TURN OFF HUNGER

 

If your stomach feels like a bottomless pit, you’re not alone.  Eating when you’re not really hungry is something many adults struggle with, whether due to cravings, boredom, or bad habits.  How to keep it under control?  The trick is to choose more satiating foods and adopt habits that keep your body properly fueled so you don’t get hungry in the first place.  Here are some helpful tips:

 

Avoid processed (concentrated) carbohydrates like white rice, sugary drinks, and low-fat cookies.  Duh, right?  But it’s not just the obvious calorie count that’s the problem.  These foods create surges in insulin and crashes in blood sugar that exacerbate hunger and make it difficult not to overeat.  Proceeds carbohydrates raise insulin levels in the body, which causes fat cells to take in excess calories.  Think of insulin as fertilizer for your fat cells.  These spikes restrict the number of calories you’re giving your body to fuel your brain, and as a result send out hunger signals to drum up more calories.  Sugary drinks include wine (sorry), so order a vodka soda instead.

Choose unprocessed, whole foods.  They have a lower calorie density, so you can eat larger portions.  Foods that offer the most volume for your calories: think vegetables, fruits and broth-based soups.  These foods help you feel psychologically and physically fuller.

Eat walnuts, avocados and ground chia seeds.  Have some healthy fat at every meal.  It will lower your insulin level, among other great benefits.  Walnuts can alter the way the brain views food and impacts appetite by increasing activity in an area of the brain that regulates satiety.    Avocados depress the desire to eat over a three-hour period following their ingestion (one-half of a medium avocado is a serving). And ground chia seeds make you feel fuller instantly.  Try adding them to a smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt or eggs.

Have protein and fiber at every meal.  Both stabilize blood sugar levels, and because they take longer to digest they’ll keep you fuller longer.   Some examples: chia pudding with berries for breakfast, a green salad with shrimp for lunch, and wild salmon with roasted cauliflower for dinner.

Eat smaller meals more frequently.  Don’t go longer than four hours between meals.  Find the timing pattern that works best for you.  If you become ravenous between meals, you need to eat more often.

Don’t go to bed on a full stomach.  Cut off eating at least 2 hours before bedtime to give your body time to digest, leading to better sleep.  Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep, and too little sleep can wreak havoc on your appetite.  After just one night of sleep deprivation, your metabolism may change so that you crave more processed carbohydrates.  Set your bedtime and go to sleep, and turn off electronic devices and other distractions while you’re sleeping.

Karen Asp