One of the most difficult things to overcome in achieving a change of diet and lifestyle is: The food craving. When deficit dieting the food craving is going to come. Do not be surprised. This is normal, and its one you have no choice but to deal with.
In order to control or attempt to eliminate your cravings, you need to understand why you have them and get-over-it through proactive self-participation.
Knowledge is power. Consistant application of this power, will give one a lethal dose to food cravings and provide strength and dexterity to one's goal path.
Why one can have cravings when deficit dieting:
1. The body is deficient in energy (calories) and has to look to itself for a source of energy (be it muscle and/or fat source). The body is literally feeding on itself to provide vitality in response to a energy shortage and is trying to meet the outside/inside demands placed upon it.
2. Sometimes unstable blood sugar levels can cause intense hunger cravings. The more stable the human blood sugar the more "stable" your hunger cravings will be. Sharp increases and declines in blood sugar levels can give one intense hunger pains that can be difficult to overcome.
The way you can combat this problem, is through understanding various food items and the big three macronutrients: Carbs, Protein, and Fats, and how they "can effect" one's blood sugar levels. And, knowing WHEN its appropriate to have an increase in blood sugar levels and when its not.
Post workout nutrition. One just got done with a rather demanding fitness workout, and placed alot of demand on the body and its muscles. The muscles are depleted and broken down. There is a need of replacement nutrition, and it should be given rather quickly. It is a good time to consume fruits (simple carbs [sugars]), and protein, at this time. The "correct fruit" will elevate blood sugar rather quickly and since the body is in "present need" will shuttle the appropriate carbs where needed, and this isnt detrimmental nor will add to one's hunger complications.
If anything, IMO, I believe it would "assist" against hunger cravings (later) because you are giving the body what it needs at the appropriate time and will not yell at you later or be an "assistor in lowering your energy levels" by continuing to be broken down through inadequate and timely nutrition.
Eating frequent meals with adequate and selective food items will be a major piece in your hunger puzzle. You determine your Maintenance Line of Calories, and divide the number of meals with your Maintenance Line of Calories to determine the approximate number of calories per meal.
Eating frequent meals is great in an ideal and perfect world. However, we all know we live in an imperfect world that can disrupt what we do, and eating frequently as planned is one of them. This can cause one to "improvise" and "adjust" on-the-fly, and "should be" expected and not lead one to surprise.
While eating frequent meals is recommended, if this cant happen or is disrupted in some way, and you had to adjust, this ISNT going to make you hit the curb on your fat loss quest. The most important factor when the dust settles, is whether one IS or IS NOT in an energy deficit at the end of the day. In some cases, having eating patterns irregular can assist one in fat loss dependent on dieting logistics. Just try to eat as often as your lifestyle allows adjust your meals when you have to--with applying knowledge learned.
3. Lets add 1 and 2 together. If the body is deficient in energy levels and being forced to locate fuel from itself (deficit in calories)--and--the blood sugar levels are sharply increasing and declining (at times), "this is a most deadly combination to cause intense hunger cravings".
4. Even if you level blood sugar (through what you eat within your diet and calorie manipulations), one will still be left with the body being deficient in energy, and will be calling on you to eat; however, its the lessor of the two, IMO, and is the place one wants to be at most of the time when deficite dieting to lose fat tissue, as it is truely easier to deal with.
On-going and continued education in:
1. Information on various techniques to combat cravings.
Read, read, and read some more. Absorb it and apply it. When you read an article on certain techniques to handle food cravings, and it appears it may not fit within your life style, is their a way you can:
A. Modify, change, or manipulate the idea or concept in some fashion to work with your personality and within your current lifestyle?
KEEP YOUR PERCEPTION UNTAINTED.
B. Manipulate lite fitness training to your goal advantage?
Sometimes just keeping the mind occupied on something else for a small duration of time can be enough to combat the current food craving and reduce it to toleratable levels; however, this can require a certain amount of self discipline (along with manipulating your foods to your advantage) in order to be successful.
You could jump on a bike for very lite cardio session (a few minutes), and consume a no-calorie or very low calorie beverage to fill the stomach and get the blood pumped. Take a walk. Play a video game you like, and on and on with the potential possibilities.
Look within your environment and see things others cant see--that will assist you toward your goal path.
Develop clear stategies to deal with weaknesses. Allow your strengths to improve your weaknesses. And, you can use FOOD to assist your weakness by using your strength of being proactive.
Some proactive anti-food craving tactics:
When you view these brief guidelines, I would like you to keep an open mind and think about ways you can manipulate these guidelines to fit within the circumference of your personal life style. In other words, you can take some or all of the guidelines and modify/change them to a degree that is more applicable or suitable to your individual environment.
A. Change your frame of mind when going to the grocery store:
--->1. Hunger Defense Perception One:
Look for food items that are bulky (that will fill a large portion of the stomach capacity) and carry the nutritional quality that fits within the macronutrient value you seek (all macronutrients), that fit within your life style for:
Educate yourself on various types of foods that take long periods (or a longer period, if you will) to digest than others. that fits in the health and nutrition scope you personally seek. Investigate the "reasons" why this is case, though investigating the nutrients in these types of food. For example, "fiber rich" foods can take longer to digest and give a sense of being full.
(If you want I can provide a list of suggestions)
--->2. Hunger Defense Perception Two:
Specific shelf and refrigerator items specifically purchased to assist one's self during the times when food cravings are a problem. These are bulking items that are low in calorie content BUT carry a nutritional punch in accordance to its caloric value.
1. When hunger is a problem its important to know where you are at in your diet in the calorie equation, in order to "effectively" use one of your proactive and goal-keeping food purchases for:
(If you want I can provide a list of suggestions)
The mind game is critical to ones success:
The best doctors in the world are "Personal Doctors": (written by Chillen)
Doctor Diet: The quite-riot to the diet;
Doctor Trainer: The no-brainer and the painter of the muscle-gainer;
Doctor Fat: Goes at-bat to combat fat to make the stomach flat;
Doctor Calorie: The internal art-gallery to attend the external shooting-gallery;
Doctor Inspiration: Sets the foundation sensation to end frustration;
Doctor Motivation: Creation plantation to end temptation and bring mental vibration;
Doctor Mind: Designed and combined not to be confined to get behind and maligned to the self-kind.
Doctor Willpower: Devour the control-tower and empower the super-power.
"What you do with diet and exercise is up to you, in the context you give to time,--as time will pay you no mind. But, given time with your context in mind, your mind will give time to your mind."
I wrote this rather quickly, and its not exhaustive. Maybe I will write a more detailed post on how to fight hunger cravings in the COL if I am asked.
If you have questions, please feel to ask them. I will answer them.
Best wishes to you, my friend.
From my heart to yours.