Hunger is the factor that usually ruins our weight loss efforts. You’re always feeling like you haven’t eaten enough or worse, you’re constantly drawn to foods that are bad for you.
Hunger can thus sabotage you in so many ways and the usual consequence is being overweight and packing on stubborn fat that won’t go away.
Science tells us that hunger is largely dependent on your metabolism but there are other causalities, too. The mechanism that signals your brain to stop the sensation of hunger may be out of balance.
Thus, people get to eat more than they actually need, simply because their brain hasn’t told their body to stop. There are several ways to fix this and to successfully deal with your hunger.
You can now control your appetite and keep the calories away if you learn the following methods:
1. Boost your water intake
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Next time you’re feeling hungry, have a glass of water and see how you’re feeling afterward. If your stomach is really growling, you may have two glasses or opt for a snack that’s rich in water (think of vegetables, watermelon etc.).
Your body is most likely craving for water. A drop of 3% of all water in your tissue is enough to cause dehydration and to prompt you to drink more. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses a day and ‘supplement’ water by eating fresh green produce as well as fruit with a high water content.
Soda and caffeinated drinks are not on this list because these either have too much sodium or cause dehydration on their own.
2. Lower your levels of stress
Stress feels bad for the body and then you want to compensate. Many people have thus developed compulsive eating to reward themselves. In times of stress, e crave sweet treats or various kinds of tasty food, so that we can provide ourselves with some pleasure, as well as with the energy to cope.
While it’s easy to reach for a chocolate bar or a doughnut, it’s best to stop and assess your situation. If you’re angry, sad or stressed out, take time to understand your state and to lower your stress levels.
There are many methods out there to help you with this: meditation, sports, walks, music, prayer, calling a friend, taking natural supplements (with valerian, lavender, ginseng, adaptogenic herbs etc.), healthy snacking (fruits, yogurt, wholegrain crackers, nuts) and so on.
If you can’t manage the bad mood on your own, you could be having a depression. In this case, you can begin the “talk therapy” with a professional, who might also consider medication. Your body will no longer experience such high levels of stress and won’t call for quick unhealthy fixes anymore.
3. Drink coffee or tea
Coffee is a well known antidote to hunger and so is green/black tea. Not only that these give you energy and make you feel alert, but also help you feel full for many hours.
What’s even batter about these is that they also make your body burn more fat, so they’re useful when you’re trying to lose weight. You need to remember though to drink extra water too, because such drinks can dehydrate you.
4. Freshen up with mint
Afraid you’ll overeat again? Have a decent meal then brush your teeth, have a mint or chew a gum. The menthol taste suppresses the appetite and makes food taste bad after you’ve had something like this.
It’s simply the way it works, try it out to convince yourself. While the mint taste lasts, you won’t be tempted to snack.
5. Get on a high fiber diet
Fibers are proven to help people feel full for longer. When you’re getting enough fiber with your meals, they keep you satiated for longer. Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables to stay full and curb down hunger.
Salads or soups made of vegetables will have a similar effect. Fiber also has a role in regulating blood sugar; without it, sugar levels drop quickly, thus boosting your appetite and cravings very soon.
6. Eat several small meals
Several small meals throughout the day will prevent you from overeating, as long as you keep the portions small and don’t let yourself to get too hungry.
Waiting for many hours until you can eat again is certain to make you fill up the plate. In addition, the body slows down the metabolism when it gets hungry but doesn’t get food, to preserve its energy. When you’re getting more meals, the body speeds up its metabolism so it can quickly deal with the food.
Eggs, fish, meat, chickpeas, beans, broccoli, nuts and many more foods are very rich in protein, which keeps you full for longer and makes you eat less the next time.
Protein also helps you put on lean muscle and shed the fat, so you have plenty of reasons to include more of it in your diet. Keep a high ratio even when dieting, because it will preserve your muscle as you begin to lose fat.
8. Get more Omega-3
This essential fatty acid found in algae, nuts, fish and oils, increases the feeling of fulness after a meal by boosting leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and brings satiety. On overweight people, Omega-3 fatty acids were proven successful. If you don’t get enough of these from food, opt for supplementing.
Always make sure you are doing the right thing by reducing your hunger, Normally, it is a very important signal sent by our bodies, so it shouldn’t be ignored or suppressed. If you think you may have an unrealistic body image, consult with a doctor and get an unbiased opinion.
Anorexia and related body image issues are based on an unrealistic perception of one’s physique, which is why it is vital to get an accurate estimation of your current and ideal weight and only then take action in regards to your hunger.