Just think of the words “weight loss”, “weight maintenance” or “diet”, and you will probably conjure images of self deprivation. Most of us (wrongly) associate healthy eating with going hungry. It’s no wonder we experience such difficulty sticking with an eating plan! No one could realistically be expected to deprive themselves of needed calories for any extended period of time.
The thing is, your appetite is stimulated by so much more than an actual need for nutrients. Sometimes we eat because a dish is just too tasty and tempting. Sometimes we eat because we’re lonely, bored, anxious, or sad. And sometimes we eat due to a social setting. So, controlling your appetite is definitely more complicated than “deprive yourself of nourishment” (which you shouldn’t be doing)!
Eat before you’re hungry. This might seem counter-intuitive, but snacking on healthy foods when you’re not all that hungry can prevent you from becoming ravenous and over-eating. Try a piece of fruit or some yogurt mid-day, to prevent over-eating at dinner time.
Eat slowly. Your brain requires ten to thirty minutes to send fullness signals to your stomach. In the meantime, you could be eating above your actual caloric requirements. Slow down, chew your food slowly, put your fork down between bites, and carry on a conversation during meals.
Drink water between meals. Sometimes we confuse thirst with hunger. Carry a water bottle and sip on it throughout the day, so that you don’t become overly thirsty.
Keep healthy snacks nearby. When do you feel most tempted to over-indulge in junk food? If the vending machine at work calls your name, keep healthy snacks in your desk drawer. If drive-thru restaurants are tempting you, keep fruit or pre-portioned bags of nuts in the car. Stave off those cravings by offering your stomach a reasonable substitute.
Control your blood sugar. The number-one cause of cravings is low blood sugar. Add vinegar or cinnamon to meals, because they both work to keep blood sugar more level throughout the day. And of course, remember to focus on lean protein and fiber. The protein is metabolized more slowly, and the fiber keeps you feeling full.
For more weight loss tips and tricks, give us a call. We can help you identify your vulnerabilities, and put together an eating plan that is both nutritious and satisfying.