Over the years I've been told of many things that supposedly help suppress your appetite, but today I'm going to tell you about eight of them that have actually been proven to work, and aren't just an old-wives tale that we get roped into believing. Here are 8 things to help suppress your appetite, helpful if you're trying to diet!
1. Drink Plenty of Water
You would be amazed at how often people eat (myself included!) when they are actually thirsty. It's quite common for the brain to give off the signal for “I'm hungry” when really you have quite a full stomach, and are actually thirsty. It also helps prevent boredom snacking, and anxiety eating. If you are about to eat something for any reason other than being genuinely hungry, have a glass or two of water first, it might satisfy you just as well and without all the extra calories.
2. Take a Multivitamin
The human body is pretty amazing in that it can tell what nutrients it needs to function properly, and which ones you aren't getting. For example, as a vegetarian there are times when I can an intense craving for food, even though my stomach is full and I'm not actually hungry, that it is really telling me is that I haven't eaten enough protein, and after a multivitamin and a small serve of protein-rich foods (such as beans and legumes) I feel fine. It's not actually hunger, it's nutrient cravings. So have a multivitamin and see how you feel after that, it could be that you only need one mineral, not an entire meal!
3. Eat Regularly and Chew Slowly
The ideal amount of food to eat daily varies with different people and their needs, but no matter how much food you eat, the best thing you can do to suppress hunger and get the most out of a meal is to make them small and frequent. Eating 5 small meals daily with lots of healthy snacks (like seeds, nuts and raw vegetables) will keep your metabolism going and give you lots of energy. When you do eat, make sure you chew slowly. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to register that the stomach is full, so by chewing slowly you are more likely to realise you are full rather than have a full stomach and still feel hungry, and end up stuffing yourself!
4. Brush Your Teeth!
Have you ever brushed your teeth and then eaten something that you would normally find delicious, only to find it horrible and sour? That's the toothpaste effect. This is a really useful way to curb your appetite, not because it naturally suppresses your hunger, but because knowing your teeth are lovely and clean will make you less likely to “dirty” them by eating! Also, if you do eat after brushing your teeth, the food will taste sour and it will act as negative reinforcement, meaning next time you will feel less tempted to eat after brushing, and thus skip a snack! And did I mention your teeth will look great?
Normally you would think exercising would make you more hungry, right? Surprisingly, exercising actually suppresses your appetite temporarily, as the body is focused on maintaining energy output and keeping your muscles and lungs going — it doesn't have time to think about food! Exercise also gives you a natural hormone high, so if you're a comfort eater then it's a really good alternative. If you're stressed about something, instead of sitting down with ice cream or chips, go for a jog instead, the endorphins from exercising will make you feel good, and you won't feel guilty afterwards (unlike my love-hate relationship with mango ice cream)...
6. Drink Black Tea or Coffee
Please note, a latte does not count! Straight black coffee with a sugar replacement, or herbal tea, can suppress appetite with caffeine, without giving you too much extra sugar or calories. It also tastes good and will make you feel like you've enjoyed a snack, when really you haven't eaten anything. Tea is also full of antioxidants which are great for you, and green tea especially is known for its detoxifying properties. Both will give you energy, so if you did secretly have a little slice of cake with your coffee then you will have enough energy to work it off.
I cannot stress this one enough! If you're tired then it's really hard to get energy, and your body will use food as a default method of getting that energy, even if you're not actually hungry! Getting eight or more hours of sleep a night will help keep your body healthy and “recharged” so you won't feel the compulsion to eat for energy when you aren't hungry.
8. The Distraction Factor
If you're a boredom snacker (like myself) then you'll probably find that nothing is going to stop you from having those cookies or that little pack of popcorn, so the best thing to do is distract yourself. It can be anything, from browsing the internet to watching a movie, or reading a book. As long as it keeps your mind off food then it will keep you out of the kitchen and in shape!
All I can really say is that if you want to maintain good health and have a svelte figure, then suppressing an over-active appetite is quite important. Of course you need to eat, but try and eat healthily, in small servings, with your meals based on actual hunger rather than boredom or stress. If you stick to the idea of giving yourself a balanced diet, exercise, water and rest, then you will probably find that soon you will look and feel fantastic, and won't need to suppress your diet through any other means. How do you keep from snacking between meals? Do you have any other appetite-supressing tips to share?
Top photo credit: AXEHD