If you're someone who feels like you are always hungry or hungry too often, I can relate. I was once someone who needed to eat every hour or two in order to avoid low energy, headaches, and feeling "hangry". Sometimes this was due to blood sugar spikes and dips, and sometimes my brain would make me think I was hungry when in reality I was just bored, tired, dehydrated, or under-exercised.
Today, I can easily go hours without eating while maintaining balanced energy and mood due to leveraging my meals and habits.
Follow these 3 tips to feel full longer to help you achieve weight-loss, sustained energy, and better mood:
1. Eat a protein and healthy fat containing breakfast.
You set up your metabolic profile with your first meal of the day and studies have shown that people who eat a substantial breakfast have a greater drop in ghrelin (the hunger hormone) than those who eat a small breakfast. Eating only fruit, a fruit smoothie, or a sugary cereal for breakfast is going to spike blood sugar then cause it to crash, leaving you craving more sugar shortly after. Eating a meal with good quality protein and healthy fats will provide more sustained energy and spare the sugar and caffeine cravings later in the day, which has a positive snowball effect as it in turn creates better sleep at night.
2. Slown down and chew each bite 30 times.
I often see people taking a bite out of a sandwich in their car while driving, or mindlessly eating lunch infront of their computer screen. As a society we have become so busy and move at such a fast pace that we tend to forget to slow down for meal times. The average North American eats 30% more than the average European, and spends half the amount of time sitting down for a meal. Before you begin eating, take 3 deep breaths. Look at your meal and be fully present with it. Start with a smaller portion than normal so you don't feel the need to eat everything infront of you, and evaluate intuitively as you eat whether you are full or still hungry. Chew each bite 30 times or until it's liquid in your mouth. This might be annoying at first, but it can be life-changing for people. The deep breaths switch you from your "fight or flight" nervous system that you tend to be in when you're stuck in traffic or trying to meet a deadline at work, to your "rest and digest" nervous system. The thorough chewing then stimulates the gut-brain connection, breaks down food better to lower the chance of indigestion, assimilates more nutrients from the food, and gives you a greater sense of satisfaction and nourishment from the meal than if you ate it mindlessly at the speed of light. You'll likely not need to reach for more food after the meal.
3. Hide the junk, and keep healthy snacks on hand where you can see them.
When people are hungry, they'll often snack on whatever food is most accessible. Stock up your purse, gym bag, or glove box with healthy snacks to avoid hitting the drive throughs or vending machines. At home, keep healthy snacks on your counter like goji berries, sprouted nuts and seeds, golden berries, and fresh fruit. In the fridge, keep washed and chopped veggies in a container front and center so it's the first thing you see when you open it. Research at Cornell University has shown that women who stored sugary beverages, treats, or cereal boxes on the counter were on average 20 lbs heavier than those who didn't. Make it more challenging to eat treats by hiding them away on the highest shelf of your cupboard or pantry. Proudly display healthy snacks instead, and you'll be more likely to eat them.
Now I'd love to hear from you. Which of these 3 tips are you going to try? What has worked for you? Share and let me know!