Keeping your appetite in check is a key component to weight loss as well as essential for general well-being. Simply reducing caloric intake drastically may lead to initial weight loss, but it won’t change ingrained eating habits. More often than not, any weight lost on a ‘crash diet’ will return, in addition to few extra pounds as well. Then there’s the battle against the appetite which is involved in most diets.
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When looking to change your eating habits for good, it is important to tame your cravings and understand the mechanisms of appetite. Appetite is more than just a physical need for food. It is largely contextual, and comes from habits and conditioning established throughout our lives. Changing these habits often requires re-training perceptions about hunger.
Some healthy ways to tame that raging appetite can be achieved through some behavior modification techniques and healthy choices.
Consider why you eat
what you eat, and when you eat. Identifying eating patterns and modifying them can go far toward establishing better patterns. If you find you snack on salty foods in the evening, consider replacing that buttered popcorn or bag of pretzels for something healthier like baby carrots and sliced, lightly-salted cucumbers. Both offer a similar amount of ‘crunch’, take longer to chew thoroughly, and won’t add high-fat calories.
Get up and move
Don’t of succumbing to appetite signals. When you get that gnawing grumble in your stomach you may automatically assume that it’s hunger and reach for food. By removing yourself from the location and activity (or inactivity), your mind will often reset itself when you change gears. A brisk walk around the neighborhood, a tussle with the kids or dog, or even just picking up a basketball and shooting a few hoops may be just enough to tame that sense of hunger.
Drink plenty of fluids
Adding more healthy liquids to your daily routine can help to tame the appetite. Stick to water whenever possible, as this not only helps curb the appetite, but also helps to flush your system of waste and toxins. Avoid caffeine, carbonated drinks, and alcohol.
Balance your diet
Many times we don’t eat as well as we should. Get back to the basics of nutrition and consider reviewing the old-school Food Pyramid. By increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and reducing fats you can help keep the body functioning better, allowing the right foods to help stave off between-meal snacking. Avoid the empty calories of processed foods, such as refined sugars and white breads. Look for higher fiber content in raw foods and whole-grain foods. These choices help to control the appetite between meals.
Begin your day with protein
Consuming protein in the morning can do wonders in suppressing the appetite throughout the morning hours. Skip the pastries and empty calories. Protein, such as is found in eggs and even peanut butter, can keep you feeling full longer and keep your appetite at bay for hours.
Use aromas to battle the appetite
It has been shown that by smelling something delicious you can fool your appetite a bit. Peppermint, vanilla, and green apple all seem to help in this regard. Perhaps consider scented candles or essential oils to help tame your appetite. In one study it was demonstrated that up to 2,700 calories per week were ‘saved’ simply by sniffing something tasty-smelling.
Chew gum to stave off hunger
Chewing gum can help curb your appetite. Whether it is sugar-free or full-flavored gum, the act of chewing gum is believed to help stimulate nerves which in turn affect the area of the brain which is responsible for feeling full, or reducing the appetite.
These are but a few healthy ways which you can utilize to help tame and control your appetite. By implementing one or more of these options you can better master appetite signals.