So you’ve been cutting back on your calories for a while (you’re doing great, keep it up).
And maybe you’re laying in bed right now with a little rumble in your stomach, and you just googled “How To Keep Yourself Full In A Calorie Deficit.”
Maybe as your laying in bed, you can hear that small carton of ice cream whispering your name from the freezer.
You drift over to the freezer door, letting your feet carry you with your mind completely unaware of what’s happening.
As you open the door, that burst of fog from the freezer caresses your face like an old lover.
Before you know it, you’ve excavated the entire carton with your spoon, and you’re lying on the couch with a chocolate covered face, wondering how you got there.
You’re not alone.
We’ve all been there.
But the good news is, you don’t have to keep have living this way.
In this article, I will teach you some ways to keep yourself feeling full in a calorie deficit, and in turn, help you avoid the ever present midnight call of the freezer.
Tip 1: Eat Lots Of Protein
If you’ve ever heard me speak about dieting before, you probably know that I love protein.
– It tastes good, I mean who doesn’t love a nice juicy steak, or a seasoned chicken breast (sorry vegetarians, I have some info for you too later on in this section).
– It helps your muscles grow so you can get ‘dem sick gainz. Whether you want your biceps to look like tree trunks, or you want your glutes to be big enough that you could plow the roads clean through a snow storm… protein is what’s going to help get you there (along with a good training program).
– It has a higher thermic effect, which means you’re literally going to burn more calories just from eating protein.
– Perhaps most importantly, it helps you feel full. And feeling full while you are eating less calories than your body requires (the only way to lose body fat), is vitally important for your consistency.
One of the most common questions I get as a fitness coach, is what can I do to get in more protein?
The first way, is to just eat more of what you’re already eating. Say you typically eat 4oz of chicken breast at dinner. Let’s double it.
The other way, is to just have a nice variety of high protein options in your house. Below, I’ll get in depth as to some of the great options you can choose from.
Chicken Breast, 4oz ≈ 147 calories, 26g protein
The king of high protein foods. While it can be a “boring” food, it is insanely filling. But the good news is, you don’t have to be boring and eat it plain. You can add some herbs/spices to it. Put it in something exciting, and doctor it up to make it fun.
Ground beef/Ground Turkey, 4oz ≈ 160-200 calories, 21-22g protein
You mean Taco Tuesday can be good for you? Oh yeah, add that ground beef or turkey in your next Taco Tuesday, and this will not only taste great, but get you a shit ton of protein in.
Pork Tenderloin, 4oz ≈ 120 calories, 23g protein
Throw this Bad Larry on the grill with lots of vegetables and a carb on the side, and this is an absolutely ideal fat loss meal. Have this for dinner, and this will keep you full literally the entire night (and keep the ice cream from whispering your name at 10:30).
Tuna, 1 can ≈ 120 calories, 21g protein
I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest tuna fan. It smells weird, and don’t you dare put it in the office microwave. But if you’re one of the people who enjoy it… then this is a great option.
Deli Turkey, 4oz ≈ 120 calories, 20g protein
Let’s make lunch time a good time. Slap some turkey between two slices of toasted bread, with some leafy green vegetables, maybe a tomato, and heavenly pickles, and you’ve got yourself a high protein, highly satiating lunch.
Eggs, 2 ≈ 143 calories, 12g protein
Breakfast done right, and guess what. You can eat the yolk too (it’s the best part). Scrambled, poached, over easy (the best one), in a basket, fry them on your dashboard on a hot summer day, I don’t care. Eat ’em.
Egg whites, 4oz ≈ 64 calories, 13g protein
So naturally if eggs are good, egg whites are even better. One of the best ways to make these is by adding them to regular eggs. If you’re the kind of person that likes the yolk, make an egg or two, and then add some liquid egg whites. You’ll get fluffier eggs, and pure protein baby. Or just eat egg whites if that’s how you like to roll.
Salmon or other fish, 4oz ≈ 180 calories, 23 protein
Again, please please please don’t put this one in the office microwave. But feel free to get creative with your preparation on this. I listed salmon here, but you can also go with haddock, cod, or whatever type of fish they have in your area. Remember, this might stink up your house a little bit so open some windows, or grill it outside. But it is damn good eats.
0% Greek Yogurt, 1 cup ≈ 240 calories, 17g protein
Wow, this is a surprisingly good option and super versatile. Remember that Taco Tuesday? Slap a dollop of Greek Yogurt on your tacos, and I swear to you, you won’t be able to differentiate it from sour cream. Don’t believe me? Try it, and comment below on how it went for you. You can also make this a great dessert by adding peanut butter, fruit, or even protein powder.
Shrimp, 4oz ≈ 80 calories, 15g protein
I like shrimp as an option because you can keep a big frozen bag of it in the freezer, thaw it, and just snack on it for a delicious high protein snack. Only downfall here is it can add up money wise.
Protein Powder, 1 scoop ≈ 150-250 calories, 15-30g protein
There are many different protein powders on the market. And most of them are pretty decent. Some are better than others, and some are absolute crap. I’m a big fan of Legion Athletics for both taste and cost. This can be in the form of whey, casein, or plant based protein. All are great sources of protein. Find which one you like best, and use it. Remember, you don’t have to just make protein shakes. You can add it to oatmeal, coffee, you can make protein pudding, and lots of other things.
Note: I am not affiliated with Legion Athletics, I just think they’re an awesome company, and very transparent with their labels. Also their Cinnamon Cereal protein is the best tasting on the market, bar none.
Tofu, 6oz, ≈ 152 calories, 16g protein
Not going to talk about this one much, because I’ve never ever tasted it. But if you’re plant based, this should be a go to for you. From what I hear, you can make this taste like anything you cook it with.
Cottage Cheese, 1 cup, ≈ 160 calories, 22g protein
I know a lot of people find this stuff gross, (myself included), but for those of you out there who like it, you’ll be set up for wild success, because cottage cheese will make you feel full for a long time because of how high in protein it is.
Tempeh, 4oz ≈ 170 calories, 22g protein
Another one I’ve never had, and can’t speak much on. But this is another high protein food, and if again, if you’re plant based, I want it to be on your radar.
Tip 2: Eat More Vegetables
This one feels obvious. But the truth is, most people are not eating even close to enough vegetables.
And before you start in with saying yOu DoN’T lIkE VeGeTaBlEs… I’m going to give you some tough love right here.
Too freakin’ bad. You’re an adult, and if you have kids, you probably tell them to eat vegetables, so you should practice what you preach.
If you don’t have kids, then you should tell yourself to eat vegetables. Look, no one like coffee or beer the first time they drank it. It’s an acquired taste. If you’re serious about reaching your goals. You will find ways to get vegetables in.
Now, if you absolutely hate brussels sprouts for instance, I’m not telling you to go eat them every single day. Go find some vegetables you can tolerate, and eat them more. Over time, you may even start to like them.
So let’s get into the why of why you should eat vegetables. Because we’ve all heard “vegetables are good for you, you should eat them.” But I’d be willing to bet no one ever told you what makes them “good for you”
From a dieter’s perspective, you can eat a giant assload of vegetables for very few calories. And if you’re in a calorie deficit, it helps to be able to eat a lot of food.
Think about how much lettuce you can physically fit in your stomach. The average human stomach can hold about 1 quart of food. So, you could fill up 2 pint glasses worth of lettuce, and I mean really jam that lettuce in there… eat the whole thing and your stomach would be completely full, for about 20-40 calories.
Now, I’d like you to leave your pint glasses, in the cabinet, because I’m not suggesting you eat that much lettuce every day. But I do suggest taking a page of out Jordan Syatt’s book, and eating one “big ass salad” a day.
Jordan really popularized this idea as a way to just get more vegetables in, and make you nice and full. I’d also suggest adding lots of lean protein to that salad (see above), so you can get more bang for you buck.
Tip 3: Eat More Fruit
First of all, if anyone tells you that fruit makes you fat, I want you to kick them straight in the dick or vagina. I said what I said.
The only thing that causes body fat gain, is eating more calories than your body needs. The extra calories get converted to body fat. It has nothing to do with sUgAr ConTeNt, CaRb CoNtEnT, etc. Calories.
And AIN’T NOBODY eating over their calories by eating too much fruit. Because just like vegetables, fruit is very filling for a low amount of calories. You can eat an ENTIRE FREAKIN’ WATERMELON for about 1,200 calories.
Just take a moment to think about how big a watermelon is, and how much space that takes up. You will feel full.
I’m not suggesting you eat an entire watermelon. It can be done, but you’ll probably get a vicious stomach ache, and you may need to run out and buy more toilet paper.
Even just about a pound of watermelon is about 120 calories, and if you’ve ever eaten a pound of watermelon in a sitting, you know how full you feel. The same applies to things like blueberries, grapes, strawberries, and fruits that contain a lot of water. Now, these all have different caloric content, but overall, if you include more of these foods, they will help you feel full for longer.
Tip 4: Eat More Than 1,200 Calories
This is one I talk about a lot. And every time I say it, people still lose their damn minds.
Listen, if you want to stay full, you have to eat enough. All the vegetables, fruit and protein in the world won’t save you if you are malnourished. And for the vast majority of people (with a few exceptions for those who are very low weight/height), 1,200 calories is not enough.
The reason we so often see 1,200 calories being eating is because the internet often says that 1,200 calories is the minimum amount of food you can eat and survive.
Read that sentence again.
There’s something really, really scary about that sentence.
Why would anyone want to do the minimum amount of anything to survive??
That’s like saying, “oh yeah, I’ll just take the minimum amount of breaths to survive.” It’s nonsense.
This comes from a scarcity mindset of how much you can’t have.
But if you were to switch that mindset to that of abundance… how much you can have. You’ll be set up for success not only physically, but also mentally.
Physically, you’ll be more energetic, won’t feel constantly sluggish, and you’ll be able to give more effort to your workouts too.
Mentally, you won’t feel deprived, you won’t look at food like it’s forbidden, and you’ll have a much easier time just living life to the fullest.
So instead of eating 1,200 calories, eat a number of calories that is sustainable for you long-term. For help in finding out how much that is, download my Free Fat Loss Calorie Calculator, and use the number you find there. You can also take a look at my article on How To Track Calories, if it’s something your new to.
I promise you’ll enjoy it much more, and you’ll also have long-term, sustainable results.
Tip 5: Eat Foods You Actually Enjoy
This is another one people lose their minds over. This one, I can at least understand why.
But let’s talk about it.
Remember when you were a kid, and it was raining out.
And you saw a really big puddle.
And your parents told you “hey, don’t play in that puddle.”
What did you do?
I know what you did… because I did it too. We all did it.
Now, if you tell yourself you can’t have cupcakes, donuts, peanut butter, etc…
What’s the first thing you want?
And let’s say you restrict that food for a while. But then, just like the ice cream that called to you from the freezer at the beginning of the article, the food calls.
And you do not ignore that call.
You go full on raccoon in a dumpster, because you haven’t had the food for so long, and this is “the last time you’ll have it”… so you need to get as much as you possibly can. And you spiral out of control. And then next thing you know you’re in a shame spiral.
Don’t do that.
If you get a craving for something, don’t ignore it.
Eat what you’re craving in moderation.
Fit it into that overall calorie budget and you’ll be just fine.
Do You Feel Like You Can Stay Full In A Calorie Deficit?
I hope this article has given you the tools to make you feel like you can confidently stay full while eating in a calorie deficit.
I always say, being in a calorie deficit is simple, but it’s not easy.
The things I’ve listed about make them just a little more easy.
And it certainly helps to work smarter, not harder here.
If you have any questions, you can leave a comment below, or e-mail me at [email protected]
If you’re looking for further guidance, you can always fill out my Coaching Application Form and we can see if we’d be a good fit, and get started working together towards your goals.
Either way, I’m here to help you in any capacity I can.