Why You're Always Hungry (According To Jessica Alba's Nutritionist)
Kelly LeVeque is the it-girl of the wellness world, with a client roster that reads like an InStyle cover star list, a new book, Body Love, coming out this summer, and a secret, exciting project with mbg in the works (stay tuned for more on that!). We sat down with her recently to discuss some of the principles that have helped her hundreds of clients get to their happy weight, and to our surprise, the main culprit was a lot simpler than we thought. Kelly explains:
"People don't realize how insulin works in the bod—it shuts down fat burning for six to eight hours. I can have a client trying really hard, going to get a smoothie and thinking it's the right thing to do, and then that smoothie makes their blood sugar spike up and crashes down. People start to feel hungry as little as 90 minutes after a meal, when they’re starting to have that crash. When people elongate that blood sugar curve, they really can go four to six hours without thinking about food."
According to Kelly, you can elongate your blood sugar curve on any kind of diet—many of her clients are prominent vegans in Hollywood. Vegans, in fact, often need to pay more attention to their blood sugar curve. "Often vegans are eating way too much, and they’re hungry all the time. Eating that many times a day is really aging because you’re constantly digesting and never giving your body a break. When you give yourself four to six hours between meals, you have a surge of human growth hormone and testosterone, which helps you hold on to lean muscle mass and keeps your metabolism high."
So how do you fill yourself up at a meal so that your blood sugar stays stable and you can get away with not eating for another four to six hours? That's where what Kelly calls the Fab 4 comes in. "At every meal, you want to include fat, fiber, protein, and greens," she says. When you apply that formula to her signature smoothie, it looks like this: a scoop of protein (grass-fed whey, pea protein, collagen—all are fine, as long as they come from a high-quality source), 2 tablespoons of fat (avocado, coconut butter), 2 tablespoons of fiber (like flaxseeds), and a handful of greens. She also recommends limiting fruit to a quarter of a cup, trying, again, to mitigate that blood sugar spike. "When my clients start on this, they find themselves going through lunchtime without getting hungry, which allows them to make choices based on what their body needs—not on uncontrollable hunger that makes you reach for whatever is nearby."
Although Kelly recommends playing around with the smoothie (there are infinite combinations using the ratios she gives as a guideline), here's an easy one to start with. Try it, and see how your hunger reacts!
Kelly LeVeque's Spa Smoothie Recipe
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- ¼ avocado
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Handful spinach
- 1 small Persian cucumber
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups unsweetened nut milk
Blend all ingredients together until very smooth. Enjoy!