One of the toughest parts of dieting is the hunger pangs. If you start a diet and immediately cut out the less healthy food-- sweets, for example-- then your body starts to fight back.
Feeling hungry all the time isn't sustainable. It' can impact your mood and your ability to focus. Luckily, there are ways to lose weight without feeling hungry all the time. Here's how.
Focus on Adding
One of the reasons so many people fail at dieting is the restrictive mentality. The focus remains solely on what's getting taken away, rather than what's being added. While going cold turkey on treats and using a reboot system like the South Beach Diet has its benefits, shifting your mindset to one of abundance will help curb hunger in the first few days.
Rather than focusing on what you're taking away, focus on adding first. Add half a plate of vegetables to your dinner. Add a serving of egg whites to your breakfast. By focusing on what you're adding, you re-wire your brain to stop fixating on what's being taken away. Additionally, by adding more nutritional foods, you naturally start to feel more full and replace the non-nutritional foods.
Drink More Water
Never underestimate the power of water as a part of your diet. There are a few ways that drinking more water will help you curb your hunger and lose weight. First and foremost, people often confuse thirst signals with hunger signals. Having a drink of water before heading to the cupboard will give you time to see what your body actually needs.
Second, water takes up space. Having a glass of water before every meal will kickstart your digestion and help you feel full before you can overeat.
Finally, water makes your digestive tract more efficient. The next time you think you need a snack, have a glass of water, wait five minutes, and see how you feel.
Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a simple-yet-effective process that helps you slow down your eating and get back in touch with your hunger cues. We live in a world that's run by marketers. Seeing food on television, smelling the food as you pass by a restaurant-- those things all confuse your hunger signals.
Mindful eating forces you to slow down and listen to your body. A few ways to practice mindful eating include:
Removing distractions, such as your phone or a television show, while eating.
- Using chopsticks or your opposite hand to slow you down.
- Considering each bite of food, and using your senses to think about how it tastes, how it feels, etc.
- Setting down your utensils and taking a sip of water between each bite.
Mindful eating helps your body realize when it's receiving enough food and creates a connection to the nutrition you're providing your body, curbing hunger, and helping you feel satisfied.
Increase Your Lean Protein and Healthy Fat Intake
Carbs are a great source of quick energy. They take up a lot of room in your stomach, but they're easily processed and can leave you feeling hungry again before it's time to eat. Protein and fat, on the other hand, take a while to process and can help you feel fuller for longer.
While smart carbs-- like quinoa and squash-- play an important role in energy levels for exercise, protein and fats can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Look for sources of lean protein, such as poultry, eggs, and Greek yogurt. When eating carbs, choose something like lentils, quinoa, and steel-cut oats for added protein and fiber.
Healthy fats include avocados, nuts, nut butter, and seeds. Be mindful of serving sizes with healthy fats, as they are higher in calories than carbs and proteins.
Understand Your Triggers
Your body is wired to build habits based on triggers. Take people who are quitting smoking, for example. These people are often advised to stop drinking coffee and alcohol while they're in the process of quitting. This is because those things are triggers for their habit.
The same thing can happen to your body with false sensations of hunger. If you often watch a show in the evening with a snack, your body will automatically trigger a hunger signal when you sit down to watch a show, even if you've gotten plenty of food and nutrients throughout the day.
Identify your triggers and work around them. Rather than watching a show, go for a quick walk at that time for a few weeks to break the cycle. Alternatively, find another habit to complete the cycle and replace the snacking.
Dieting doesn't have to be a nightmare. Try these effective tips for curbing hunger, and you'll accomplish your goals.