When you’re trying to pursue a healthier lifestyle, appetite can be one of the most difficult factors to control. It might be easy enough to create a healthy eating plan for the day, or even a week in advance, but then you find yourself surrounded by temptation every time you leave the house. Use the following strategy to keep your appetite under control, and prevent overeating.
Eat when you aren’t hungry. Allowing yourself to get too hungry can cause you to eat everything in sight before you slow down, realize you’re overly full, and then feel the pain of regret. Snack on fruit, veggies, proteins like low-fat cheese, or a handful of nuts to stave off ravenous hunger.
Try this strange snack between meals. As an alternative to the above strategy, try this trick: Between meals, eat a small, flavorless snack. One researcher used a shot of olive oil in water, flavored by a tiny bit of sugar. You can also use a handful of unsalted almonds. Consume nothing but water for at least an hour before and after this snack. It works by regulating ghrelin (a hunger hormone) and weakening flavor and calorie associations.
Fill up before you leave home. You stock your home with healthy foods… and then you leave for an outing, encounter one temptation after another, and your willpower snaps. Sound familiar? It will be easier to combat temptation if you aren’t hungry when driving past one fast-food chain after another, so fill up on healthy fare before you leave the house. And if you’re going to be out all day, grab some fruit or other low-calorie snacks to keep in the car.
Stay hydrated. Sometimes thirst signals are confused for hunger, and lead us to eat when we’re not really hungry. Sip on water throughout the day to stay hydrated. And yes, you really should choose water – not drinks that contain calories. Many people consume hundreds of calories per day through their drink choices, and liquids aren’t filling. That means you will still fill up on “solid” calories.
Slow down. It takes between 10 and 30 minutes for your stomach to signal fullness to your brain. Often when we eat, we’re in a rush and eat more than we really need, and that leads to regret later. Slow down during meal time; chew each bite at least 10 times, set down your fork between bites, and sip water frequently. This gives your “fullness” signals time to catch up with you.