Losing weight can be an intimidating and daunting task. Not to mention, losing weight costs, both time and money, that many people find themselves in short supply of these days. Worst of all is the discouragement, some might feel if they are not hitting their weight loss goals.
But dieticians and experts suggest there may be an easier way to lose weight, without all the negative emotions that may come with the process. In fact, experts believe this diet is perhaps one of the best and most successful ways to lose weight and stay in shape. Considered a “dieter’s dream diet,” there’s no fancy name for it, but it is a diet we’ve all grown up with.
Simply put, the “dieter’s dream diet,” is eating the right foods and listening to your body. That’s it! No gimmicks, no money down, and certainly no expensive gym memberships or personal trainers. Experts believe that many people are overweight or obese simply because they aren’t eating the right nutritional food and failing to listen to “body signals.”
If you’re looking for a diet for your appetite, whether to lose or gain weight, read further to see how you can transform your life for the healthier.
Know the Difference Between Appetite and Hunger
Scientists and nutritionists believe that somewhere along the evolutionary line, humans have stopped listening to our hunger instincts and instead have become ruled by our appetites. While that distinction might not seem clear, it’s a very real distinction that few understand.
For starters, “appetite” is not the same as “hunger,” though we may use the two terms interchangeably there is a difference. Appetite is the desire to eat food, sometimes this desire arouses out of hunger, but there are other instances when this is not the case. Foods that are appealing often stimulate hunger, like smelling a roasted chicken in the supermarket and suddenly having a feeling of hunger.
Appetite is a biological process all on its own. In fact, it’s a cooperation between various organs in the body that creates the appetite. The digestive tract, brain and adipose tissue all play a role in forming a person’s appetite. At its basic level, an appetite exists in order to regulate and maintain energy intake and metabolic needs.
Experts suggest starting a food journal in order to track when you’re hungry and when your appetite is simply overreacting to stimuli. Keeping a food journal for 2 or more weeks can help you figure out which instinct, you follow more; your appetite or your hunger. It’s suggested that the food journal keeps track of everything you eat, the activities you participated in before you ate, and the way you felt prior to eating.
Using a scale of one-10 with one meaning extremely hungry and 10 being overly full, rate each day in your journal both before and after you eat. After a while, you should be able to see a pattern of your eating behaviors. These patterns might be large, they might be small, so pay close attention, especially to your feelings before you ate. This will help you determine whether or not you were eating because of hunger or something else.
Often emotions and other stressful situations can trigger our appetite. Outside forces can either increase your appetite or suppress it. When you feel hungry, but you’ve already eaten, check to see if maybe that urge isn’t being caused by some psychological reason such as stress, boredom or sadness.
Studies have shown that those who eat when their hunger level is at three or four instead of one or two, reduce the risk of overeating. Additionally, when sitting down to scheduled meals, think about your true hunger level before eating. Thinking about this will keep you from overeating as you only eat what will make you feel “full.” Typically round five or six on the scale. This takes a conscious effort, and you must be in tune with your body’s needs and wants.
Another important thing to keep in mind, eat slowly. Eating slower can help you identify when you’ve stopped being hungry and started being full. It takes time for the stomach to communicate to the brain that you are no longer hungry, so give it time for these two organs to connect and transmit that message.
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
We know, this one gets stated all the time. It’s common enough knowledge, so why keep bringing it up? It’s simple, some people fail to properly understand what a healthy and balanced diet looks like. Sure a cheeseburger will have protein, grains, dairy, and calories, but will it provide the carbohydrates the body needs. More importantly, introducing the “good fats,” that help the human body progress. The answer is likely no, which is why making sure every meal is balanced is so important.
A healthy balanced meal contains all of the following:
– Healthy carbohydrates help you feel fuller for longer and provide much-needed energy to the body. You can get your healthy dose of carbohydrates from foods such as grains, vegetables, and fruits.
– Most protein will do, but many experts believe you should focus on lean proteins such as fish or eggs. However, you can derive protein from a variety of sources such as milk, yogurt, tofu, cheese, meat, dry beans, and nuts.
– There are three types of fats that can be considered “healthy” for you. The first of which omega-3 fatty acids are derived from fish, flax seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed oil. Second, monounsaturated fats are found in olives, peanut oils, avocados, and canola. Last but not least are polyunsaturated fats. These fats are found in corn, sunflower, sesame, and soybeans.
A healthy diet rich in all these nutrients provides the body with everything it needs to run at optimal functionality. Remember, while these foods are healthy and balanced, eat slowly, this is the best way to prevent yourself from overeating, even if the food is good for you. You should never feel too full, being too full is not only uncomfortable, but it makes the bodywork harder to dispose of excess nutrients it doesn’t need.
Foods that Curb Hunger
In addition to a healthy and balanced diet, and eating when you’re hungry, learn what foods actually help curb your hunger. These foods are natural appetite suppressants, and they function in a number of ways. Some foods help you feel fuller longer, while others help facilitate the digestive processes so that you don’t feel hungry.
Eating high-volume foods is perhaps one of the most beneficial ways to curb hunger cravings. High-volume foods are foods that are high in water and fiber yet low in calories. So foods such as fruits and vegetables are considered high-volume food. Studies have shown that when people eat plenty of these foods they eat less during the day and at meals.
One strategy takes a page out of the classic Italian dinner handbook. Eat a salad or a bowl of broth-based soup before your meal, this will reduce how much you eat during the meal. Additionally, the broth will help cause your stomach to stretch and then empty more slowly, allowing your brain time to realize when your hunger has been satiated.
High-volume foods allow you to eat as much as possible without the extra unhealthy calories. An extra bonus, this diet doesn’t leave you with the feeling of starvation. Dieters can stick to this simple plan, shed pounds, and not once feel as though their diet was too restrictive, or challenging.
Foods that are rich in fiber can also aid in the digestive process and stop hunger cravings. Fiber helps slow the emptying rate of the stomach through fermentation. When there is fiber in the bowel it goes through the fermentation process and produces short-chain fatty acids that promote feelings of fullness.
Additionally, high-fiber diets boast few, if any, negative side effects. This is possible because fiber-rich foods often contain other valuable nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Not only does a high-fiber diet help you lose weight it can greatly improve your overall long-term health.
Lean protein is another good staple to keep in your daily meal plan. Fish, poultry, eggs, and soybeans are all excellent examples of lean protein that helps you feel fuller. Nutritionist state that you are more likely to feel full after eating protein than any other food group. Hence the popularity of higher-protein diets, the extra proteins keep you feeling full.
A recent study from Purdue showed that women who ingested 30 percent of their food intake from lean protein felt more satisfied and maintained muscle mass better than those who didn’t.
Experts suggest adding soups, stews and cooked whole grains to your diet to help curb hunger. Another suggestion is incorporating many of these foods into the meals you have now, for example, adding fruit to your salads or desserts. Instead of sugary cereal, pick whole-grain cereals, whole grain slices of bread and whole grain pasta. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try using a blender to whip air into fruit drinks and smoothies to reduce their caloric density.
Honey has also been proven to be an appetite suppressant that can aid in weight loss. Switching from sugar to honey can help you shed pounds and has the benefit of tasting better. Honey also has fewer calories than sugar, with the added bonus of not being processed the way refined sugar is. This means that not only is honey good for you, but it’s also one of the few products on the planet that aren’t extensively processed. Not to mention honey is an amazing product for all sorts of ailments and conditions.
Last but not least, stick with solid food. Some people think adding more water to their diet and reducing their solid food intake will instantly help shed the extra pounds. This is simply not true. Solid food contains more calories and therefore leaves you feeling fuller. In fact, one study showed that people who ate a solid snack were 38 percent less likely to overeat at the next meal.
To recap, while dieting and losing weight is challenging it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be a great adventure as you learn to navigate your way around healthy meal alternatives. But the most important things to keep in mind, are the simplest. By reading your body messages and maintaining a food journal, you can learn what are your best and worst eating habits and ways to correct them. The difference between appetite and hunger is slight, but it is still a difference that determines the way you eat and your weight loss goals.
Learning when to eat and when to stop will help you tremendously on your weight loss journey. For many, this is only half the battle, but an important half. Appetite can occur psychologically, our appetites are enticed when we see appealing food. Hunger is a different physical response that lets us know when our body actually needs something. Slight distinction, but a distinction you should be able to recognize nonetheless.
Additionally, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is extremely important. A healthy diet fuels the body while also maintaining its long-term health. A diet rich in carbohydrates, lean proteins, fiber, and water is the cleanest and surest way to lose weight without feeling like you’re starving yourself. Keep in mind if you do have hunger cravings, that snacking on solid or high-volume foods will help abate any cravings and reduce the chance of your overeating at your next meal.
Weight loss is a challenge, but it’s a welcome one, eating healthy is one of the best things you can do, not only for yourself but your family and loved ones as well. Remember the best life you can live is the one where you are happiest. With you, weight loss will contribute to that, but a healthy body protects a healthy mind and by extension a healthy and happy soul.