The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume, and for this reason, most diet pills work simply by suppressing your appetite and causing you to eat less.
But why shell out for expensive weight loss pills that often come with a host of harmful side effects, when you could achieve same results by making a few simple lifestyle changes and consuming some of nature’s natural appetite suppressants?
Here are twelve healthy ways to curb your appetite, kill those cravings and keep your diet on track:
1. Drink more water
When you’re feeling hungry, water is probably the last thing you’re thinking about. However, water can work as a powerful appetite suppressant, and sometimes what you are identifying as hunger is actually thirst. So, as a general rule, whenever you’re feeling hungry, drink a glass of water first to make sure you’re not confusing the two.
Drinking a glass or two of water before a meal or snack will also help you to eat less, because your stomach will feel fuller.
2. Eat more often
This may sound counterproductive, but eating only three meals a day can lead to hunger pangs and overeating when mealtimes finally roll around. Instead, eat smaller main meals and have a healthy snack (like a handful of nuts or piece of fruit) every two to three hours to keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent cravings.
Green tea is great for two reasons; firstly, it helps your body burn fat, and secondly, it helps you to ride out cravings because it causes your body to release a hormone called cholecystokinin, which is known to suppress the appetite.
4. Increase your intake of protein
Protein is a great source of energy and because it takes longer for your body to digest, you’ll feel full for a longer amount of time. Most people automatically think of meat when they hear “protein,” but other food products such as legumes, yogurt and eggs are also great sources of protein, and tend to be much leaner than meat.
5. Get moving
You’re probably already well aware of the benefits that physical activity can have, but one benefit that you may not be aware of is that exercise releases a hormone that naturally suppress your appetite. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology found that 60 minutes of cardio can reduce your appetite for up to two hours after working out.
6. Sleep more
A lack of sleep will reduce your energy levels and make you more likely to crave sugary and starchy foods. Moreover, when you don’t sleep enough, your body releases a hormone that actually increases your appetite. Improve the quality of your sleep by avoiding electronics an hour before bedtime and trying a few relaxation exercises.
7. Turn up the heat
A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that adding chili to your meals can reduce your appetite and help you to eat less. Invest in some delicious fresh chilies or a good hot sauce to spice up your meals and prevent yourself from overeating.
8. Don’t deny yourself a little fat
If you’re on a diet you’re probably pretty strict about your fat intake, but cutting all the fat from your diet can actually be counterproductive. Consuming a little unsaturated fat with each meal can actually reduce the occurrence of hunger pangs and prevent binges.
Find healthy sources of unsaturated fat like that found in nuts, natural peanut butter or avocados.
9. Use smaller plates
Generally, we are bad at estimating how much food we’ll need to satisfy our hunger, which means we make our portion sizes way too big and then keep eating just because it’s already on the plate. Use smaller plates to decrease your portion sizes; pretty soon your body will become accustomed to the new portions and you’ll feel fuller on less food.
10. Chew gum
Keep your breath fresh and your cravings at bay with a stick of sugarless gum. A study carried out the University of Rhode Island found that people who chewed gum for one hour in the morning consumed fewer calories later on in the day.
11. Smell, don’t taste
A study carried out by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that inhaling a peppermint, green apple or vanilla scent every two hours can reduce the amount of calories you consume in a week by 2,700. Get some aroma therapy candles for your office or try sniffing some natural oils to reduce your cravings throughout the day.
12. Identify the reasons for your snacking
Snacking can be a good thing if you eat the right things and control your portion sizes, but many people find themselves snacking throughout the day for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Some people are stress-eaters while others eat out of boredom.
Identifying the reasons for your cravings can help you to avoid overeating. For example, if you tend to eat when you feel stressed, find some alternative stress-relievers to replace food, like deep breathing, calming music or a series of simple stretches.
Joyce Del Rosario works as a Community Outreach Specialist at Open College of Art and Design, one of the leading providers of interior design courses. She is also an interior design blogger.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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