It’s goal-setting time, and if you’re like a lot of people around the time the New Year’s ball drops, then you’re hoping to shed some pounds over the next few months. But if you’ve ever dieted before, you know that one of the biggest challenges is always feeling hungry!
Want some advice? Stop dieting. If you’re like most people who try crash diets, you’ll only bounce back to your former eating habits after you’ve had a short period of success. According to "Hungry Girl" foodologist Lisa Lillian, hunger and cravings are not your enemy—you just need to plan ahead and set yourself up for success when they strike. Here are several of Hungry Girl's rules, along with our own expert tips, to help you curb your cravings, feel satisfied with your meals, and stick to your weight-loss goals for 2017.
- Be Diligent About Daily Waist Training
While wearing a waist trainer should not be the only strategy you use, firm compression around your midsection can be extremely helpful aiding your portion control. Your stomach won’t be able to expand as much as it normally would, so you will feel full after consuming a smaller meal. Waist training works well with a lifestyle that includes five to six small meals a day, instead of three large ones.
For the best results, wear your waist trainer for eight to twelve hours a day. You might want to take note of the times of day you’re most likely to succumb to unhealthy cravings, like the mid-afternoon slump. Be sure you’re wearing your waist trainer when cravings strike, as well as when you consume your meals to prevent overeating.
- Boost Your Metabolism with Strength Training
You don’t have to feel guilty about eating when those calories go towards building muscle! Strength training is a surefire way to boost your metabolism because even when you’re resting and recovering, your body is hard at work rebuilding muscle tissue. Add strength training to your fitness routine about three days a week and you’ll be amazed at the results, especially if you’re not already doing it (don’t forget your workout band!). While a great exercise program isn’t a blank check to eat whatever you want, it is a vital part of a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
- Eat More “Pasta” with Less Guilt
Pasta is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to delicious but high-calorie food that doesn’t make you feel great. Eat a bunch of it and you’ll feel full and heavy after lunch, only to crash a couple of hours later. But it’s difficult to consider giving it up altogether! Here’s the trick: expand it with veggies. Spiralizers are easy to find. The next time you’re craving pasta, use one with whole grains and then make your plate bigger with spiralized veggies like zucchini, or skip the spiralizer altogether and use spaghetti squash. You may find that you want to leave the wheat pasta out altogether once you discover how satisfying and delicious the veggie alternatives are.
- Get to Know Your Cauliflower
Have you discovered this magical vegetable yet? It works in many dishes as a creamy yet guilt-free substitute. Try swapping out some of your mashed potatoes for steamed and mashed cauliflower and see if you notice a difference. You’ll have fewer calories and much better nutrition without sacrificing taste. You can also use cauliflower in creamy dishes like baked macaroni and cheese. No prep for this: simply add some frozen cauliflower to your favorite dish.
- Speaking of Frozen Vegetables…
You should always have these on hand! Even when you’re strapped for time and have to grab a convenient frozen meal, you can double the size of your meal by adding the veggies. Many are simple to prepare and can be steamed right in the bag. These should make a hefty side dish at any meal.
- Get Smart about Your Sweets
One of the most difficult things to give up when you’re trying to lose weight is dessert. But you don’t have to feel bad about indulging every now and then if you don’t go overboard. Here are a couple of satisfying desserts that won’t wreck your calorie intake:
- Apple pie in a mug: cut up an apple and place it in a coffee mug. Put a handful of Red Hot candies on top and microwave for 2 minutes. Add a little cinnamon and crushed graham crackers on top for a gooey (but not too indulgent) gooey treat.
- No-guilt chocolate cake: take any brand of chocolate cake mix, but instead of adding fats, pour a can a club soda into the mix and bake as directed. The result is a moist and delicious cake with a fraction of the calories.
- When You Can’t Avoid Packaged Food
Everyone knows that home-cooked meals, cooked from whole, unprocessed ingredients, are the best options, but in real life you are always on the go. While it’s still best to prep your snacks and meals ahead of time so you’re not in a nutritional bind, from time to time you might have to spring for some prepared food. When you do, pick brands that are limited on empty calories and weird ingredients. Here are some suggestions for various times of day:
- VitaMuffins Vitatops: each snack pack is only 100 calories and is packed with whole grains as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Grab these to power through your morning.
- Evol Mini Burritos: This all-natural, organic product delivers a tasty meal for under 200 calories with several varieties.
- LesserEvil’s Baked Veggie Krinkle Sticks: Instead of reaching for the chips for an afternoon snack, get a satisfying crunch for few calories, plus the added nutrients of whole grains and veggies.
- Amy’s Toaster Pops Pizza: for those evenings you only have time for a quick bite, grab one or two of these at only 200 calories a pop (plus you can satisfy your pizza craving!).
Losing weight takes work, but it’s not as hard as you think. Don’t go hungry—make these smart lifestyle choices and get the long-lasting results you really want.