Have you been struggling to stick with your diet? Has your caloric deficit been harder and harder to maintain? You are not alone. In fact, the human body is incredibly efficient at adapting to everything we throw at it, especially when we want to shed unwanted pounds of fat. Our brains are programmed to seek out as much energy as possible in case there’s a famine around the corner. Fear not, I have a trick up my sleeve that will help you eat less and feel fuller, and hopefully help you stick with your weight loss goals.
Satiation is a huge issue when it comes to dieting. Most people who cut down on calories struggle to feel full or satisfied after a meal, which prompts overeating. Recent studies have shown that leptin, a hormone released by adipose tissue (fat), helps to regulate the feeling of fullness a person feels. When we burn fat, less leptin is produced by our bodies. Thus, less leptin reaches our brains. This creates a difficult feedback scenario wherein the more fat we burn, the hungrier we feel.
Many personal trainers and nutrition experts will simply say that feeling hungry is part of the struggle. Yet for most people, this answer is not satisfactory. So what can a person trying to lose weight do to feel more satiated in a caloric deficit? It turns out that if you turn to the root of the problem—fat—you can actually trick your body into feeling fuller on less food.
Leptin is not just released by stored adipose tissue, or bodyfat. It is also released when dietary fats are digested. This helps to signal to your brain how full you are during a meal. Even small amounts of the right kind of fat can release a tremendous amount of leptin, which tells your brain that you are getting high quality energy. How does this help you to feel fuller on less food? The simple trick is to eat a small amount of healthy fat 10 to 15 minutes before your meal.
Eat Less and Feel Fuller
When you eat a small amount of healthy fat 10 to 15 minutes before a meal, it allows your body time to digest the fat and send leptin to your brain. By the time you start to your meal, your brain will think you are half full already. This will greatly reduce how much you eat during the meal.
Healthy fats include polyunsaturated fats, such as those typically found in plants and fish. Nuts are a phenomenal source of healthy fats, and they are the food I recommend you leverage for this trick. Eat half of one serving of walnuts, pecans, or almonds as your source of healthy fat 10 to 15 minutes before a meal, and you will be far less likely to overeat.
It must be noted that this trick does have the potential to backfire. When you eat more than the recommended half serving of healthy fat prior to a meal, you will only increase the amount calories you are eating between meals without necessarily increasing satiation. Similarly, some people may still overeat despite eating a few walnuts before their meal, which could be indicative that their brains simply do not respond to leptin. There is a small percentage of the general population whose brains do not process leptin normally. This causes persistent feelings hunger. In this case, I am sorry to say, dieting is going to be all about willpower.
Are you struggling with diet, or have unanswered questions about losing weight? Send me your questions below and I’ll be happy to help you out.