As coaches, we often have clients telling us they didn’t hit their macro goals every day since they weren’t hungry. I want to explain why it’s so important to eat all your macros DAILY, even if you find yourself with low hunger.
Stress has the ability to both suppress and increase our appetite, completely throwing off our hunger cues.
Distraction can do the same thing. When we’re busy, it is so easy to lose track of time and lose touch with our hunger cues. This easily happens to me every afternoon when I am trying to meet the needs of two boys and a baby — I find myself a tad hungry and I tell myself I will eat once I do X, Y and Z. What ends up happening is I do X, Y, Z plus 15 other tasks and 3 additional hours have passed and I haven’t eaten since lunchtime.
If we continuously stretch the length of time between meals and snacks, our metabolism has the ability to downregulate… it slows down.
For fat loss and body composition changes, that is NOT what we want. We want a highly efficient metabolism that is burning through the food we feed it.
This decrease in metabolism will diminish our hunger cues. So even when we’re not hungry, it’s so important to prioritize fueling your body. We need to wake up our metabolism, getting our body used to consistent nutrition. The more we do that, the better those hunger cues will kick in.
Our metabolism is like a bonfire; to keep it burning, we need to continually feed the fire with logs. When we stop doing that, the flames will die out and all will be left will be smoldering coal. The same thing happens with our metabolism when we go long stretches without eating, or eat less one day. Our metabolism downregulates — it slows down — which in turn decreases our hunger cues.
As a coach who has your best interests in mind, we always emphasize the importance of consuming all of your macros every day, regardless if hunger is low. This is also where the importance of filling out your tracker every day with notes on how your day went! As a coach, the more you fill in your tracker with information about your day — stress, missing meals, hunger, etc — the better equipped I am to adjust your numbers and give you suggestions on how to better adjust your numbers. It is also a good way for you as a client to REFLECT on your day as a whole. Did you end up with an abundance of macros at the end of the day? Was that because you truly weren’t hungry OR did you have a stressful/busy day that led you to miss meals?
Tips to get meals in when you’re busy, or off-schedule (aka the weekend)
- Set an alarm on your phone and eat at predetermined intervals
- On the weekends, eat your meals and snacks at the same time as you do during the week
- If running errands or out and about on the weekends, pack a lunch bag with – snacks, sandwich, a protein shake, sliced fruit.
Another issue with skipping meals is we’re left with an abundance of macros at the end of the night, and that alone can be overwhelming.
What to do when you find yourself with a lot of macros at the end of the day:
- Try to finish your day with high-calorie macros.
- Carbs: Juice, dried fruit, cereal, granola and gummy bears, toast
- Fats: olives, coconut oil added to a cup of tea
- C/F: Chocolate, Reeces, buttered toast, banana + peanut butter
Protein: Deli meat, protein shake, string cheese, Babybel
The only way to regulate hunger and fullness cues is to eat CONSISTENTLY. It may seem mechanical at first, but eating at regular intervals WILL in fact help with appetite over time.