Hi, I’m an active father, and I work in an emergency room during evening hours. I work out 3-4 days a week; taking the body works plus abs class 2-3 times a week and doing two days of running. Sometimes I find myself still hungry after a healthy meal, and I will eat junk food right after a 600 calorie lunch or dinner as a result. I drink plenty of water I try to stay on a 2200 calorie a day diet. I think I’m a stress eater. I weigh 238 lbs. and I want to get to 190 lbs. Any words of advice? – Jose
To solve your hunger issues, Jose, you’ll need to increase calories earlier in your day and replace any refined grains or added sugars with more wholesome choices. Eat breakfast daily to the extent of your lunch or dinner quantity. Purge the junk food and sweets from your home and office and leave fruit out for a quick grab instead.
In addition, a dose of fat at each eating session in place of carbohydrate or protein may keep you satisfied longer. One of the following will do: a spoonful of oil, butter, nut butter or dressing; 2 tablespoons of cream cheese; 1/3 avocado; or 1 ounce of nuts. This may seem counter-intuitive to you, since fat in the form of stored body fat is what you’re trying to avoid. But make no mistake here — eating sufficiently to avoid eating junk (and thus extra calories) is what you need to do.
Another way to curb post mealtime hunger is to eat meals earlier, before you’re ravenous. Don’t wait too long to get energy in, or your body will still be playing catch up afterward. To prevent letting mealtime slide, keep a tight routine and have easy-to-fix meal options on hand. Pack small shelf-stable energy bars for an emergency. As you know with children and patients, time is precious and can often seem fleeting, so set a timer as a reminder if you have to!
Stress eating is a rather separate issue, but also managed by eliminating unhealthy choices from your grasp. You’ll need to stock up on sweet, salty and creamy alternatives. Frozen blueberries are a refreshing pick-me up. Light popcorn is a satisfying finger food with lots of crunch. Single serve pudding cups hit the spot for indulgence. Also, find outlets to relieve stress that preclude eating, such as talking to a friend, washing the car, typing or chewing gum.
As a parent and ER staff member, you probably have great problem-solving skills. Now, put them to use for yourself.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
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