more about our meal plans to help your lose those pesky last few kilos.
We design personalised meal plans that contain recipes with food that you tell us you like - you don't have to deny yourself of the tasty food you love (help to reduce your STRESS).
You might also be interested in the following articles:
8 reasons why meal planning will ensure you lose weight and keep it off for good
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how to beat food cravings?
The secret to eating for weight loss
top 5 delicious potato dishes you can enjoy whilst losing weight
A morning pick-me-up that will burn fat
Understanding portion sizes
Reduce your waistline with these low-salt versions of your favourite recipes
The weight loss plateau
Why is it so hard to lose the last 5-7 kg?
Transform your life, health and body today
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