Are you trying to lose weight but find yourself always feeling hungry? Do you plan to have super healthy days and restrict your calorie intake but hunger seems to come and make this extremely difficult to stick to?!
Well you're not alone. When it comes to losing weight, or even maintaining weight on a daily basis, hunger is probably the hardest obstacle to tackle. Unless you master it, it’s so damn hard to stick to your goals.
If you can control this hunger as best you can, you will be able to stick to your energy intake (ie calorie) goals and prevent the risk of over eating and ruining your efforts.
Here, I will share with you my top tips that are scientifically proven to reduce your appetite.
1. At your main meals and snacks be sure to always eat a source of protein, healthy fats and fibre.
Adding more protein to your diet can increase feelings of fullness and make you eat less at your next meal. Rich sources of protein include eggs, chicken, beef, fish, lamb, pork, tuna, tofu and tempeh.
Fiber slows your stomachs emptying rate and influences the release of fullness hormones. So, whats the easiest way to up your fiber intake? Bulk your meals up with vegetables. Viscous fibers have the most potent effect and these are found exclusively in plant foods. Rich sources include beans (legumes), flax seeds, asparagus and brussels sprouts.
Last but not least… we have healthy fats. The image below shows you my favourite sources to include in my meals. But, won’t fats add heaps of calories to your meals? Yes, but this is good. If you are careful and conscious with your portions, this slight addition of calories will actually prevent snacking and overeating for the rest of the day.
Eating a diet rich in protein, healthy fats and fiber can decrease hunger and help you automatically eat fewer calories throughout the day, leading to a reduced calorie intake overall and weight loss.
Of course, staying on track with your calories is important too if you are focussed on weight loss or maintenance. To simplify this for you and teach you exactly how to make a salad that is balanced in protein, fats and fibre whilst staying at roughly 400-450 calories, I have made a Build Your Own Salad Guide to show you exactly how it’s done. My meal plan ebooks take it one step further and have you sorted for breakfast, dinner and snacks too! The salad guide, together with my snack ideas guide AND dining out guide are included with both ebooks.
2. Drink lots of water, especially before meals. And drink coffee!
Sometimes when we are hungry it is actually a sign that we are dehydrated. So keep hydrated!
Drinking water just BEFORE your meals is also very useful in decreasing the amount of food you consume at that time.
In fact, studies have shown that people who drink two glasses of water immediately before a meal eat 22% less than those who don’t drink any water!! Scientists believe that about 500 ml of water is sufficient to stretch the stomach enough to send signals of fullness to the brain.
Coffee also acts as an appetite suppressant, so enjoy one to two cups of coffee per day if you enjoy it.
3. Totally cut out refined carbohydrates and foods with added sugars.
By refined carbohydrates, I mean any type of carbohydrate that is processed so much that when consumed is rapidly turned into sugar in your body.
Think crackers, white bread, white pasta, cakes, lollies, chocolate, chips. These foods cause a sugar spike in your blood and then the resulting quick drop in blood sugar after this spike only makes you hungry again and causes you to REACH FOR MORE. Cut them out!
If you love your carbs, choose complex carbohydrates with a low GI like quinoa, oats and whole grains as these will not spike your blood sugar levels so quickly, they break down into glucose far slower than refined types.
4. Add vinegar to your meals… and cinnamon!
Apple cider, white or red, all of these vinegar's have beneficial effects on reducing hunger levels. This is because they act to stabilise blood sugars after your meal. As I said above, any rapid spike in blood sugar results in a subsequent drop... meaning HUNGER. Use vinegar in your salad dressings or add some apple cider vinegar to your morning smoothie.
Cinnamon has also been found to do this too! So, whenever you have something sweet, like a smoothie, my one minute breakfast pudding or fruit, add cinnamon!
Sleep restriction alters our hormones. It is associated with reductions in leptin (the appetite suppressant) and elevations in ghrelin (the appetite stimulant) causing increased hunger and appetite.
Research also shows that individuals who sleep less than seven hours per night rate their fullness levels after breakfast as 26% lower.
Getting enough quality sleep can help reduce hunger and protect against weight gain. Several studies also link short sleep (less than 6 hours per night) with up to a 55% higher risk of obesity!!
So, be sure to prioritise your shut eye and aim for around 7 hours of sleep per night; definitely no less than 6 on a regular basis! I know that this can be hard, but you need to do whatever you can do ensure you develop a healthy sleep pattern.
These are only a few of the things that you can do to help you in your weight loss efforts. They are extremely effective if you use them all in conjunction with one another and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Want to follow a plan to help you lose weight without the hunger with all guesswork taken out? Check out my 3 Week Body Reset Plan.
Or, to learn more about my dietary approach, click here