I received an incredible question yesterday from a reader that I thought I would answer as a full out blog posting.
I am really impressed by your daily blogging dedication and willingness to try and figure out a nutritious and sustainable way of eating. I feel like I'm in a similar boat- no longer using weight watchers but trying to figure out and make nutrient dense eating sustainable. I've got to say that your Day 1 and 2 meals would have left me mighty hungry. Vegan and low fat have been a challenging combo for me. A smoothie in the AM followed by soup and salad at lunch tend to leave me pretty darn hungry by mid afternoon. Lately I've been sticking to oatmeal with 1 tbsp. of cashew butter in the AM and reversing dinner and lunch in hopes to avoid afternoon hunger. How hungry between meals have you been on this diet? Thanks for all the inspiration!"
First, I want to say that I am hungry every single day, lots of times during the day. That is a great sign that you are not overeating. Embrace it! Go to bed a little hungry. I promise you will lose weight if that is what you need to do.
Secondly, "Did you see the size of my morning smoothie?" It's pictured below. It's HUGE! I suggest really studying the idea of Volumetrics, that is, filling yourself up on low calorie, high nutrient foods. If you are hungry within 2 hours of your last meal, than it might be a sign that you are not eating enough vegetables, fruits, beans and possibly whole grains at your meals. If you are hungry within one hour of your next meal, good for you! That's a good sign.
No one should be hungry shortly after eating. Loads of the recipes here on Hungry Girl's Kitchen will fill you up and fill you up good if you eat enough. Is it possible that you are trying to control/limit your portions of these healthy foods thinking that you cannot possibly eat that much and be healthy? We need to lose that mindset altogether. Moderation shmoderation. Eat a lot, just make your food HIGH in nutrients and LOW in calories. If you do that, I promise, you will not be unnecessarily hungry.
On another note, Jodi, my Pilates instructor, pointed out that eating between meals can even be seen as a good thing that fuels the bodies engine. She also notes that keeping those in-between meal snacks light and healthy is of ultra-importance.
Third, are you certain that you are truly hungry? You indicated that your hunger hits you in the afternoon, so chance are that it is true hunger and you can eat a healthy snack. Yeah!
At other times of the day, or in case that it is in the afternoon but not true hunger, we must consider what else might be going on. Often times we mistake a need for an emotional or physical relief as hunger. That is pretty much the definition of emotional eating. I'm a pro at that! In fact, I came home yesterday at 8:30 pm feeling really tired and possibly hungry. I knew it, I recognized it, yet I ate anyway. I rationalized that I was choosing food that was on the Engine 2 plan. Was that stupid? Probably. I'm still a work in progress. If this is a real issue for you, then I highly recommend The Beck Diet Solution book and plan. This is a deep issue that cannot be contained just by following the diet du jour.
And lastly, recognize that hunger is not a bad thing. Get used to it. It does take practice but it is doable! I used to think that hunger was an emergency until I read The Beck Diet Solution. It turns out that this is a common problem for overweight people. We think that if we get hungy we are going to __________ (you fill in the blank . . . get a head ache, pass out, get a stomach ache, etc.). So Dr. Beck has you go through an exercise called "Practice Hunger Tolerance." And do you know what, it works! I have had a total mind shift because of working Beck's systems. I now know that hunger is a normal part of life and not something to fear.
If I am hungry and it is mealtime, I eat. If I am hungry and it is not mealtime, I may or may not eat, depending on the circumstances. If I have an apple available, chances are I will eat an apple. If all that is available is processed garbage, I try to choose to go hungry until my next meal. I'm not perfect. Lots of times I have chosen to eat pretzels (which are easily available to me when the hunger monster hits me every day at 4 o'clock). I'm a work in progress. Not perfect, but moving up the ladder.
The Engine 2 Diet Challenge Day 4
coffee with soy creamer
smoothie with 3/4 cup frozen spinach, 1 large frozen banana, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 1 1/2 cups almond milk, ice, 2 dates
Large bowl of Panera Black Bean soup, whole grain bagette, Asian Chicken Salad--hold the chicken! Extra romaine lettuce!
Healthy Girl's Warm Mexican Wraps
Somewhat regrettable Snack:
Leftover Pad Thai
1 slice Manna bread (http://www.mannaorganicbakery.com/ My little ones thought it was cake . . . wow . . . going to get more of this at Whole Foods in the frozen section A.S.A.P.)
Healthy Girl's Warm Mexican Wraps
This was a super easy and fast dinner that I threw together on the fly before a very busy evening with my daughters at their ice show dress rehearsal. We all thought is was terrific, my husband's only gripe again is that there wasn't enough of it! You can use any veggies that you happen to have on hand in the sauteed veggie mixture. I suggest mushrooms, onions, peppers--just make sure to add them at the right time so that everything cooks down correctly. Remember, with veggies, the more the merrier!
1 package Sprouted Grain Tortillas (6 tortillas), defrosted
1 can fat free refried beans
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 very large bag fresh, clean spinach or 2 regular sized bags
1/2 bag frozen corn (I used Trader Joe's frozen Roasted Corn)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Heat up a large nonstick skillet. When the pan is hot, pour in some vegetable broth to coat the bottom of the pan. The broth should begin to bubble up immediately. Put in garlic and let cook for a minute or two. Garlic should not brown or burn.
Place all spinach into skillet. Let spinach sautee and cook down for about a minute. Add frozen corn and chopped tomatoes. Add a touch of salt if you must (I did). Let simmer until spinach is totally cooked down and corn is warm. Remove from heat.
Place another nonstick skillet over medium heat. When skillet is hot, place one tortilla in the skillet and spoon about 1/4 cup of refried beans onto the tortilla. Using a spoon or the back of tongs, try to smooth the beans in the center of the tortilla. Remove the tortilla with the beans onto a plate when the beans are a little bit warm. Place 1/6 of the spinach mixture on top of the strip of beans. Fold one side of the tortilla over the middle and then the other side. Using a sharp knife, cut the wrap in half making a diagonal cut.
Repeat with remaining 5 tortillas.
All that spinach cooked down into this seemingly tiny amount!