I hear it time and time again with new clients, they've started eating paleo but they're always hungry! I get it! Getting your nutrition on track, cutting out junk foods, and replacing them with whole foods can be a tough transition for most people. It's even worse when you're hungry all the time. After all, those chips, cookies, and pizza look a lot more appetizing then they ever have before when you're starving on your new diet. How the hell are you going to follow a paleo diet if you're miserable and craving foods like no tomorrow?
Fear not! It's not that they're anything wrong with you, or that the diet isn't working. You just need to make a few simple changes that will nip that hunger in the butt! These 3 tips are based on really common mistakes I see time and time again with my personal clients. I'm sure they can help you too!
These 3 simple tips will help stop your hunger when transitioning to eating paleo!
1. Eat more food:
I know what you're thinking, "How the heck am I going to lose weight if I'm eating more food?". Well funny enough, under eating can actually cause you to hold onto body fat and lot of people under eat when they start eating paleo. Under eating can put your body in a state where it believes it's starving, this leads to it slowing down your metabolism and holding onto body fat. It doesn't want to let go of that reserve body fat because it needs it to keep you alive during what it perceives as a time where food is scarce.
Eating too little will also produce a little side effect called ... you guessed it, hunger! Not only does eating too little trick your body into holding onto stored body fat, it also leaves you hungry. Do your self a favour, eat as much paleo friendly veggies, fruits, meat, fats, and nut/seeds as needed to satisfy your hunger and stop before you're stuffed. This is the same basic advice I give to all new clients who are just starting out on the paleo diet. Snacks also tend to be a problem, most people stick to just fruit and veggies. Try adding nuts in to your snacks to help beef them up and make them more satisfying.
If you're thinking that you need to eat 1200 calories a day to lose weight, you're just doing yourself more harm than good. If you're only eating one egg and some fruit at breakfast, boost that up 2 eggs, bacon, and fruit. If you're eating 1/2 a chicken breast and a light salad for dinner, eat the whole breast and add avocado to your salad. Eat more!
2. Eat more fat:
This is a big one! Many people drastically reduce their fat intake (knowingly or unknowingly) when they begin eating paleo. Why? Because they don't want to get fat! Well guess what, fats don't make you fat. They're not the bad guy and you need them.
When people cut out fat they end up eating a lot of low calorie veggies/fruit and a decent amount of protein. This leaves them hungry and grumpy ... and no one wants to be around someone who's hungry and grumpy! Further more, a lack of fats in your diet can lead to a lack of energy and reduced mental clarity. Your body needs fats, your brain is primarily made up of fat! You body enjoys using fat as a source of energy, it will switch to running on fat as it's main fuel when you reduce your carb content greatly.
Increased fat intake will also help you feel more satisfied after a meal and keep you satisfied much longer between meals. This means no spike and crash after meals and you'll be able to last for hours between meals. Fat's also yield a lot of calories per gram, meaning they'll help you bump those calories up and not under eat! How do you do this? Simple! Olive oil on salad, butter in coffee, coconut milk on fruit are just a few ideas. What fat's should you be adding into your diet? Here's a few!
- Butter (real butter, not margarine)
- Coconut Oil (virgin)
- Palm Oil
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Milk (full fat, duh!)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews etc.)
3. Eat more protein:
I don't know why, but some people forget the part of the paleo diet that suggest healthy portions of meat. Fresh cuts of red meat, chicken, fish, sea food, pork, and eggs deliver a large amount of protein. Protein (as I'm sure you know) is a building block for lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have the more energy is needed to maintain that muscle and the more body fat you can burn. Protein, much like fat, also helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals. It also helps keep you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time between meals.
Meat is also loaded with various essential nutrients. For example, red meat is rich in iron and B12, fish is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, and all fresh cuts of meat also come with a healthy dose of fats making it a "two for one" deal! Meat, being high in protein and fat, is also very calorie dense. This means it will up your over all calorie content for the day, leading you to not be under fed. Each one of your meals should contain a protein source, preferably from some kind of meat.
I know that some people have a hard time eating more animal products, or they don't enjoy certain kinds of meat. That's ok, we're all different and you can still get quality added protein into your diet with a little added supplementation. A quality whey protein powder (nothing fancy) from a clean/reputable source would go a long way towards adding extra protein into your diet. If you're the kind of person that enjoys a morning smoothie for breakfast, try adding a scoop of protein to round it out as a meal and increase calorie content. While protein powder does come in handy, it's no replacement for actual meat! I would suggest the protein powder as an additive to shakes/smoothies, but the majority of your protein should come from actual cuts of meat.