When it comes to serious dieting, you either manage your appetite or you stay fat. Period. You can have the best intentions in the world, but if you constantly feel like gnawing off your hand, you're not going to get far.
Let's take a look at the most effective ways to help you deal with hunger so you can focus on more important things (like training and chicks).
The first and foremost way to modulate your appetite is with proper diet setup. But I'm not just talking about calories here.
Obviously, to lose fat you're going to have to spend some time in a hypocaloric state. That's a no-brainer. What I'm referring to here though is the macronutrient breakdown of your diet: the protein, carbs, and fat.
Depending on how you manipulate these, you can have a diet that keeps you full and satiated, or a diet that has you constantly watching the clock to see when your next meal is.
Friend and foe. Carbs are both anabolic and anti-catabolic, but also secrete insulin which interferes with lipolysis (fat burning). There are lots of ways to manipulate carbohydrate levels in a diet. Your options range from carb cycling to zero carb; you've even got keto approaches with periodic carb-ups or re-feeds.
They all work. The key lies in managing the carbs properly. Constantly fluctuating insulin levels will cause blood sugar fluctuations. This can result in massive hunger, so keeping carbohydrate levels relatively low most of the time makes the most sense from an appetite suppression standpoint.
Focusing on carbohydrates with a high fiber content (apples, raspberries, brown rice, sprouted grain bread, beans, broccoli, etc.) will help slow the digestion of carbohydrate and keep you full for longer.
Of course you need to keep protein high if muscle and strength are your goals (not too high though – calories are still important), but protein also helps modulate hunger by keeping you satiated for longer. And it's actually the most filling of the macronutrients, more so than either fat or carbohydrate.
Protein also requires more energy to digest as compared to fat and carbs, so it packs a one-two punch for fat loss. Protein should make up at least 40% of your total daily calories.
Ah, wretched fat. For years, fat was a vilified substance that was kept to a bare minimum in the diet of the physique competitor looking to get lean. Today, dietary fat (at least certain types) is glorified for its health benefits and ability to help us lose body fat, not gain it.
In regards to appetite suppression, dietary fat does an excellent job of slowing digestion and keeping you full. One of the reasons a ketogenic diet works is because it's so easy to follow since hunger is kept to a minimum. Without carbs trickling in, you don't have the blood sugar fluctuations that send your appetite into a rabid frenzy.
Any type of fat will help suppress appetite, but from a health standpoint it would be wisest to focus on monounsaturates like olive and macadamia nut oil, omega-3s, and GLA/lauric acid/oleic acid (think Flameout™). Saturated fat from sources like grass-fed beef and whole eggs are also good choices.
Don't go nuts with fat though. It contains 9 calories per gram (more than twice that of carbohydrate and protein) and calories still make a difference. Getting 30% of your daily calories from fat is a good starting point.
Bonus: Fats also help give your muscles a full look when carbs are low.
Summary: Focus on protein and fat first in your diet to keep appetite at bay. Protein should constitute at least 40% of your daily calories, and fat at least 30%. Carbohydrates should be used more judiciously as they can spark hunger and interfere with fat burning.
Craving Killer Supplements
Now that we've got the diet squared away, let's discuss some supplements that can give you an extra edge when battling hunger.
Imagine the health benefits of chocolate, without the sugar, extra calories, or dairy.
I discovered Chocamine eight years ago and have been using it pretty much daily ever since. Chocamine is the "feel good" component of chocolate, but without all the calories. It's more or less a highly processed cocoa extract, but it's different from the type of cocoa extract you'd get at a typical grocery store.
Chocamine contains numerous chemical constituents that aid in fat burning, appetite suppression, increased alertness, and reduced fatigue. In my experience, Chocamine provides a smooth, long-lasting buzz, similar to an amphetamine but without any harsh side effects.
I like mixing it in with my coffee to make what I call Power Mocha:
1 cup coffee
One-fourth to one-half teaspoon Chocamine
1 packet Splenda
Pinch of salt
Dash of cinnamon
Green Tea Extract
Aside from its antioxidant and anti-carcinogen benefits, green tea has a host of diet-friendly effects: fat-burning (via beta oxidation), increased metabolism, improved insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance.
Green tea is also in a class of natural substances known as adaptogens, which are known for their ability to help the body combat stress and fatigue, as well as maintain
homeostasis and well-being. Having a cup of hot green tea is a great way to suppress appetite and lift mood in between meals.
A no-brainer for a fat-loss diet. It's a great lipolytic and stimulant that burns fat, increases energy and focus, and keeps hunger at bay.
Other Appetite Suppressors
Calorie-Free and Carbonated Beverages
Drinks like diet soda, diet teas, coffee without creamer or sugar, and sparkling flavored waters are all a godsend on a calorie-restricted diet. Not only do they satisfy your sweet tooth, the carbonation helps fill your stomach, which sends "full" signals to your brain.
If you're wary of aspartame, look for diet sodas sweetened with sucralose. Those containing caffeine have the added bonus of being thermogenic i.e. they raise your metabolism and allow for more calories to be burned.
Sugar-free chewing gum also helps satisfy a sweet tooth. Don't go crazy though; the sugar alcohols can mess you up. Limit it to no more than a few pieces per day.
This one is for the hardcore only! Smoking is a great appetite suppressant but carries a lot of negative side effects along with it. Cancer anyone? Yellow teeth? Brown fingers? Awful breath?
A relatively "safe" alternative is nicotine gum or even patches.
Nicotine not only has lipolytic or fat-burning properties, it's an awesome appetite suppressant and mood lifter. Limit yourself to 2-3 pieces of nicotine gum per day to avoid addiction. I've personally never had any issues, but some might.
Also, stick with the lowest dose (1 mg) available. Remember to chew it slowly and don't swallow the gum.
Start some sort of project like building a deck on your house, writing a book, or organizing your naughty movie collection. Keeping your mind occupied on a project will keep your mind off of food.
Put several of these tactics to work at once and you're sure to stay on the wagon and see single-digit body fat this summer.