Learning to control hunger pains may be necessary in order to lose weight consistently. Hunger is our body’s natural way of telling us we need energy and nutrients. Hunger pains can cause an overwhelming desire for food but it cannot give us any indication of the amount of energy consumed. With so many high calorie food products on the market, the result is we often consume more energy than required.
How do we control hunger and appetite?
Research into how to control hunger pains is ongoing, and proves it is a complex process involving a host of physiological and psychological factors. In relation to physiological factors, evidence suggests a series of chemical messages are sent to the appetite centre in the brain. These relay information about the level of body fat stores, blood glucose levels and the presence of food in the stomach.
The messages are analyzed to assess current energy levels then to determine how much or how little food needs to be eaten.
5 Simple Ways to Reduce Appetite and Control Hunger
- Eat protein at each meal. Your body absorbs carbs VERY quickly, and they will go through your digestive tract so fast that you will end up hungry within an hour of eating. With protein, however, digestion takes a bit longer. The protein (with its accompanying fat) sits in your stomach for more time, and this keeps your stomach from sending hunger signals to your brain. Protein is the best way to feel satiated after every meal.
- Avoid simple sugars. Anything that is high in carbs/sugar but low in fiber should be avoided like the plague. These simple sugars are digested very quickly, which leads to a spike in your blood sugar levels. Your body responds by producing insulin to lower blood sugar, but it usually lowers blood sugar TOO much. This causes your body to feel deprived of energy, and thus it sends signals to your brain to “feed me”. The spike and crash in blood sugar levels is something to avoid at all costs, so avoid anything that could cause it–ergo, simple sugars.
- Eat light meals more often. Instead of having two or three big meals a day, try eating five or six smaller meals–one every 3 hours or so. If you do this, there will always be something in your stomach, and you won’t have to deal with hunger pangs. Just be sure to keep each of your meals small. It’s very easy to overdo it on the calories when you’re eating so many times a day.
- Rock the fiber. Always try to find high fiber foods to add to your meals. And, make sure to eat those foods first! The high-fiber foods will swell up in your stomach, effectively filling you up before you’ve eaten. You’ll end up eating far less carbs and fats thanks to the high-fiber foods: grains, veggies, seeds, and nuts.
- Exercise. Exercise is one of the best ways to control your appetite, and you’ll find that it will do wonders to stop you from feeling hungry. Try to have a small snack (200 to 300 calories) 30 to 90 minutes before your workout, and have your largest meal immediately after the workout (within 60 minutes). You’ll find that it’s easy to avoid overeating the rest of the day, as the exercise and pre- and post-workout meals will help to curb your appetite.
Being hungry is not a bad thing; it’s just your body’s way of telling you you need food or water. But if you are constantly hungry and feeling fatigue, take a close look at your diet and ensure you are getting enough calories to last throughout the day. Speak to a doctor or nutritionist if you continuously eat but always feel hungry, it could be a sign of a serious problem.