Your trainer, fitness freaks friends or even the umpteen fitness blogs maintain that getting in the best shape of your life is all about being in a calorie deficit. However, that is easier said than done.
Over snacking on healthy food and binge-eating on your cheat days can often ruin your fitness journey. Dr Rohini Patil, MBBS, nutritionist and founder of Nutracy Lifestyle shares simple hacks to not confuse your cravings with hunger and stick to your meal plans:
Do brief but intense workouts- Exercises such as cycling, running, and swimming actually reduces appetite by changing the levels of hormones that drive our state of hunger. It reduces activation of the brain region which lowers the desire to eat.
Have regular protein- Adding protein to your diet takes a long time to digest carbs. Protein greatly reduces cravings and naturally reduces calories. It makes you feel full, eat less and also helps to lose fat. Foods like eggs, chicken, nuts etc are a rich source of protein. Protein also prevents muscle loss.
Coffee- Coffee helps to break down calories and burn fats. Not only does it have antioxidants and nutrients, but it is also a strong appetite suppressant. If you drink a cup of naturally brewed coffee 30 minutes to four hours before a meal, it helps to keep hunger at bay. Do Not add cream, sugar or syrups as they contain a lot of calories.
Eat fruits and veggies- Fruits and veggies are rich in fibre that promotes a feeling of fullness. Ít reduces appetite. You can eat in form of salads, soups etc. adding leafy veggies like spinach are beneficial. Spinach increases the level of leptin. Leptin controls the sense of hunger by telling you, you are full. If hunger and cravings keep haunting you, don't forget to eat these leafy greens. Your body will not only get beneficial nutrients but also helpful for weight loss.
Water- Drinking water before a meal makes you full with eating less and reduce calorie intake. It keeps you hydrated. We can fulfil small hunger by intake of water. Thirst and hunger cravings are often confused. This is because of a sedentary lifestyle. To conquer this, drink a large glass of water and then wait a few minutes. You will often find the cravings go away. This way we will not consume extra calories on munching.
Sleep- Make sure to get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep at night. It prevents weight gain as it helps to reduce hunger. Little sleep increases hunger and decreases the level of leptin, fullness hormone. Improper sleep increases the risk of obesity.
Dark Chocolate- Dark Chocolate is bitter in nature which reduces cravings for sweets and helps to reduce hunger. It increases the feeling of fullness and helps to reduce the process of digestion.