Question:

I am a pretty fit, over 50-year-old female. I eat anywhere from 1,200-1,400 calories per day. However, I’ve since learned my real issue is compulsive eating. I keep getting hungry and will crave sugary carbs (something I never really did when younger).   

I take Carnitine about twice to three times per day and one to two scoops of Lean 1 fat burning meal replacement per day. I take 1 scoop in the morning at times with 2 wheat bread slices, a banana at times.  I take another scoop again after a workout.  The Lean 1 is about 95 calories for one scoop (11g carb cal/ 2.2g fat cal /10g prot cal).  I started to use a post-workout scoop as a meal replacement generally. I must say the urge to overeat dramatically decreased doing all of this and my sugar levels and carb levels are more balanced in the day (protein and fat also)!  

Dinner is the heaviest meal and, by the time I eat, I’m hungry for it. I recently added a microcellular casein protein scoop at night after working or as a snack hoping it will help achieve a more muscular / defined. I tend to crave candies around 11pm and one reason I chose the Casein option as well as for other benefits. I wanted recommendations on how to incorporate these three items into my daily regimen if I’m not doing so appropriately.  

– Kina C.

Answer:

Kina, it sounds like your supplements have had the desired impact on your compulsive eating and carbohydrate cravings. Let me say that, although I normally promote whole food solutions to hunger and other dietary issues, I’m glad these are working for you. Still, I’m curious if you tried a solid option (like half an apple with peanut butter) after workouts to forestall the candy craving?  

Your intake of the meal replacement and protein powder total around 300 calories, which is a considerable portion of your day. Not knowing which foods these replaced and if they subsequently added or reduced intake from your previous eating habits, it’s difficult to comment on their use. Plus, “fat burning” supplements have other non-caloric components such as caffeine or other stimulants.  

My feedback would also be to follow each products’ limits for use. Know that protein utilization at one time is rather limited (about 30 grams per meal), thus you may not be getting the most out the fat-burning meal replacement shake and micellar casein protein scoop if taken together after your workout. Perhaps moving one to an afternoon snack before dinner is in order. Sounds like your day is relatively low-fat and low-calorie leading up to dinner, therefore it’s no surprise you’re hungry enough to eat a ‘heavy’ meal. 

Also, I’d advise sticking to your vegetables and protein dinner, and consider adding a half-cup of brown rice on your workout evenings. Don’t forget to search the Living Healthy blog for related inquiries! Read our previous answers regarding cravings and hunger for more advice.  

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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