Controlling Appetite

Controlling Appetite

Controlling Appetite
Controlling your appetite and controlling what you eat is not exactly the same thing. You may find that you're eating even when you are not hungry.

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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    Remember that when we get stressed, we increase hunger. That increases cortisol and decreases serotonin, which in turn increases appetite. When we top it off by working out like a maniac, which increases ghrelin (hunger hormone), we compound the problem. And finally, many of us avoid carbs, which increases ghrelin -- and appetite -- once more. What we need to remember is that spiking ghrelin isn't just a one-off occurrence. It's a nasty cycle that builds on itself and gets exponentially higher, raising our appetites to an insatiable level that will eventually drive us to eat everything in sight. You can bet that after such a vicious cycle, most of us won't reach for a cookie. Most of us end up going for a double cheeseburger, a large order of fries, and an extra-large milkshake. And that 3,500-calorie meal easily derails a whole week of what we have been led to believe is perfect weight-loss behavior.
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    A , Marriage & Family Therapy, answered
    A really excellent way to control your eating is to be aware of what you are eating. Too often we eat while watching television or working, sometimes not even looking at what we are eating before putting it in our mouths. Being a busy, involved individual, I have had to work on breaking the habit of eating too quickly, while driving, and other mindless eating habits. Many find when they start keeping a diary of what they are eating that they are actually eating much more than they realized. Even if we know how much we are eating, it is hard to actually enjoy food that way.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    The following are the core principles of controlling hunger:
    • Eat breakfast within an hour of waking. Be sure your breakfast is a blend of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. It's the most important meal and it drives your entire day. It determines how much you're going to eat at 4:00 pm. It will control ghrelin (hunger hormone) and set you up for success. If you exercise in the morning, maybe have a pre-exercise snack, like half a banana or a string cheese. This will increase your metabolism, help with clear thinking, improve alertness and concentration, enhance memory, and improve cognitive abilities.
    • Do not skip meals. Some people say you should eat three meals a day, while others say you should eat five or six. For many people, three square meals don't work anymore. These days, many of us wake up at 5:00 am and stay up until midnight. Plus, we work harder and expend more brainpower, which uses up fuel. You need to eat every three to four hours to control ghrelin, so depending on how many waking hours you have, you may have four meals or you may have six.
    • At every meal or snack, try to combine carbohydrates and proteins. Because your food intake works on weekly averages, rather than daily, the ratios at each particular meal or snack time are less important than the mere fact of consuming protein and carbs together. This way, you get the optimal blend of nutritional elements to fight cravings, control hunger, gain energy, and stimulate fullness. Protein increases your metabolism while carbs lower ghrelin, help with brain function, and decrease cravings. So instead of just reaching for an apple, add a piece of turkey or low-fat cheese.
    • It doesn't matter what time you stop eating. It is a myth that we shouldn't eat after a certain time in the evening. Just give yourself at least ninety minutes before you plan to go to sleep. You need that ninety minutes to digest so you can sleep comfortably.
    • Stay hydrated. You've heard it a million times, but drinking water is essential for keeping energy up, aiding the metabolism, burning fat, and more. It's the fluid your body needs for life, and it's an instrumental part in your weight loss. Other fluids can be useful, but water is obviously the best choice as it is calorie free. Forget about that whole eight cups a day thing. I want you to relax and remember to have a healthy amount of water whenever you think of it. Thirst can confuse your sense of hunger so make sure you stay hydrated.
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    A answered

    You could crush that three p.m. cookie craving just by chewing a little of this -- gum.

    That's right. A study found that chewing gum can really put the kibosh on your afternoon appetite in a big way.

    People who chew either sweetened or sugar-free gum after lunch feel full longer, have fewer hunger pangs, have fewer cravings for sweets and eat fewer afternoon snacks compared with people who don't chew gum.

    How does chomping gum suppress hunger? It's simple. When you eat, your taste buds are stimulated by the food. But the cool thing is that exposure to the tastes and smells of food also lessens how good it tastes. That, in turn, is one of the cues that signal your brain that you're full, so cravings go away. Chewing gum may have this same effect -- but without all the calories!

  • 2 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Your stomach secretes ghrelin, the hormone that signals hunger, in pulses every half-hour, sending subtle chemical impulses to your brain—almost like subliminal biological messages (carrot cake, carrot cake, carrot cake).

    When you're really hungry or dieting, those messages come fast—every 20 minutes or so—and they're also amplified. So you get more signals and stronger signals that your body wants food. After long periods, your body can't ignore those messages.

    That's why sugar cookies usually trump willpower, and that's why deprivation dieting can never work: It's impossible to fight the biology of your body. The chemical vicious cycle stops when you eat; when your stomach fills is when you reduce your ghrelin levels, thus reducing your appetite.

    So if you think your job is to resist biology, you're going to lose that battle time after time. But if you can reprogram your body so that you keep those ghrelin gremlins from making too much noise, then you've got a chance to keep your tank feeling like it's always topped off—and this is a big key to finding your healthy weight.
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    The Chew: Fast food companies know that the faster a food is mush in your mouth, the faster you will eat. Even your crunch-a-licious potato chip is reduced to a ball of soft, swallowable badness in about 6 chews: which means you will eat more, faster. Be conscious of chewing. Savor each bite.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    If you're a big junk-food eater, start by eliminating one junky item. For example, if you like having a Coke, fries, and a cheeseburger for lunch, start by cutting out the fries. (In the beginning, don't sit near someone who's eating them if you can help it!) See how this feels. You might miss fries for the first few days, but then notice how easy it is not to eat them. If a thought about fries arises, ignore it. Don't pay attention. Think about or do something else. Pretty soon you'll notice that you don't even think about them anymore.

    Once you discover how easy this is, try eliminating the next item. When you feel ready, move on to the Coke. And after that, try eliminating the whole category of fried foods.

    You don't have to make these changes overnight. There's no hurry because we're talking about a new way of eating for the rest of your life, a new relationship with food, not just a diet.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    You can eat a lot of food when you're not paying attention. The Child (pleasure-seeking impulses) tricks you into believing that if you're not paying attention, what you're eating doesn't count. So you believe that calories that come from nibbling don't count. But they do.

    For a long time, I had a habit of eating while talking on the phone or cooking. I spend a lot of time on the phone, and because I do most of the cooking in our family, I'm always in the kitchen, I'm always on the phone, and I'm always cooking.

    I was so accustomed to nibbling while I did these things that it took a lot of practice to create a new, non-nibbling habit. To change this pattern, I needed to see the truth -- that on some level I was pretending that I wasn't eating. Because nibbling isn't a meal, I wasn't noticing it as much. I also wasn't losing weight. I'd reduced my calories, but because I didn't include nibbles in my calorie count -- probably because I couldn't keep track of them all -- my excess pounds stayed stubbornly in place.

    The other thing about nibbling was that it robbed me of eating pleasure. Because my attention was divided, I couldn't completely enjoy the food or focus on my phone conversation or my cooking. And that was ultimately unsatisfying.
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    Yes. It will take some time for your body to get used to its new calorie intake. Keep your water intake up, and spread your meals out over the day. This will help curb the hunger.
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    A , Addiction Medicine, answered
    Hunger is the actual need to eat and nourish your body, and cravings are an addiction response you have, that feeling that you “need to feed.” A major clue is that foods with high levels of sugar, such as chocolate, are more frequently craved than foods with lower sugar glucose, such as broccoli because sugar is addictive.

    Eating sugary foods or nutritionally vacant foods made of refined flour (white bread, crackers, donuts, the majority of non-home baked goods) actually floods you with an initial speedy rush that quickly nosedives, leaving you depleted and craving another fix.
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