The past few weeks, even those of us already working from home, a lot of us have had pretty major changes in routine.
Whether you’re waking up at a different time, working out at a different time or eating meals at different times — it might be having an effect on your hunger and energy levels! So I’m going to give you a few of my best strategies for making hunger a little more predictable (because hunger is okay and having an appetite is actually a good thing) and avoiding energy slumps throughout the day.
Eat at Regular Times
One of my favorite biological fun facts is that even if you were to not eat for 24 hours, your body would still release hunger/digestive hormones around the times that you normally eat. Our bodies love routine. That being said, our bodies are also highly trainable. For example, if previously you would have breakfast at 7 AM, the first day you start eating breakfast at 9 AM you’re likely going to be hungry before that. So if you’re going to be eating at different times, give you body time to adjust. And then try to keep your meals around that time as much as possible.
Spread Your Protein & Fiber Out Evenly
Protein and fiber (and fat) are very helpful for satiety. If you avoid eating much protein or fiber at breakfast and lunch, you are missing out on two things that will help keep you full. Take a little time to plan ahead so that you don’t end up having just toast with jam or a banana for breakfast — that carb by itself is liking to send you on an energy/glucose roller coaster.
Optimize Your Caffeine Intake
The amount of caffeine that your body is happiest with if different for each of us. I’d personally recommend experimenting to see what works best for you.
According to “science” the best time of day to have coffee might be 9:30-11:30 when your cortisol is at it’s highest, but I know that I’m definitely going to be having coffee before then.
They do also say, “If you’re going to drink more than one cup of coffee, though, a cup or less every hour will also give you the best bang for your caffeinated buck.” So sip slowly after that first cup and try to stop caffeine intake in the early afternoon/ lunchtime to make sure you get good sleep.
This is one that I know we all already know, yet I’m sometimes shocked by how little water my clients are drinking! Veggies and fruit are also a great source of hydration (in addition to the filling fiber I mentioned earlier). A good rule of thumb is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces and try to spread that out over the day so that you don’t have to chug right before bed. And drink a little extra before snacking so that you can better assess if you’re actually hungry.
Pay Attention to Meals That Leave You Hungry
For explanations that are beyond comprehension, sometimes a meal (or snack for that matter) will only make me hungrier. Even a seemingly “healthy” or “balanced” meals. For my clients and myself, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to this. So if you have a meal and notice you are incredibly snacky after — make a note. This way you can at least be aware and ready for the snackiness next time or avoid that meal/tweak it to attempt to make it more satiating.
Get Better Sleep
Sleep is basically the free “magic health pill” that you are looking for. The are so many studies that show how a lack of sleep or poor sleep can severely affect our hunger hormones. So 1) try to get better sleep and 2) be aware after a poor night’s sleep that you may want to track your food because hunger cues could be unreliable.
Be Aware of Stress Hunger
In my experience there tend to be two responses to stress: wanting to eat everything or wanting to eat nothing. You probably know which is more likely for you. Again, being aware of this can help you implement strategies to be on-guard against stress eating. On days when you are particularly stressed, you’ll really want to make sure you don’t skip on the protein, fiber and healthy fats so that have best chance at regulating hunger.
Those are my best 7 tips! If you have any, feel free to share them below 🙂