Appetite is both a psychological and physical phenomenon. Sometimes we eat when we are bored, stressed, or just because it is "time" to eat, even though we are not really hungry. There are many weight loss programs and diet pills marketed as appetite suppressants, but it is possible to decrease your appetite naturally through diet and exercise.
Suppressing Your Hunger
Get full with fiber. Fiber is a non-digestible complex carbohydrate that makes you feel full while consuming few calories. Fiber foods like oatmeal are excellent for diets because not only do they help you decrease your appetite they also provide sustained energy by regulating the release of insulin and blood sugar.
It is recommended to eat 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 caloric intake or about 28 grams for a woman and 38 grams for men.
If your goal is fat loss, then include large amounts of vegetables, legumes, and fruits that are high in fiber.
Eat oatmeal for breakfast and you will survive until lunch without snacking. Oatmeal is slow-digesting and will keep you feeling full.
Drink coffee. A couple cups of Joe in the morning may boost your metabolism and suppress your appetite. However, for some people, coffee has the opposite effect. Learn how coffee affects your body and act accordingly.
Coffee beans are packed full of caffeine and antioxidants that are easily absorbed by the body. It is estimated the impact begins within one hour after drinking a cup of coffee.
Eat dark chocolate. Chocolate lovers rejoice. Get the dark chocolate bars that contain at least 70 percent cocoa because it has just enough bitterness to decrease your appetite.
Cocoa contains stearic acid which has proven to slow down digestion and make you feel full for a longer period of time.
Mix your bitter dark chocolate with a cup of coffee to double the impact.
Add more protein and fat. Protein needs energy from calories to digest, which promotes hormones that suppress hunger. Proteins and fat provide the most appetite suppression due to prolonged blood sugar regulation. A diet high in protein and healthy fats creates a blood sugar environment which is stable and controlled. This will also impact future appetite and cravings. Consuming fats in moderation, although lower in its thermic effect, has the ability to make you feel full during dieting.
Replacing carbohydrates with lean protein by 15–30 percent, improved weight loss and reducing hunger.
Casein protein, often found in protein powder supplements, is a slow-release protein that makes you feel fuller and, therefore, reduces appetite.
Diets that are very low in fats have the opposite intended effect; they increase hunger. Fat is not bad for you in moderate doses and has many health benefits. It also makes your food taste better.
Experiment with carbohydrates. Sugars and starches are an important source of energy for running your metabolism. Carbohydrates constructed from starch are full of nutrients and make you feel fuller.
Starches are digested slowly, satisfying your hunger and reducing your appetite.
Fiber can also be found in starch, which helps contribute to satiety.
Hydrate with water. Water takes up space. Since the body is primarily composed of water, it craves water on a routine basis. Whether water is an appetite suppressant or not, it is a vital substance for the body and it contains zero calories.
The eight glasses of water per day is no longer supported by most studies. Instead, take your weight and divide it in half. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should drink 100 ounces of water or 12.5 glasses per day.
Add a drop or two of lemon or lime to your water to give it flavor.
Water is a far better alternative to soda or alcohol, both of which will dehydrate you.
If you ever get hungry between meals and you already had a healthy snack, drink a glass of water to fill you up and quench your hunger.
Regulating Your Hunger
Eat breakfast every day. There is a reason why people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day: your body fasted all night and reduces hunger throughout the day. Reports show that skipping breakfast leads to more snack breaks in the afternoon.
Nighttime eating syndrome (NES), a disorder associated with overnight eating and waking at night to eat, is clinically recognized as an eating disorder. Eating breakfast every day reduces the chance of experiencing this disorder.
Studies also show that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain, hypertension, insulin resistance, and elevated fasting lipid concentrations.
Skipping meals has the same impact as skipping breakfast. Although people believe skipping a meal will help with weight loss, the exact opposite is true. It will lead to more snacking and greater weight gain.
Snack on healthy foods. There's nothing wrong with an afternoon snack, just make sure it is a fruit, vegetable, or lean protein like chicken breast or fish. These healthy snacks will control hunger until dinner and they have added value: vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that is good for your body.
Avoid sugary products and drinks because they will not satisfy your hunger and you will most likely continue snacking throughout the day.
If you want fat, eat healthy fats that will decrease the consumption of sugars and avoid overeating in the late afternoon.
Eat mindfully. Mindful eating techniques are used to prevent overeating. The way it works is to concentrate on every step of eating one piece of food, which makes you conscious of portion size and slows down the race to finish your meal.
The purpose of mindful eating is to not engage in other activities like watching television or playing on the computer while you are eating. These distractions interfere with your ability to realize how much you are eating.
An example would be eating a raisin or other dried fruit that you can hold, feel its texture, see its color, smell, and taste it. As you eat the raisin, follow the same procedure as you swallow it. By eating the raisin, you have experienced the wide-range of senses in a mindful manner, taking note of how meaningful the exercise is.
Try to spend at least twenty minutes per meal to chew and swallow your food so that you chew and digest it completely.
Match nutrition to your physiology. How many meals you eat on a daily basis depends on your fitness goals, lifestyle, and manageability. There are benefits for eating a few meals a day and for up to eight meals per day. The key is to find a nutrition system that optimizes your health.
Eating more frequently, like six to eight meals per day, does not provide significant increase to your metabolism or to fat loss. For example, if you eat three meals a day at 1,000 kcals each and six meals at 500 kcals each, they both equal 3,000 kcals. In short, energy levels remain the same and, therefore, several meals a day does not provide additional benefits to controlling appetite.
Eat more frequently when you trying to add muscle and strength to your body or if you are a diabetic. Eat less frequently when concentrating on fat loss or if you have a busy lifestyle.
The best approach is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.
Physically Controlling Your Hunger
Exercise regularly. The impact of exercise is tricky. Engage in moderate-high intensity exercise and your body will suppress appetite because it will use your stored fat as an energy source while low intensity exercise, like walking, swimming, and jogging, will increase hunger.
Studies have found that the neuronal response to food significantly decreased with moderate to high intensity workouts.
Exercise also reduces the incentive motivation in the brain responsible for the anticipation of food. This effect reduces hunger and keeps you healthy and reduces stress.
Get some sleep. There are numerous studies on sleep and sleep deprivation and its impact on the body. In general, a lack of sleep has a negative impact on the body and increases hunger hormones that makes us crave for snacking throughout the day.
Studies show that bodies lacking sleep are bodies that crave more carbohydrates throughout the day. Scientists believe this is due to the body's natural craving for carbohydrates to increase energy levels.
Sleeping is intimately related to feeding. A lack of sleep for prolonged periods of time increases the intake of food dramatically.
Leptin, a hormone released by fat cells that suppresses appetite, highly depends on the length of sleep. A lack of sleep, therefore, dramatically impacts the influence of hunger.
Perform yoga. Yoga can reduce your appetite. The intimacy of performing yoga makes you more aware of your body and, therefore, more sensitivity to feeling satisfied and less likely to snack on junk food.
Yoga performed at least one hour per week has shown to reduce appetite. Because yoga reduces stress, it suppresses a hormone called cortisol, which is associated with binge eating.
Mindful eating, the-step-by-step thought process to eating, is also a part of yoga. This process helps you to stop eating when you are full.
Control emotional hunger. Eating because you’re bored is a learned habit, but distinguishing between true hunger and emotional hunger is difficult for many people.
Real physical hunger comes about gradually and can be easily satisfied with most foods. You will naturally stop eating when you are full and you will not feel guilty. Conversely, eating because of boredom causes cravings for particular foods, comes about quickly, and causes you to overeat. You will probably feel guilty after you are finished eating.
Write down the foods that you eat throughout the day in a journal. Keep track of your feelings before and after you eat. If you find you are eating unhealthy food frequently between meals or late at night and feel guilty consider doing a different activity during these time periods like taking a walk, reading a book, or playing with your pet.
If you find the urge too strong then concentrate on eating healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, or nuts.