All of us like to eat, but some of us overeat. Overeating doesn’t only happen at buffets or free meals, but can also be the result of random hunger pangs that hit us even when we are just resting or watching a movie at home. Here are 10 simple ways that you can curb hunger to prevent overeating and help manage your weight:
1. Add more protein into your meals
Protein is highly satiating and reduces our appetite. It helps us to eat less throughout the day, which can help in weight management. You may read widely that eating a hard-boiled egg in the morning can help one to lose or maintain their weight, and the protein in the egg (along with other micronutrients) is exactly the reason why.
2. Eat your food instead of drinking it
Picking solid foods can help to increase your satiety and prevent overeating. This is because chewing one’s food helps to give time for the brain to register a sense of fullness, making us more aware of our appetites and the limit of our tummies.
3. Drink water
Sometimes, a hunger pang does not really mean you are hungry – it could just mean your body is lacking water. By drinking water (or any liquids for that matter), your stomach is stretched sufficiently to induce a signal of fullness. There is research data that shows subjects who consume soup before a meal, tend to eat less.
4. Eat dark chocolate
Consuming chocolate induces chemical and physiological effects that help to curb our hunger. For one, the bitterness may help to reduce a hankering for sweets and also lower appetite. In fact, smelling chocolate may also help to reduce hunger. The stearic acid in dark chocolate may slow down digestion and help retain food in the gastrointestinal tract for a longer time, thus prolonging the feeling of fullness.
5. Use smaller plates
When you place the same amount of food on a small plate and a big plate, which plate looks like it has more food? The answer would be the small plate. The psychological effect of using a smaller plate for our food fools our brain into thinking that we are consuming more than we actually are.
6. Reduce stress
It is common to hear the phrase “stress eating”. After all, many cases of obesity have been attributed to this bad habit. Reducing stress helps to maintain the levels of some hunger-inducing hormones such as cortisol and peptide YY (PYY), thus keeping our appetites in check.
7. Use bigger forks
Using a bigger fork during mealtimes tricks our brain into thinking that we are actually picking up and eating more food, making us feel full faster. However, this psychological effect only seems to be reserved for forks and does not apply for other utensils such as a spoon, so don’t be misled!
8. Sleep more
Having more restful sleep will decrease hunger-inducing hormones and increase fullness-achieving hormones. This helps the individual to eat less and prevent unwanted weight gain. Furthermore, various studies have also found that individuals who have less than six hours of sleep nightly have a high risk of obesity.
9. Spice up your food
Spicy flavours and scents help to reduce hunger by sending a signal of satiety to the brain. Adding spices such as ginger, turmeric and cayenne can help to keep your hunger at bay. Additionally, these spicy ingredients may also help to boost your metabolism and burn more calories after eating.
10. Eat slowly and mindfully
Eating slowly helps one to observe the food they are eating and be more aware of what they are putting into the bodies. In a 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, it was found that eating slowly helps one to be more sated, thereby curbing hunger.
Food and nutrition are key aspects to take note of when it comes to maintaining or improving our health. Joy can be found in eating, but eating inappropriately and eating more than required can cause a literal shift in balance of our bodies. Help your body to be more aware of food and you can prevent overeating at the same time!