Y’all… when I tell you that this ole girl gets quite the hefty appetite sometimes, I mean it. Food cravings happen often and are not always the easiest battle to fight. You get an achin’ for some bacon (Lion King anyone…) and next thing you know, you’ve scarfed down a pound of pig. I love to eat, but eating for the sole purpose of satisfying my appetite and cravings was a huge part in the weight gain I experienced. I have worked hard to re-train my body to try to eat what it needs, and not just what it wants. That is not to say I don’t still try to sneak some of my favorite goodies from time to time. So, let’s focus on a few ways we can curb an unnecessary appetite:
1. Drink More Water
Many times, our bodies confuse our feelings of thirst or dehydration for hunger.
If you suddenly start feeling hungry, or have an urge for a certain food, drink a glass of water instead. Give it a few minutes. If you no longer feel “hungry”, then you know that dehydration was the culprit. It may be surprising how often a little water does the trick.
Drinking water before meals can also help reduce your appetite by increasing your sense of fullness, therefore assisting with weight loss.
2. Remove The Temptation
If you’re tempted by that slice of cake sitting on the counter, get away from it. You can “distance” yourself from a craving in several ways. If your body is unnecessarily telling you it’s hungry, occupy yourself. Go for a walk, take a shower, clean the house. Take your mind off of that craving.
Another way to remove the temptation is to simply get rid of the unhealthy foods that you are longing to eat. Chunk them and don’t buy them on your next grocery trip. You can’t eat it if it isn’t there.
3. Plan Meals
Planning your meals ahead of time is a great way to cut out the spontaneous drive to satisfy our appetites. If you already have a prepped lunch planned and ready, you’re less likely to slip out of your office and into a drive-thru.
I tend to like to spend Sundays at home with my family, and spend this time slowly preparing our lunches for the week. I will also admit I have slacked on this some lately and have paid the price. Planning and preparing meals ahead of time is definitely a helpful tool for me!
4. Eat More Protein
Increasing your protein intake can help to reduce your appetite and help prevent overeating. Eating a hearty, high-protein breakfast has the potential to decrease your cravings and snacking desires significantly.
There are many natural sources of protein that you can use for this purpose. Eggs are a personal favorite of mine, and are a staple in my household.
5. Avoid Becoming Excessively Hungry
So, for those of us that are living busy lifestyles, this is difficult. I tend to find myself neglecting my body’s need for nourishment until it’s too late. By that time, I feel like I’m starving. It may not be so bad if my natural instinct wasn’t to compensate by wanting to eat a whole day’s worth of calories during an afternoon break.
The best thing is to avoid becoming excessively hungry. Keeping a healthy snack on hand and eating (appropriately) regularly may prevent those intense cravings from rearing their ugly heads.
6. Effectively Cope With Your Emotions
I am the first one to admit that I am a stress-eater. When I was in my last two semesters of nursing school, I packed on a whopping 30lbs by doing this. Stress can be very influential to our eating behaviors. This is shown to be especially true for women, displaying that they eat significantly more calories than those who are non-stressed.
Finding healthy and appropriate ways to manage and cope with our emotions may help to reduce our appetites dramatically.
7. Practice Eating Mindfully
Being mindful about your eating habits is important. Mindful eating focuses on being able to distinguish between cravings and physical hunger. The want or the need.
Eating mindfully involves a mental presence while you eat, slowing down, chewing thoroughly, and removing/avoiding distractions.
8. Curb With Caffeine
Whether it be with coffee or green tea, the caffeine content will definitely play a part in reducing your appetite. Do be mindful that having too much caffiene can be harmful. Green tea is also full of antioxidants to promote health.
9. An Apple A Day…
Apples are a snack that I like to lean on when I am feeling hungry, but know that I don’t need a full meal. The slight sweetness helps to keep by sugar cravings at bay. They also, when eaten with the peeling on, are great sources of fiber.
I tend to like to pair my apples with a little peanut butter for a tasty treat that I can feel good about.
10. Avocados or Almonds
Avocados are packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fats. This makes them ideal for curbing those cravings. The creamy texture of avocados is caused by the healthy mono-saturated fats they contain. These fats take a little extra time for our bodies to digest, and can cause an appetite suppression.
Almonds are another great source of vitamins and healthy fats, and they make a great snack between meals. Make sure to watch your portions, it can be easy to over indulge. Almonds can cause a sense of fullness, subsequently calming your cravings.
While there are many other methods that can be used to curb our cravings and suppress an appetite, these are a few to give you a kickstart. Be mindful that if you have a cardiac condition, issues with fluid retention, or a diagnosis of diabetes, you should always follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding diets.
What tricks do you use to counter those cravings and keep your appetite in check?