It’s early in the year, not long after those New Year’s resolutions were made. Many of us pledge to lose weight in our list of resolutions, so this time of year is peak dieting season.
While reducing calories taken in is a good idea for a lot of us, it can come with some nasty side-effects. One of these is feeling ‘hangry.’ That’s a mixture of constant hunger and the anger that seems to accompany it.
You’re not imaging it
If you’re feeling hangry, you’re not just grumpy. Chemicals cause your hangry feeling. Early research into the subject suggests that the same hormones responsible for making you feel hungry when you cut down on your calorie intake are also the ones that can make you more irritable and impulsive.
The good news is that you don’t have to live with that hangry feeling. There are a few things you can do to manage it. Read on …
If you’re not getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, your dieting efforts might be for nothing. Research shows that not getting enough sleep can cause a decrease in leptin, a hormone associated with fat loss.
It can also cause an increase in ghrelin, also known as the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food consumption, and encourages fat storage.
Never eat in front of your computer
In fact, before eating, switch off or put down all your devices and concentrate on the process of eating. Without all the other distractions, your brain is more likely to register the calories you are consuming. After a couple of hours, you should start to feel less hangry.
Eat a protein-rich breakfast
Protein is the hanger-buster. It makes you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer. Start the day off with a protein-rich breakfast to prevent hunger and the associated heightened emotions.
Make sure you get at least 30 grams of proteins at breakfast but get it from whole foods rather than shakes, which don’t do much for those hunger pangs.
One easy way to add protein to your breakfast is to add a cup of Greek yogurt, which will deliver more than 20 grams of protein. One egg contains 6 grams of protein, so including a couple of eggs as well will ensure you get enough protein at the start of the day. Another good source of protein, as well as healthy fats, is nuts such as pistachios.
Don’t forget the snacks
Snacking in between meals is right for you, provided the snacks are health-promoting. A mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack of carrot and celery sticks with a little hummus gives you a dose of protein and fiber to keep you full. Nuts can also do the trick.
Make it fiber-filled for lunch
Make sure that your lunch is rich in fiber to keep you fuller for longer, and stave off the hunger pangs. Add ½ cup of beans to vegetable soup for better blood sugar control.