For many individuals on a mission to lose weight, hunger pangs can quickly get in the way of shedding those unwanted pounds. As you cut back on calories, your body starts trying out for food. This can wreak havoc on any weight loss plan. Hunger is a big part of why we eat. In early times, hunger was an important survival method. In today’s world, hunger can easily mean forgetting about one’s goals to eat healthy and succumbing to the fast food and junk food industry that is all around us. While it may not always be possible to control the unhealthy foods that surround you, you can work on appetite-control strategies to help you lose weight.
- Drink Plenty of Water and Stay Clear of Liquid Calories! Did you know that thirst could be mistaken as hunger? Next time you think you are hungry, try drinking a big glass of water first. You may not even be hungry at all; mild dehydration can cause a sensation that is very similar to feeling hungry. When you do pour yourself a drink, avoid liquid calories. Juices and sodas may taste great, but they don’t fill you up. Additionally, their rapid digestion can lead to spikes in your insulin levels. If you need to add flavor to your water, flavor it with cucumbers, lemons or strawberries. Using real fruit for flavoring can help to jazz-up regular water without adding unwanted calories.
- Eat slowly. Eating is not a race; you will not win a prize if you finish your dinner first. When you swallow your food, there is a delay before you actually begin to feel full. This delay usually is about 10-30 minutes. The delay in satiation is one of the biggest reasons why we overeat. To help slow your eating habits down, chew each bite of food 10 times before moving on to the next bite. By eating slowly, you are allowing your mind to catch up to how your stomach is feeling. As an added bonus, you will actually be taking the time to savor your meal.
- Make time for food; even when you don’t think you are hungry. To help yourself feel full and avoid overeating, eat even when you are not hungry. When you overeat, you tend to feel full. However, your insulin levels spike and you begin to feel tired. Before you know it, you are hungry again. It’s a vicious cycle. To avoid hunger all together, eat when you are not hungry or just a little hungry. This way you’ll consume less and likely take the time to enjoy your meal (meaning, you’ll eat it more slowly). As an added bonus, you’ll have plenty of extra energy!
- Leave yourself a healthy snack by the door! The front door technique is a great way to say no to junk food. Unhealthy foods are much easier to enjoy outside of the home. To help avoid the temptation, fill-up on healthy and filling snacks before you head out the door. Try a healthy snack, such as kale chips or almonds. Leave a healthy snack near the door and enjoy it on the way out. Once you arrive at your next destination, you will be feeling full and much more likely to avoid temptation. For a healthy snack on-the-go, give Natural Quest Bars a try.
- Enjoy a small, yet flavorless snack between your meals. This may sound boring and possibly even hard to enjoy, but having a small snack between meals can really help to prevent you from overeating. Try a handful of unsalted nuts in between meals. It may not be the most thrilling snack, but it can help you to lose weight. Why? Having a small, flavorless snack between meals regulates your hunger hormone (ghrelin) by weakening the flavor-calorie association. Keep in mind your snack must be bland and you should only consume water [nothing else] for one hour before and one hour after your snack.
Weight loss can be a battle and sometimes feeling full is half the battle.