How Mindful Eating Boosts Your Health
- How Intuitive Eating Can Help with Hunger Control
- How to Curb Your Cravings
- Foods That Keep You Fuller Longer
- Will Protein Help with Your Appetite?
- The Role Fiber Plays in Your Hunger Scale
- Appetite Control: The Benefits of Exercise
How Intuitive Eating Can Help with Hunger Control
Intuitive eating is something people have been doing for years, but it only recently got a trendy label.
This simple means you use your body and mind as a guide to when and how much you should eat.
In the ideal situation, you get cues of hunger from your body.
You eat when you are hungry, and stop eating when you are full.
The problem is that diet fads and the weight loss industry tries to teach you to restrict food groups, severely undereat, and constantly track everything.
Here are some ways intuitive eating can help with hunger control and help you feel healthier and well-balanced.
You Learn Proper Hunger Cues
You may not realize it, but your constant hunger and big appetite may just be imbalanced hunger cues.
You might be getting cues about what to eat or how much to eat from incorrect sources.
This could be that you are at a restaurant with huge portions, at a buffet with a lot of food options, or you are constantly snacking in front of the TV at home.
This makes it hard to really judge when you are actually hungry, or when your mind and body are just going along with what you are used to.
Intuitive eating is great for stopping these bad habits and teaching you to know when you are actually hungry.
You Can Tell the Difference Between Hunger and Other Feelings
A big part of intuitive eating is teaching you how to understand when you are hungry, and when your body or mind is telling you something else.
Sometimes it is because you are thirsty, other times you are just bored or stressed or looking for a quick fix.
Whatever the case is, you really learn about how to know when you are craving food or something else entirely.
You Ditch the Dieting Mentality
Lastly, one of the biggest issues with the diet industry is that it can make you think food is “bad” or “good”.
This is terrible for your mental and physical health.
What often happens is that people go on these crash diets, get cravings or hunger, binge, and gain weight.
Then they repeat the cycle over and over again. Intuitive eating urges you to stop dieting altogether and instead just focus on your hunger cues.
It does take time, but soon you ditch the dieting mentality altogether and just eat when you’re hungry.
How to Curb Your Cravings
Do you find that you overeat, not just in general, but specific foods?
This is often not from proper hunger cues from your body, but due to cravings.
Many people crave salty or sweet foods, but it can be a craving for just about anything. Here are some tips for curbing those cravings.
Drink More Water
There is a reason you see this recommendation every time you read about controlling your appetite or reducing hunger and cravings.
In many cases, you feel hungry, but you are actually thirsty and possibly dehydrated.
It is easy to get these signals crossed, so when you think you need food, you just need a little H2O.
It is a good rule of thumb that when you are having cravings in between meals, you drink a full glass of water.
Wait at least 20 minutes after completing your water, then if you still have that craving, go ahead and have a snack. If not, you were just thirsty.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Mental and physical health is very closely connected.
Your physical health can affect your mental wellbeing, and your mental health can affect your physical wellbeing.
It is not uncommon to have stress or anxiety, and that lead to emotional eating, constant hunger, or increased cravings.
Part of the reason for this is because the hormone cortisol is released when you have a lot of stress.
This hormone causes you to find a way to relieve the feelings, which many people do with sugar, carbs, and junk food.
This is where the term “stress eating” comes from. By reducing your stress, you can also reduce your cravings.
Get Enough Nutrients in Your Meals
The most important thing about having healthy meals isn’t trying to eat as little as possible or restricting food groups, but aiming for balance.
Have an even balance between lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and produce in the form of vegetables or fruits.
This might mean having a dinner with salmon, brown rice, and broccoli, or a lunch with a sandwich on whole grain bread and an apple on the side.
You can get as simple or as complex as you want, as long as you are getting all the nutrients you need without starving yourself.
Make Sure You Are Eating Enough
You also need to be sure you are not restricting yourself in other ways.
Don’t wait too long to eat between meals, or try to go on a crash diet.
Malnutrition and undereating can quickly lead to food cravings and binges, which might cause you to gain more weight than what you lose.
Foods That Keep You Fuller Longer
When you are trying to lose weight or just maintain your current weight, the issue of hunger and appetite often comes up.
If you feel like you are never truly full and always have hunger pangs, then it is a good idea to look at the types of foods you are eating.
Some foods can actually help you feel fuller longer, so that you are eating healthy meals with a lot less snacking.
The first food you can start consuming more often to help curb your cravings and stay full longer is chia seeds.
These little seeds will absorb water and detoxify your body, plus they are virtually tasteless and easy to add to any food or drink.
You can add chia seeds to a green juice or smoothie, which also helps you get in all those healthy leafy greens and other fresh product.
But don’t forget you can also make chia seed pudding or just sprinkle them on your favorite salad.
Next up are your eggs.
Eggs are delicious and the healthy type of fat.
For years, people were told not to eat too many eggs due to cholesterol, but doctors now recommend them regularly as a healthy protein source. Do your own research here though.
They can also help to keep you full in between meals. The fat content and high protein content of eggs combines to fill you up and satiate you for a longer period of time.
Try making a breakfast with an egg scramble made with your favorite veggies, or have bacon and eggs on the weekend.
You can also make egg muffins that you bake and save for later.
If you enjoy eating fruit, don’t forget about the pears!
These delicious, juicy fruits not only provide lots of important vitamins and minerals, but they also help to fill you up.
This is thanks to a carbohydrate in pears called pectin, which is great for your digestive system.
Sometimes, your immune or digestive system is to blame when you are constantly hungry, and you need some pectin to help balance out your digestion and lower cholesterol.
It is a good snack to have in between meals when you are in need of a little sustenance.
If you are not on a low-carb diet, consider adding legumes to your meals.
Legumes include peanuts, beans, chickpeas, and lentils. You can have these on your salads, in a homemade soup, or even in chili.
Lentils are complex carbs and provide some healthy fats, while also adding plant-based protein.
If you are a vegetarian or just don’t eat a lot of meat, this is your next best thing for getting enough protein and nutrients in your diet.
Will Protein Help with Your Appetite?
Among the different recommendations for avoiding overeating and feeling full for longer, you will hear about increasing your protein quite a bit.
Like fiber, protein has many unique qualities that can help fill you up faster and keep you fuller for a longer period of time.
It is not a magical appetite suppressant, but it can definitely help.
Protein Can Fill You Up
Protein is often recommended to people who are trying to lose weight, with more protein encouraged in people with heavy exercise regimens and body builders.
Because it helps to regulate your hunger hormones.
More protein in your diet can help to reduce those hunger pangs to have a more balanced diet.
It tends to fill you up faster with less food, and keep you fuller longer, similar to fiber.
While studies are still being done to determine why that is, protein is good for you and an essential nutrient, so it doesn’t hurt to add more protein to your diet.
It Affects Weight-Regulating Hormones
One suggestion about why protein helps is because it has shown to have positive effects on your weight-regulating hormones.
This is due to the hypothalamus part of your brain where you have a response to hunger and eating.
So much of what your body experiences is mental and starts right there in your brain.
While you might notice positive changes when adding more protein to your diet, that doesn’t mean you need to do an extreme diet like Atkins or the Carnivore diet. Actually avoid all extreme diets- period.
These are extremely high-protein diets, but many people struggle because they discourage fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods you need for proper balance.
Healthy Protein Sources
Not all protein sources are healthy and good for you, so it is important you understand the difference between lean protein and fatty protein.
For healthy sources of protein, go for low-fat dairy, poultry and chicken, lean beef and pork cuts, and eggs.
Try to stay away from eating an abundance of full-fat milk and cheese, fatty red meat, and baked goods that might have some protein in them.
You don’t need to cut out any foods, but if you are increasing your protein, increase the right type of protein.
This is going to benefit you the most and will help to control your appetite without packing on the pounds if your goal is to maintain your weight or lose weight.
The Role Fiber Plays in Your Hunger Scale
There are quite a few foods that can help you lose weight, whether they burn more fat or help you feel fuller longer.
Many of the foods recommended for reducing your hunger and appetite to a reasonable amount contain fiber.
This is because fiber has some unique benefits for your hunger scale. Here are some things to learn about fiber and appetite.
Fiber Fills You Up Quickly
Have you noticed that when you eat a big salad with lots of fiber-rich vegetables, you get full a lot faster than if you are eating a heavier meal?
This is because of the fiber in those vegetables. Fiber not only helps you feel full quicker, even on foods that are healthier and tend to be lower in fat than other foods, but they take longer to digest.
This allows you to feel fuller for a longer period of time, reducing extra snacking and hunger in between meals.
Of course you don’t want to eat only fiber-rich foods, especially if you have trouble digesting it.
You want to find the right balance and make sure to also have other nutrients, including protein, vitamins and minerals, and healthy carbohydrates.
It Can Improve Your Digestion
Some people have issues with increased hunger and appetite not because they don’t eat enough, but because of issues with their digestive system.
If your body is not digesting foods properly due to lack of fiber or other nutrients, you might have confusing hunger feelings in your stomach.
When you eat foods to help with digestion, such as fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains, it might reverse your issues and help you have a more proper hunger scale.
Recommended High-Fiber Foods
Looking to increase fiber in your diet? It is easy to od when you eat healthy foods and have balanced meals.
Not only are vegetables a great source of fiber, but so are nuts, fruits, and whole grains.
You can also get fiber in your beans and lentils, which are great sources of plant-based protein as well.
It is very easy to add more fiber-rich foods to your typical diet.
Make a big salad with a healthy protein like tuna or chicken. Add some brown rice to your dinner instead of white rice, or swap out your high-sugar snack for an apple with almond butter.
These simple changes will encourage more fiber and reduce those unhealthy foods that don’t contain many nutrients.
Appetite Control: The Benefits of Exercise
If you are struggling keeping your appetite and hunger under control, it might not just be about what you are eating or when, but your physical activity.
Many people believe that the only place exercise has with appetite is helping you to be hungrier and requiring more food in your diet, but others have actually found the opposite to be true.
They find that – whether mentally or physically – they get a benefit of exercise by not wanting or needing to eat quite as much.
Reducing Food Intake
Studies have shown that exercise helps both with people who have a big or small appetite.
In people who tend to not eat enough, burning those extra calories can help to trigger your appetite in positive ways.
However, studies have also shown that exercise helps to provide a better nutrient balance.
If you have a tendency to overeat, exercising more can actually reduce your food intake overall, whether because it makes you want to be healthier, you don’t eat while bored, or because you no longer stress eat since exercise releases endorphins.
Encouraging a Healthy Outlook
Another big reason exercise is useful when you are trying to curb your cravings or reduce your appetite in general is by giving you a different healthy outlook.
If you sit at home all day or in your office thinking about food, your appetite is going to change.
But when you get out there and go for a walk or hike, head to the gym, or do yoga, suddenly you want to treat your body good.
You have more respect for your body and exercising makes you want to eat healthier.
This is especially true after a workout, so it is recommended that you try to fit in workouts in the morning whenever possible. It sets you up for a healthy day.
Improve Your Overall Wellbeing
Your mental health and wellbeing can also be improved by exercise, which continues to help when you need to control your appetite and hunger cues.
If you are someone that tends to feel hungrier or have more cravings when you have stress or anxiety, you are likely emotionally eating.
Stress can make you feel like you are hungrier, when in fact it is just your stress hormones rising that make you want instant gratification.
This in turn can continue to increase your appetite since you start to associate stress with more food.