Tips on outsmarting your hunger...
With platters upon platters of mouth-watering food placed in front of you, it’s incredibly easy to over indulge with a second helping (or even a third). Pay attention to what your body actually needs; if your stomach feels satisfied then why go for more? Keeping dishes in the kitchen rather than on the table from which you are eating will help avoid picking on food you don’t actually need.
We all have those moments when we rush through our meals simply because everything served onto our plates looks so good we just can’t wait to try it all. Our tastebuds might be having the time of their life, but for your stomach, the hangover begins with the first mouthful you scoff down. Eat slowly; going too fast means it is easier to go for seconds and we eat more than we actually need. Slowing down the speed of eating and taking smaller bites not only allows you to actually taste and enjoy the food you are eating, but also leads to better digestion.
The downside of variety
While there seems to be nothing better than the large variety of food available to us over the summer, having too many choices can be a massive diet trap. Our senses are heightened when we are subjected to a large range of food; a bigger variety makes the platter look much more appealing and it becomes hard to say no. Sit yourself in a seat where you have to get up to get more food. Not only is the temptation further away, but getting up in front of everyone for more can help you think twice.
Feel fuller with fibre and protein
If you’re feeling peckish, fill up on fibre or protein loaded snacks that take longer to digest and leave you feeling fuller for longer. Opting for foods like oats or unsalted nuts not only cut your calories count, but help you feel more satisfied. Similarly, water-based foods like leafy greens and fruits are low density and help satiate your hunger.
Satisfy your cravings with a healthy alternative, and remember that even though you are substituting a naughty snack for a nutritious other, moderation remains key. Author of Don’t Go Hungry for Life, and weight loss expert at Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis, says that if you’re craving chicken schnitzel, don’t try to ignore the desire completely by eliminating it from your diet altogether. Instead, try poached chicken with a serving of salad to get the right nutrients and just a taste of chicken to satiate the hunger.
Reflect on what you eat
Writing down how hungry and satisfied you feel before and after each meal for a period of two weeks will help you understand how your body reacts to what foods. Trial and error will be the only way to determine just what foods satisfy your cravings and keep your body feeling fuller for longer, without overindulging. Dr. Sainsbury-Salis says, “Successful weight loss isn’t about trying to steamroll your way over your survival instincts.”
Do the math
Clinical nutritionist at The Nutrition Coach, Emma Sgourakis, says to apply this food equation to every snack and meal: good carbohydrates-plus-fat-plus-protein. “These three macronutrients will help steady sugar absorption and keep stress hormones at bay,” she says. For example, instead of snacking on a handful of nuts, try a hard boiled egg and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Eating balanced snacks regularly will help stave off binges.