To manage weight, eat less but not feel hungry. Hunger is a death sentence in any weight-loss program.
A twinge is the first sign that you want to eat. Before you know it, you are looking through your fridge. The real question is, are you hungry? Or was it a twinge from boredom, habit, or another emotion? It is essential to understand your eating habits and recognize hunger.
Many factors influence the decision to eat: smells, sights, social settings, etc.
We eat to satisfy our hunger and ease emotions, celebrate victories and satisfy cultural expectations.
For decades, scientists have studied the influences of appetite and hunger. Complex systems make up the body. The body’s systems are complex. Your stomach informs the brain that you are full. However, these signals can take 20 minutes and may not be received in time.
Rating Your Hunger
You want to be satisfied when you eat. You should not let your blood sugar drop to the point where you feel hungry. This can lead to binging. Your goal is to stop eating when you feel satisfied.
You can get into the habit of evaluating your hunger before and after each meal. Here is a numerical scale that you might use:
0: Ravenously hungry and salivating.
1: Hunger, stomach growling
2: You may feel mildly hungry. A light snack could help you get through the day, but it is possible to keep going for a while.
3: Satisfied, don’t need more food
4: You ate more than you were satisfied with.
5: Stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey.
Before you rush to the kitchen, break room, or drive-thru, these are the questions to ask.
- What was the last time you ate? You probably don’t feel hungry if it was more than 2 hours ago.
- A small, healthy snack high in fiber could be enough to get you through until your next meal.
- Can you sip a glass of water for 20 minutes?
Schedule your meals and snacks if you are unable to recognize hunger signs. Your eating plan can be broken down into smaller meals spaced out every three to four hours. You can rate your hunger every time you sit down for a meal and become more aware of how it feels.
We eat so much food that we forget to taste it. Are you suffering from “eating amnesia”, where the hand-to-mouth activity becomes automatic, usually while watching TV or reading a book? It is hard to change bad habits, but it is possible to be more aware of what you put in your mouth.
Slow down and enjoy your food, just like in France. Turn off the TV and sit down. This will create a calm environment that allows you to enjoy your meal without distractions.
Remember that the best bites are the first. Your taste buds will soon be less sensitive to the chemicals that make food taste so good. The quality of the food is more important than the quantity. Pay attention to every bite and enjoy the aromas, flavors and textures.
Relaxing between meals allows your stomach time to tell your brain you are full. Enjoy conversation as you eat while sipping water between bites.
Take Charge of Your Hunger
These are just a few more ways to get in touch and feel real hunger.
- Your eyes may be bigger than your stomach. Barbara Rolls, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University, found that eating more food is more likely than not. According to the theory, the environment’s cues about portion size outweigh the body’s cues about satisfaction.
- Foods bulked with air or water are more satisfying and fuller. You will feel fuller and more satisfied if you increase the volume of your meals. These foods are excellent examples.
- Fiber is a great way to satisfy your hunger pangs and decrease appetite. Eat high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes. A large salad will help you consume fewer calories and reduce your calorie intake. Keep in mind that fresh fruits are richer in fiber and water than those dried.
- Don’t eat at the buffet. Most people eat more when there are many choices. Limit the number of courses and eat high-fiber foods first.
- Ensure lean protein in your meals so they last longer in the stomach. You can stay satiated for hours with a handful of nuts, low-fat dairy, soy proteins, lean meats, and fish.