A rumbling stomach makes trying to lose—or even maintain—weight uncomfortable and difficult. The best way to stick to your nutritional needs and avoid weight gain is to control your appetite.
Controlling your appetite might be easier than you think. With some healthy food choices and a few changes to your eating habits, you can keep your stomach quiet and lose weight without those painful hunger pangs. Follow these healthy tips to keep your appetite in check.
Eat Breakfast Every Day
You might think skipping breakfast is a great way to save a few hundred calories for snacks later, but it actually might make your body burn calories more slowly. Breakfast is a jumpstart to your metabolism for the day, letting your body know that food is coming and it should be ready to burn up energy. In fact, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast tend to have a lower body mass index and a lower risk for heart disease.
Again, this might seem counter-intuitive. How can snacking help you lose weight? The key to healthy snacking is to break up your meals into snacks instead of eating them all at once. If you eat a full meal and then a snack, you are eating more calories than if you just ate your meals in stages. An afternoon snack might also be the boost you need to get through the rest of your day at work.
For instance, if you pack a sandwich and an apple for lunch at work, you might eat the sandwich at noon then the apple at 2. This helps keep your appetite in check throughout the afternoon. Always choose healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, nuts or yogurt to ensure you aren’t adding empty calories to your day.
Protein, Protein, Protein
Protein has great benefits for your health, such as helping you build muscle. Protein also takes longer to digest than simple carbohydrates like bread. This longer digestion time can help control your appetite. Make sure you get more than a few grams of protein every time you eat. In the morning, this might mean an egg with breakfast. At lunch, some lean meat on a sandwich or a Greek yogurt. For snacks, try pairing up an apple and peanut butter or enjoying some almonds. This steady stream of protein can keep away hunger pangs.
Fill Up on Fiber
Like protein, fiber also takes a longer time to digest, and it provides benefits like keeping digestion regular and raising your good cholesterol. Fiber also helps keep your blood sugar more level, avoiding those quick drops in blood sugar already within normal range that can trigger feelings of hunger. For delicious fiber snacks, try fruit or cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. You can also eat plenty of fiber by including whole grains in your meals. Quinoa and brown rice are great sources of fiber.
Take Your Time
When you eat, be mindful of the experience. Instead of eating while watching TV, eat at the dinner table, where you can be aware of your food and how much you have eaten. Try to eat more slowly, with smaller bites or by choosing foods that require a lot of chewing. By eating slowly, you give your body more time to react to the food you are eating and to send appropriate cues to your brain. If you are being mindful as you eat, you’ll notice when your body signals that it is full, and you could end up eating less overall.
Appetite isn’t all about diet; physical activity plays a role, too. Regular moderate exercise like walking or biking can help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Since quick increases in blood sugar followed by quick drops can make you hungrier, a stable blood sugar is a great way to control appetite. Exercise also burns more calories, meaning you can eat a little more during the day and still maintain a normal weight or even achieve weight loss. An out-of-control appetite can lead to out-of-control weight gain. Keep your appetite in check, avoid uncomfortable hunger, and maintain a great weight by following these tips in your day-to-day life.
Learn more techniques to improve your nutrition and enjoy a healthy weight through other postings on our blog and on our Facebook page.