Learning to control hunger is probably the biggest hurdle when you are on a weight loss plan. It is a complaint I hear more often than any other. Some people gripe about counting calories or keeping a food diary; others grumble about making time to exercise. But not a day goes by that someone does not tell me that they cannot stop feeling hungry and that they are “starving all the time!”
I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve that can help you control hunger naturally, but the first step is to figure out if you are actually hungry in the first place.
How to Know if You Are Truly Hungry?
Feeling hungry is not the same thing as “wanting something to eat.” Few tell-tale signs can help you distinguish stress-related or emotional hunger from its physical form.
Firstly, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Is my stomach rumbling?
- Is my energy level dipping?
- Do I have a little “brain fog” or feel “cranky”?
If the answer is affirmative, you need to fuel up, as these are all common symptoms of true hunger. In such a scenario, food is thy medicine, and you will probably start feeling much better as soon as you get something to eat.
On the other hand, if you are eating for reasons other than hunger like boredom, frustration, or depression, remember, food will not make you feel any better. Or, even if it does for a while, you probably will not feel that way for long.
So, if it is an emotion that is driving you to eat or if you got the urge to eat something simply because it looked delicious or smelled good, you are probably not truly hungry. In that case, you will need to find ways to deal with that urge and stop the mindless binging.
Top 5 Tips to Control Hunger & Curb Your Appetite!
Hunger control is the art of curbing true hunger as it naturally drives you to eat. Here are some healthy, hunger-stopping techniques that you can learn if your goal is to lose weight through calorie restriction.
1. Use protein as a hunger-buster.
Protein satisfies hunger better than carbohydrates or fat, so try to include some lean protein in every meal and snack. Protein works its magic not only in your digestive tract but also affects your brain chemistry in a way that helps you feel satisfied and mentally sharp. Therefore, it is a great choice to make protein your breakfast or snack to curb hunger.
2. Fill yourself up with watery, high-fibre foods.
Water and fibre have no calories. But watery, high-fibre foods are “bulky” and take up more space in your stomach, so they help fill you up. Most veggies (except the starchy ones like potatoes, corn and peas) have very few calories per serving because they contain so much water and fibre. Watery fruits like melons and pineapple, and high fibre fruits like berries, can also help fill you up for a relatively low-calorie cost.
3. Exercise can help control hunger.
A bout of exercise can suppress the hunger hormones, which can help curb your appetite. But to sustain these activities, your body needs energy and must be fuelled well. Sometimes, to lose weight, people tend to restrict their calorie intake way too much and end up having no strength to keep up with their exercise routine. People often mention that they feel exercise makes them hungry and leads them to eat more. That is because they forget to fuel up properly before and after their workouts.
4. Drink fluids to help you feel less hungry.
Drinking fluids with your meals may make your meals feel more filling. And some people confuse thirst with hunger, so even though their bodies are craving fluids, they wind up eating instead. If you stay hydrated, that is less likely to happen.
5. Eating small, frequent meals can help curb your appetite.
When you eat small meals every few hours, it helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day. It is necessary since dips in your blood sugar can cause your hunger to spike. Even if you think a smaller amount of food will not be enough to hold you, the knowledge that you will be eating again in just a few hours often makes it easier to manage your hunger.
Practice these techniques to keep your hunger pangs in check. Remember, controlling your appetite does not mean eating less or reducing your calorie intake but is all about identifying calorie sources and how much of it is required to fuel up your body. So, ensure you eat a well-balanced diet, maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and trust only scientifically backed products to stay healthy and happy.