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Sticking to a diet is hard if you're always fighting hunger.
So is there a way to stop feeling so hungry all the time?
By now, I'm sure you've heard all the usual advice:
Eat enough protein. It's no surprise that hunger can lead to overeating. But studies show that if you eat high-protein foods, you'll feel more full and eat less. (1)
Eat your veggies. Most veggies are high in volume and low in calories, which means they'll help you lose weight. So to feel full, try eating a salad before your meals. (2)
Get enough sleep. If you don't get enough sleep, then you're likely to eat a lot more. According to studies, not getting enough sleep can increase your urge to eat by about 25%. (3)
Drink plenty of water. The next time you're about to eat, try drinking two glasses of water first. Why? Because studies show that those who did ate 22% less than those who didn't. (4)
Did you read anything you didn't already know?
You've heard all the advice (like a billion times), and you already know what to do. So what gives? If you're always hungry, why isn't your plate filled with chicken and broccoli? And why aren't you getting to bed sooner and drinking more water?
Well, we can sum it up in one sentence: the changes you're being asked to make aren't ones you're willing to make.
So it doesn't matter how many times you're told to eat "more fruit, more vegetables, more protein," it doesn't change the fact that you don't want to do any of those things. So is it any surprise when you don't do them?
Now, don't get me wrong. You're not the problem. The problem is in the approach you're taking.
So if you've been trying to change what you eat but haven't been able to make it work, I'm going to show you a new approach. One we use in our 1:1 coaching program that you can start using to make things seem, well, effortless.
Consider someone who's had a glass of Coca-Cola with every meal for the last three decades. Do you think it's a good idea for them to give up soda cold turkey?
"Just drink water," people say.
Pfft! Do you think that's the first time they've ever heard that?
If that person hasn't switched yet, then soda is almost certainly one of their non-negotiables, and they'll have better success changing something they're actually ready and willing to change.
Or what about the person who can't remember a day when they didn't settle down at night with a bowl of ice cream? Do you think skipping something they can't bear the thought of doing without is the best plan?
As someone who has been coaching for over a decade, I can assure you that's not a winning strategy. Sure, anyone can give up a snack for a week or two, but what happens after that?
You'll know you're taking the restriction approach when you catch yourself saying, "This isn't going to work" and "There's no way I'll be able to do it."
Well, no kidding! It's not just you that it won't work for. It won't work for anyone.
If you've ever known someone who's tried to quit smoking, you know that the hardest cigarettes to give up are the ones they have first thing in the morning and the ones after a meal. So if you're helping them quit, are those the ones you'd tell them to cut first? No. That's a lot of difficult change all at once. It's like telling someone who has never run before to start with a 3-mile sprint. It's just not a good plan.
It's better to start with what they're ready and willing to change. And after they've built enough confidence, move on to the more difficult areas.
And the same can be said for virtually any part of your life that you want to change. Start where you're most likely to make a change and work your way up.
And the unfortunate truth is so many people make losing weight harder than it needs to be. They try to force themselves into eating healthy when what they need to be doing instead is negotiating.
If there's one thing you can do that will fundamentally change the way you see eating healthy, it's this: stop bullying and start negotiating.
Let me give you an example.
Let's assume you're convinced that you'll never be able to stop late-night snacking. You've done everything you can think of, and you've tried holding off for as long as you can, but it's not working.
Start by asking:
Am I willing to negotiate on which snack I have? Does it have to be ice cream, or would a bowl of strawberries be just fine? Or how about a cup of yogurt?
Or if you're not ready to make any of those changes, are you willing to dial back on how much ice cream you have? The point is you don't have to force yourself into changes you're not ready for. You have options -- a lot of them.
You tried to use willpower, but it didn't work. That's okay. We've all been there before. What's not okay is going back to willpower and hoping for a different result. It's like adding 2 + 2 over and over, and hoping that this time it will equal 5.
It's time to give up on willpower, and it's time to find what change you're willing to make, the one you can actually do, and do it. This is how we make progress!
If you don't believe me, just consider the alternative...
Do you believe you'd be better off going two weeks without eating and hating life the whole time, just to give up when you can't stand it any longer?
Or would it be better to negotiate the change you want to make, make it, and build from there?
Someone will tell themselves that they're going for a run after work, but then they spend the rest of the evening avoiding it. It's incredible how many chores we come up with to keep ourselves from doing something we don't want to do. We'll mow the grass, fold laundry, or even start scrubbing the bathroom walls!
So, if you'd rather start painting the walls than go for a run, it makes sense to plan something you want to do, like take a walk, and actually do it.
There's a quote from Eva Burrows that goes like this:
"People want progress, but they don't want change."
Sorry, Eva, but I disagree.
I've never worked with anyone that didn't want to change. Everyone wants to change. That has *never* been the problem.
A far better quote would be:
"People will change when they get clear on what they're willing to change."
So why does your diet feel so hard? It could be that you're forcing yourself to make changes you don't want to make.
You don't have to go through the day starving, and you can stop feeling hungry all the time...
...the trick is finding a change you're comfortable with, doing it, and building from there.
If you enjoyed these tips, be sure to join our free weight loss mini-course, where I’ll show you why diets fail and how to change your relationship with food, and you’ll discover what every diet you tried before was missing.
As a bonus for signing up, you’ll also get my “10 Best Weight Loss Tips” eBook. I’ve been a weight loss and accountability coach for over a decade, and the tips I share are what actually works.
If you know *what* to do but just can’t make yourself do it…
If it feels like you’ve tried “everything under the sun.”…
If you’re tired of making and breaking promises to yourself…
MyBodyTutor solves the biggest problem in health and fitness — the lack of consistency. And we do that by simplifying the process of getting fit into practical, sustainable behaviors and giving you the daily accountability and support it takes to stick to your plan.
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