A couple of months ago we discussed some basics to getting that diet on the right track. What I’d like to do here is provide four quick tips to controlling that savage beast of an appetite. Whether you’re trying to drop some pounds or simply looking to elevate your wellness, these tips can be universally utilized.
TIP # 1: DRINK MORE WATER
Maintaining proper hydration is a must for optimal health and something we all can easily do. Proper hydration is essential to all cellular function within our bodies. If that sounds like a broad, all-encompassing statement, it’s because it is. Water is that important.
When it comes to our diet, what you’ll most likely find is that if you constantly guzzle more agua, you’ll be hungry less. One of the reasons for this is because the water consumed fills the stomach. There are receptors in your stomach that sense the fullness and trigger the release of hormones that tell your brain you’re full.
The relationship between hunger and thirst can sometimes be confusing to our bodies as we often misinterpret thirst for hunger. Curbing that appetite can sometimes be as simple as drinking more water and satisfying what we thought to be hunger. This is a valuable piece of knowledge for those who feel they are constantly hungry or are having trouble sticking to that diet.
(This increase in water consumption should come throughout the day and in between meals. However, while actually eating, water consumption should be kept to a minimum. This is because in order for you to properly breakdown and reap the benefits of that nutritious meal you’re consuming, your stomach acid must be kept at an optimal level. Excess water consumed concurrent to eating has the potential to dilute the stomach acid and thus impede maximum digestion.)
TIP # 2: CONSUME MACRONUTRIENTS STRATEGICALLY
Consume what?!?! Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In order to intelligently limit overeating, knowledge of how each one of these affects us is crucial.
While each of these macronutrients differs in chemical structure, they also differ in their effects on satiation (the feeling of fullness). Protein causes the greatest release of satiety hormones like leptin which tell the brain the tank is full. Carbs are the least potent in this respect, which helps to explain why we can eat all that pizza, dessert or bread at Carrabba’s before feeling full.
The message here is not to simply consume protein. We need all the macronutrients including the wrongfully, dreaded fat. What we are saying here is that if you’d like to exert more control over your impulsive consumption (and blood sugar), eat intelligently. Protein first to trigger those satiety hormones and a quicker feeling of satisfaction and fullness. Then follow it up with some healthy fats and carbohydrates (ideally from veggies and some fruit).
TIP # 3: SLOW DOWN
Turns out your mother was right (once again) when she told you that you were eating too fast. By slowing down while eating, you open the door for those satiation hormones we just spoke of to function properly. This allows the feeling of fullness to register before OPPS; we just ate too much and need to lie down.
Taking the time to chew your food properly will also prove beneficial in that you successfully complete the first stage of proper digestion. This will prime the food and allow you to better utilize the all vital nutrients you should be consuming the food for in the first place.
(In our on the go society, many people resort to the convenience of a liquid meal in the form of a smoothie, shake or juice. We must err on the side of caution with this method for a couple of reasons.)
Number one: make sure you know what you’re consuming. Don’t just assume it’s healthy. Whether you are making it yourself or purchasing it, take the time to investigate the ingredients. Otherwise you remain willfully ignorant and may not be doing something positive at all. Remember, ignoring things doesn’t make them any less true.
Number two: while a liquid meal has the potential to deliver extremely concentrated and thus high amounts of beneficial components, being a liquid it also by-passes many of the steps in the digestive process. One of the attributes of the digestive process is that by utilizing steps, food is processed slower and thus minimizes the spike in blood sugar and allows proper release of signaling hormones to occur. This is why in most cases whole foods always trump a shake or juice.)
TIP # 4: PLAN AHEAD
We illuminated the importance of this in a previous post, but it simply cannot be overstated. The old saying “failing to plan is planning to fail,” has never been more true.
I know life is hectic and we all are constantly on the go. Well, on the go without a scripted game plan is a dangerous place to be if you’re trying to eat right. If you are truly serious about this, buy and prep in advance BEFORE the ruthless and non-discriminatory hunger grabs a hold of you. Get creative and break the mold of how and when you’ve been programmed to traditionally consume meals. You’ll find it easier on your wallet and waste line.
More water. Protein first. Slow down. Stop making excuses, make your health your priority and plan ahead. Four seemingly simple things to get you moving in the right direction toward eating less, more intelligently.