Do you always feel hungry? Is a filling meal never enough for you? Well, I understand it is tough to control hunger, especially if you have the habit of eating frequently. But believe me, you can do it! Hunger control is the best way to lose weight and prevent heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic disorders. However, that doesn’t mean you should starve. All you have to do is read this article to the know the difference between physical and mental hunger and implement these 20 hunger control strategies. Swipe up!
Science Of Hunger Control
Your hunger is controlled by three hormones – insulin, ghrelin, and leptin. When you have not eaten for more than 3-4 hours, your insulin level drops as there is no food to carry to the cells. (The function of insulin is to carry glucose or broken down foods from the bloodstream to the cells for generating energy.) When that happens, the hunger hormone, ghrelin, kicks in. And you start feeling hungry, and you eat. As soon as the body experiences a rise in the glucose levels, the hunger control hormone, leptin, comes into the picture and stops you from eating more. So, if leptin is there to help you stop eating and control your body weight, why is it that you cannot stop eating? Well, here’s the first answer.
Overeating can lead to leptin resistance. This means that your brain stops responding to leptin. This typically happens when you start gaining weight in the form of fat. The more fat you store, the more leptin is released (leptin is created in the fat cells). But instead of stopping you from eating more, the hypothalamus becomes resistant to leptin and doesn’t recognize the “stop eating” signal. As a result, you still feel hungry and keep eating more food. And the second answer to why you feel hungry is in the next section.
Physical And Mental Hunger
Hunger is broadly classified into physical or real hunger and mental or emotional hunger. You feel hungry when there is a deficit of sugar in the body. But your hunger is in your head when you just cannot stop feeling hungry even after having a full course meal. And this emotional hunger is the second reason you cannot stop eating, leading to obesity and obesity-related diseases.
So, unless you make a conscious effort to control your hunger and make it a habit, you will never be able to break the cycle of feeling hungry, overeating, accumulating fat, and being leptin resistant. That’s why it is important that you check out the 20 best strategies to break that vicious cycle and take control of your life. Scroll down.
20 Best Ways To Stop Feeling Hungry
1. Know Your Body
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. And to do that, the first step is to understand your body. Check with your doctor to know if you have any allergies, hereditary diseases, or hormonal issues. Also, keep a track of the triggers that are making you feel hungry. It could be the smell, mood swings, PMS, anxiety, etc. The more you understand the reason behind your mindless eating, the more you will be able to attack the issues.
2. Don’t Just Wish, Set A Goal
Merely wishing for a miracle has never actually made anything happen. You have to work at it. So, when you “plan” to not eat mindlessly, you are just wishing. Jot your wish down, and write 3-4 lines about how you are going to prevent yourself from eating frequently, how much weight you want to lose in a month, or what your fitness level should be by the end of the month. Giving yourself a deadline makes sure that you stay focused.
3. Start Your Day With Positivity
Starting your day with some kickass positive vibes will help you stay alert, energetic, and productive throughout the day. Wake up and say any of your favorite positive quotes aloud. It has a magical effect that switches the circuits of your brain on and pushes you to achieve your smaller goals throughout the day. Try it, and you will know what I am talking about.
4. Break Fast? You Must!
It’s a new day, and the first meal of the day is very, very important. Break your 6-7-hour fast with a good, healthy breakfast. Make sure you get a portion of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your body before you head out. Having breakfast will help you remain satiated for a long duration and prevent you from feeling hungry frequently.
5. Tea Or Coffee?
Gear up with a cup of green tea or black coffee. Yes! Both green tea and coffee are great energizers and appetite suppressors. Have a cup of coffee or green tea with breakfast, 45 minutes before lunch, an hour after lunch, and an hour before going to the gym. Opt for decaf if you want to avoid caffeine. Your appetite will be suppressed, and the antioxidants in green tea help flush out the toxins from your body.
6. Protein Curbs Hunger
I talked about consuming protein during breakfast. In fact, you should consume protein with every meal, even snacks. Protein is tough to digest and keeps you full for an hour and not cause the blood glucose levels to spike. Moreover, it helps you build lean muscle mass, which, in turn, improves your metabolic rate. Consume chicken breast, fish, tofu, beans and legumes, nuts, and seeds to provide your body with the required amount of protein per day.
7. Dietary Fiber Satiates
Dietary fiber is a complex carb that is indigestible by humans. It forms a gel-like layer in the gut and slows down the absorption of nutrients, preventing a sudden insulin spike. Dietary fiber also serves as food for the good gut bacteria, leading to better digestion. It encapsulates the fat molecules and prevents their absorption in the body. So, consume veggies, fruits (with peels), and whole grains to load up on healthy complex carbs.
8. Eat Every 2-3 Hours
Eating every 2-3 hours helps you be more in control of your hunger than eating every 30 minutes. A gap of two to three hours will give your body the time to digest and absorb the nutrients. Mix small meals with large ones to create a symphony between your mind and body. This will help you develop a habit of eating healthily but not too frequently.
9. Hungry? Drink Water
In between your small and large meals, if you are hungry, drink water. Because when you are thirsty, you might feel hungry and consume solid foods. Drink a glass of water and wait for a while. You will soon see that you were actually not hungry but thirsty.
10. Eenie Mini Miney Meal
Mini meals are very important. These will keep your metabolism firing and prevent you from overeating. Plan your mini meal the night before. You can eat a fruit, drink freshly pressed fruit juice, have kale wafers, nuts, etc. But don’t go overboard. Drink a cup of green tea if you still feel hungry.
11. Color Your Plate
A plate that is loaded with veggies of different colors is way attractive than a monochrome, bland-looking plate. Isn’t it? Try adding five types of veggies, one source of protein, and healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, or oil to your diet. Colorful food on a plate will provide you with different nutrients, dietary fiber, micronutrients, protein, and the much-needed visual stimulus to lead you to a path of healthy living.
12. Spice Up Your Food
Spicing up your food with different spices in limited amounts will help the food taste better, curb hunger, and help you enjoy the food while you eat it. And spicy does not mean chili flakes or pepper. Use other spices like allspice, dried herbs, cinnamon, garlic powder, star anise, cardamom, turmeric, clove, fenugreek, and fennel seeds.
13. Avoid Salt
Well, I am not asking you to completely avoid salt. If you can, nothing like it. But for now, try to consume less salt. And that’s because salt causes water retention and makes you look bloated. Also, when you are in the habit of eating too frequently, right after you have eaten something too salty, you will feel like having something sweet. As a result, you will end up consuming extra calories and not be able to get out of the “hunger games”.
14. Oh! Mega-3
I mean, omega-3s. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in fish, nuts, oils, and seeds. They help reduce inflammation in the body and, as a result, lower the chances of inflammation-induced weight gain. This, in turn, improves your metabolism and prevents you from eating a lot at an odd time.
15. Ditch The Junk Food
Junk food addiction is a real thing. So, you must ditch it now. The sweet and salty taste of these foods that keeps you coming back for more is actually a dangerous method to stimulate your brain to want more of the junk food even when you know it is not good for your health. The best way to go about it is to toss or give away all the junk food. Fill your pantry or fridge with fruits, veggies, protein sources, herbs, spices, and healthy fats.
16. Ginger Up!
Ginger is said to aid weight loss. And that’s because the phytochemicals in it help suppress appetite, flush out toxins, and improve digestion. So, if you feel hungry within 30-60 minutes of having a meal, place a small piece of ginger in your mouth and chew it slowly so that you do not feel the urge to eat (chew) for at least another hour.
17. Got A Bad Gut Feeling? Drink Probiotics
Bad gut health can lead to a host of health problems – weight gain is one of them. If you suffer from indigestion, bloating, or constipation, consume probiotics or have yogurt or buttermilk. The good bacteria in these foods will help replenish the bacterial flora in your gut, putting an end to all your gut problems. When your gut health improves, the crazy food cravings, tightness in your chest, and junk food addiction will also come to an end.
18. Dark Chocolate, Not Dark Secrets
Dark chocolate is low in calories and has a “feel good” impact on your health. When you feel good, the levels of stress are reduced, and as a result, your body and mind will function better. So, get a bar of 80% or more dark chocolate and consume one piece per day.
19. Sleep On It
When you are stressed out and are unable to sleep, the next best thing you do to feel better is to eat junk food. Whenever you feel worried or anxious, just take a power nap or sleep on it for two hours. You will wake up fresh and look at the problem logically and not emotionally. And, of course, fewer calories go into your belly.
20. Give Love To Yourself
Eating too frequently points out to one thing for sure – mental distress. When you are not feeling good about yourself or your choices, you want to feel better by eating food. Eating more food will make you feel guilty, triggering further stress and worry. And then, you will eat some more to feel better. So, it is necessary that you start appreciating who you are and what you are doing. This is tough, I know, but if you start by appreciating how good you look when you smile, you will see a lot of change in your attitude towards yourself over a period. Be patient and be kind to yourself.
There you go – best strategies to help you stop feeling hungry all the time. Follow these today, and you will surely change physically and mentally. And you will never want to go back to eating mindlessly. Good luck!