While dieting for losing weight will never be as generally satisfying as eating, there are some strategies you can use to make it as enjoyable as you can. So, these are the top 12 strategies of how to make dieting easier and control your appetite.
1. Increase your fiber intake
Fiber is an indigestible part of food that absorbs water as it moves through your digestive tract. Research has also shown that it increases satiety.
Keep your fiber intake high by eating plenty of fibrous veggies and fruits and include one or other in every meal. You can even take supplementary fiber like psyllium seed husks, which quickly expand in your stomach and induce a feeling of fullness.
In case you are wondering how much fiber to eat, the doctors recommend for children and adults to consume 15 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories they eat daily. Fiber has lots of benefits associated with it, but studies have shown that higher fiber food helps to lower the ghrelin levels, while also inhibiting NPY levels. By consistently eating higher fiber foods, you have a way of how to control these powerful hunger-inducing hormones.
2. Add vinegar and cinnamon to your diet
Forget the sugar; there are many flavors and spices that will make your food both healthier and tastier. Add the vinegar to you food to make you feel fuller for a longer time.
The reason is its acetic acid that slows the passage of food from the stomach into your small intestine, so the stomach stays full longer time. Vinegar has been shown to successfully lower the glycemic index (meaning that your body metabolizes the foods more slowly).
It also adds acidic flavor to roasted vegetables, salad dressings and sauces, without a lot of calories. And for sweet-smelling warmth, mix cinnamon to everything from chill and coffee to smoothies. Like vinegar, cinnamon can slow the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestines. Cinnamon will also keep you full longer time, and help in preventing the post-meal slump.
3. Drink water, not liquid calories
It is smart idea to drink something with almost no calories when you feel hungry. Make sure that you drink a glass about 20 minutes before eating to take the edge of your appetite.
The best choice is tea, coffee or sparkling water, as they say, the carbonation makes will make you fuller, at least for a short period of time. In addition to brain fog and tiredness, dehydration may cause a sensation that is easily mistaken for hunger.
On the other hand, liquid calories like juices and sodas don’t fill you up, and their quick digestion causes insulin spikes. So avoid sweetened drinks, and stick with sparkling or still water. You can flavor it with lemon, strawberries or cucumbers if you want, just don’t pack your drinks with many calories.
4. Slow down
Your sensation of fullness and hunger and are not about your stomach than you may think; in fact, these feelings are a function of your brain’s lateral hypothalamus.
After your blood sugar starts dropping, your blood sends a message to your hypothalamus that you need food and you feel the hunger sensation. When your glucose levels increase, your blood sends another signal to your hypothalamus, and this time you get the feeling of being full.
On your stomach are “stretch receptors” that send a message to your brain when your stomach’s filling up. If you eat too fast, the theory goes; you’re not giving your body enough time to recognize that you’re full, so you overeat before you feel full. So for starters, slow down your eating.
5. Have a small, flavorless snack between meals
Another smart and healthy way to reduce your appetite is to eat small snacks between meals.
For example, if you eat 3 meals daily; morning, lunch and dinner, you can then add 2 more small snacks, one between morning and lunch and the other between lunch and dinner. For many people, the healthy snacks instantly help to control their appetite.
It is good to eat some protein, fiber, and fat in each meal, even snacks as this helps to reduce appetite and to maintain the balance of your blood sugar. When we talk about snacks, we are not talking about regular meals. The calories you can consume with these snacks should be between 100 – 200 calories (for a 2000 calorie diet), just enough to decrease your appetite.
6. Eat when you’re not hungry
Eating when you’re not hungry is one of the main reasons some of you gain weight. You might do it simply because the food is near you.
Or you may catch yourself munching on the odd chocolate bar or sandwich because you are bored, angry, sad or tired. So, when you start to feel really hungry, you overeat.
When you overeat, you may feel full, but then your insulin levels rise, causing you to feel tired, then hungry again, so you overeat again and again. Don’t try to resist hunger, but instead beat it to the punch. If you eat when you are either not hungry or only slightly hungry, you will eat less food and tend to eat more slowly. Eating less amount of food throughout the day is great, but having more energy is certainly a bonus, too!
7. Eat a lean protein with every meal
Proteins are the key to killing hunger pangs. They also help to suppress your hunger. Fish and poultry are a great source of protein. Lean protein foods suppress appetite better than any other macronutrient.
A few studies found that swapping out a few carbohydrates and putting lean protein in its place (increasing from 15 % protein to 30 % protein) improved losing pounds by increasing sensitivity of leptin and reducing hunger.
Also, casein protein, which can be bought as protein powder supplement, is a slow-released protein which makes you feel fuller for a longer time. Thick protein shakes that have some degree of ‘chew’ factor are more filling and make ideal meal substitutes when you are a busy person who struggles with hunger.
8. Keep alcohol to a minimum
There are many of reasons to avoid alcohol or consume it only in moderation, if you choose to drink. Many studies have found that alcohol can distort your body’s perception of hunger, satiety and fullness.
If drinking alcohol stimulates additional eating or adds more calories that aren’t compensated leads to getting pounds. You can also get the belly fat, not to mention what it does to your hormones. Men should be more careful than women.
The idea that alcohol almost instantly turns into fat or gives you a beer belly is wrong. It is true that alcohol can suppress fat oxidation, but mainly, alcohol adds calories into your diet and can stimulate appetite, leading to even more foods consumed. That’s where the fat gain comes from.
9. Get some sleep
Lack of sleep is very common. While it is understood that adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep, most of us only sleep for 6 or less hours. Insomnia and other sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome affect our sleeping time.
Sleep plays the most important role in controlling your hunger hormones in both the long and a short term. Studies have shown many times that those who sleep the most weigh the least, in a difference to those who sleep the least, weigh the most.
By getting onto a regular sleep schedule where you are in bed for at least 8 hours, you increase your chances of rising leptin levels, decreasing ghrelin levels, and control your hunger hormones overall. Sleep is really a huge powerful tool while trying to lose fat. Use it to your advantage.
10. Reduce your conditioned response to stress
Stress makes you experience hunger, but not just any hunger. When your body is stressed from elevated cortisol, it wants quick energy and it knows that sweet, fatty foods or sugary snacks will provide it fastest.
The way we deal with that stress has a large impact on whether or not we gain weight when confronted with it. If your reaction is to eat the food, then you will definitely increase your odds of gaining weight. Normally, stress creates a desire for sweet foods.
When confronted with stress, you learn to take on other ways of how to reduce your overall stress levels, like going for a small walk or doing some deep breathing, you allow yourself to get another small advance over your hunger hormones. Over the long-term, those small steps can have a much larger influence on you keeping your weight off.
11. Control appetite with caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that we can find in coffee, tea, chocolate and supplements. It is most common used to boost our energy and metabolism, but it also has an effect on hunger.
Less than 300 mg is usually recognized as safe. Figuring as one cup coffee can contain between 80 and 200 mg, it is important to take note of the total amount of caffeine you are consuming daily.
Heavy daily caffeine use (more than 500 to 600 mg a daily), may cause side effects like muscle tremors, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, nervousness, stomach upset and fast heartbeat. In addition, many studies found that even decaffeinated coffee can contribute to modest weight loss, suggesting that substances or factors besides caffeine may play a role in losing pounds.
12. Avoid sugar and sweeteners
Sugar may increase our appetite and hunger, which could lead to overeating, according to study from the University of California.
When we consume sugar or foods high in sugar, such as corn flakes, white bread, sweets or cookies, our blood-sugar levels rise quickly and then drop almost instantly. This imbalance makes us hungry again after only a few hours.
Your best bet is to go for low-GI carbs, like apple, pear, sweet potato, low-GI brown bread or oatmeal, and to always eat carbohydrates with a healthy fat ( like nuts, peanut butter or avocado), a lean protein ( eggs) or a low-fat or fat-free dairy food ( like a cup of milk or yogurt). This will keep your blood-sugar levels balanced, keeping your hunger pangs under control.