Curb Your Appetite: Strategies that Quiet the Beast Within
It sounds so easy—cut back on what you eat and you will lose weight. The only problem is that your body rebels—who hasn’t heard or felt the rumblings and growling of a stomach denied? Your body, the efficient machine that it is, senses that fuel is running low and pumps out more of the hunger hormone ghrelin to make you re-fill your tank.
Does this mean you can never take off the extra pounds that you would like to lose? Absolutely not. Here are some tips that will help you curb your cravings for food and put you on the road to a slimmer and healthier you.
CHEW MORE: People who chewed gum for one hour in the morning consumed 67 fewer calories at lunch and didn’t compensate by eating more later in the day, according to a University of Rhode Island Study. “One theory is that chewing stimulates nerves in the jaw that are connected to the brain region responsible for satiety,” explains Kathleen Melanson, Ph.D., R.D., an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Rhode Island. Chewing also burns 11 calories an hour. Everything counts!
DRINK TEA: Herbal and flavored teas pack plenty of taste with few or no calories. Choose a sweet fruity variety to curb the afternoon munchies. Tea is packed with antioxidants too.
SWEAT: Exercise not only helps you burn calories but also helps you eat fewer of them. 6o minutes of high-intensity cardio can reduce your appetite for up to two hours afterward. “Aerobic exercise lowers ghrelin levels and increases the amount of an appetite-suppressing hormone in your body,” says David Stensel, Ph.D. To really get more bang for your buck, do your cardio in intervals of high and low intensity—you’ll burn more calories than you would with a steady level of cardio in the same time period. ZUMBA anyone?
FAKE IT: Swap roasted potatoes for French fries. Potatoes contain a special type of starch that resists digestive enzymes. Because potatoes take a while to break down, they stay in your intestine longer, delaying the onset of hunger pangs, says Katherine Beals, Ph.D., R.D., a clinical associate professor of nutrition at the University of Utah.
FAT IS GOOD: Okay, a little fat is good and goes a long way in quelling hunger signals to your brain. Think healthy unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados. Just watch your portion size. The American Dietetic Association suggests snacking on two tablespoons of natural peanut butter, an ounce of nuts, or a quarter of an avocado each day. Of course all bets are off if you’ve already had a cup of olive oil.
START WITH PROTEIN: Lean protein rules and for good reason—it keeps you fuller than other food and it takes your body more time to digest and absorb. Eating lean protein (think egg whites or low-fat Greek yogurt) at breakfast keeps you satisfied longer than if you were to consume it at other times during the day. Try to get at least one ounce in your first mean. I throw an egg white in my oatmeal (doesn’t detract from the flavor) and I’m there!
DRINK WATER: We often mistake thirst for hunger. When you feel an overwhelming urge to snack, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Your “hunger” pangs will likely disappear.
BRUSH YOUR TEETH: That minty clean flavor will erase any memory of your craving. If it doesn’t, take a bite. Toothpaste is guaranteed to make any food taste bad and your teeth will thank you.
EAT GRAPEFRUIT: No, the old grapefruit diet is not back, but grapefruit is. In a study at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, people who ate a half a grapefruit at each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds in three months. According to Ken Fujoka, M.D., the study’s principal researcher, this tart fruit lowers your post-meal levels of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar and fat metabolism.
EAT MORE OFTEN: Eat five small meals (about 300 calories each) a day—no less than two and no more than four hours apart. You’ll keep your metabolism pumping at a high level and you will stave off hunger pangs before they even start. Still hungry? Eat unlimited steamed or roasted green veggies; they’re low calorie, good for you, and filling.
START A NEW HOBBY: Often we eat because there’s nothing else to do. Whether you take up knitting, crossword puzzles, or scrapbooking, finding something to do with your hands and your mind can help you quell the urge to graze or binge.
These are just a few things you can do to silence the beast within and continue your road to a new and slimmer you. If you have any questions or need more information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make 2011 your best year ever!
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