Friday, May 22, 2009

Eating Strategies to Reduce or Control Hunger

When CRON started to be a bigger part of my daily life I was drawn quite quickly to certain foods and strategies that significantly reduced my hunger while allowing me to reach my goals. Yet I often read elsewhere that hunger is a real issue for many people beginning CRON or already on a CRON diet.

So here is a list of my eating strategies for reducing and controlling hunger:
  1. Eat vegetables as they are high fibre, high nutrient, and calorically sparse. Some of my favourites are cucumbers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, various lettuce blends, and radishes. You will quickly notice that a CRON diet favours vegetables so find ones you like but limit consumption of high calorie vegetables like corn and carrots.
  2. Eat fruit as they are also high in fibre and nutrients, yet calorically sparse. My favourites are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, okay almost every berry, and apples. These are now my "sweets" of choice.
  3. Trade processed grains for natural grains. Processed grains often have little nutritional value and tend to have a higher calorie content. Natural grains are low calorie, have nutrients and more fibre. This means they are much more filling for the same amount of calories. Most pastas, breads, and white rice are replaced very quickly with beans, barley, and the like. Do your homework and be honest with yourself.
  4. Reduce foods with sugar. Fructose, glucose, sucrose, corn syrup, cane sugar, lactose, and the like all have sugar in them. Sugar is high calorie and has no nutrients and is therefore completely incompatible with the goals of a CRON diet. Not only that, but sugar is very quickly absorbed by the body which keeps you hungry. If you want something sweet try fruit as it will keep you full longer.
  5. Reduce consumption of fats. A tablespoon of oil is about 120 calories. That is among the most calorically dense food items we can consume. So fats and oils need to be reduced if we are going to reach our caloric goals without feeling hunger. Our bodies need fat and there are good fats and bad fats. The fats from meat are generally worse for us than the fats from vegetable sources. For this reason my consumption of meat has become more infrequent and has changed to favouring leaner meats like fish and poultry.
  6. Choose lower Glycemic Index (GI) foods. The Glycemic Index is a rating of the effect a food has on the level of sugars in the blood. Lower GI foods do not spike your blood sugar nearly as much. They also tend to keep you full longer. Become familiar with the GI of the food you are eating and aim for the lower GI foods.
  7. Only eat when you are hungry. How many times have you felt obligated to eat because everyone else was or out of habit (ie. lunch break)?
  8. Eat slowly and purposefully. Do not eat on the run and don't eat because of boredom or stress. And see #7 - eat because you are hungry.
  9. Use smaller dishes to serve your meals. Perception is everything. If you use smaller utensils and plates the food really does seem to be much more abundant as it seems to take up more real estate.
  10. Don't overeat. Stop eating just before you are full and it will change your perception of how much you need to eat to be full.
  11. Have a plan. Without a plan to have CRON food items around it is pretty easy to eat non-compliant food or resort to dining out. Make a plan and stick to it.
  12. Have fun. CRON isn't about restriction specifically. It is about Optimum Nutrition. If CRON gets hard or you are hungry, eat and have fun. Don't get stressed out or suffer. It simply isn't worth it. So have that extra serving or that slice of pie and then return to CRON right after. CRON is not an all or nothing thing. By having fun you will make CRON a lifelong habit or lifestyle instead of a short term tool for weight loss and nutrition.

1 comment:

  1. This post was a good reminder for me to eat more vegetables.