If you’ve got a raving appetite, constantly thinking about your next meal, and just can’t seem to stop eating once you start…then you’ve come to the right place. Here are 8 ways to stop feeling hungry all the time, that are healthy – without depriving yourself on a diet.
Often when we put ourselves on a diet, it has the complete opposite effect of what we want. Instead of making us eat less and be slimmer, it leads to actually eating more, and making us go crazy around food. In fact, research shows that diets actually make you put on weight, and this is partially due to the fact, that we’re often constantly hungry and obsessing over food when dieting.
When you diet and deprive yourself of food, you put your body under stress, and this, in turn, slows down your metabolism to try and conserve energy. This slow-down means it’s harder to lose weight as your body is clinging to every calorie you give it. Plus, your brain gives you more messages to EAT! EAT! EAT! Your head fills with thoughts of recipes and foodporn until you can’t wait for your next bite.
Dieting simply doesn’t work. You need to honor your hunger and ensure you’re eating enough food if you want a healthy weight and relationship with food.
The food you eat gets absorbed and used at different rates in your body. Choosing food that digests slower will make you feel fuller for longer, which means you’ll be eating fewer calories and feeling more energized.
There are 3 main categories of food are called macronutrients, namely, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Proteins and fats are absorbed more slowly by the body as it takes longer to breakdown and digest. So, it’s important to include some protein and fat in your meals. Proteins include meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, quinoa, tempeh, while healthy fats include avocado, olives and olive oil, nuts.
If you’d like to get inspired in the kitchen, why not try out these FREE recipes.
The fiber in foods such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables take longer to break down in the stomach, so the nutrients are digested and absorbed slower, which means your stomach stays stretched and fuller for longer, and you don’t feel as hungry.
Plus, a diet rich in fiber helps reduce the risk of cancer, keeps your bowels regular, and lowers cholesterol.
When you eat foods that are broken down and digested quickly such as sugary foods, your blood sugar level (also known as blood glucose) will rise quickly, which makes your liver release loads of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that acts as a taxi, carrying glucose molecules into your muscles. If you have a big surge of insulin released into your bloodstream when you eat very sugary foods, it can quickly drop your blood sugar level and leave you very hungry again soon. It’s a roller-coaster ride for your body, and not in a good way!
If you choose foods that digest slower, such as fiber-rich foods, and reduce your sugary food intake, your blood sugar rises slowly, so you’ll be less hungry over time. More of a gentle boat ride, than a scary rollercoaster.
The more aware and focused you are on your meal, the more satisfied and tapped into what’s going on with your hunger and fullness signals your body is sending you. This means you’ll know when you’re full, you’ll have enjoyed the meal and your brain will register that you’re satisfied. Job done!
If you’d like more tips on becoming a mindful eater, you can download my Mindful Eating Journal here. It has loads of practical tools, tips, and even recipes to get you in the zone when it comes to mindful eating.
Opting for a piece of fruit rather than a glass of fruit juice is another way to keep your appetite at bay. When you drink fruit juice, the process of getting the fruit into liquid form means you’ve removed all the fiber in that food (see point 2!), plus it usually takes more than one piece of fruit to turn into a glass of juice. Instead of eating a whole orange with all the added fiber benefits, you’ll be drinking 3 x the orange-worth of fruit (and fruit has sugar in it…see point 3!) without the fiber-richness.
Think about how much time it takes to eat an orange versus glugging down a glass of OJ? The juice is probably not even noticeable…and so it’s not going to keep you full or satisfied for very long. If you’re thirsty opt for water. In fact, sometimes we can mistake thirst for hunger, so make sure you stay hydrated first. You can always jazz up your water with some fruit slices or cucumber and mint.
Studies have shown that when you eat something you really enjoy, in a comfortable environment, the pleasure you get from this experience can actually help you lose or maintain a healthier weight. The reason: the more satisfied you are with your meal, the less hungry you’ll be later.
If you eat something unsatisfying (say a bar of diet chocolate), your brain feels cheated and deprived, often rebelling later on an entire box of choc-chip cookies. If you’d just had one choc-chip cookie in the first place and savored it…you wouldn’t feel the need to binge later. In fact, make it dark-rich chocolate which can really help cut that sugar craving too.
Exercising releases feel-good hormones, which reduces your need to eat for emotional reasons. Also, exercise means your blood flow is diverted away from your digestive system and into your arms and legs so you can move, meaning your body pays less attention to your stomach and your appetite level goes down.
Try a fun exercise such as team sports, or even something more relaxing like a walkout in nature. The key is to be consistent, so if you enjoy it, you’re more likely to do it again!
Some days you’re just going to be more hungry than other days. That depends on many factors including your hormones, the weather outside, how much exercise you’ve done, how much you ate at your last meal, etc. No two days are the same, so honor your unique hunger by listening to when you’re genuinely hungry and what your body is craving.
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