Here we shall carefully and thoroughly consider how you can suppress appetite and break the habit of inspecting your refrigerator every five minutes. No matter what diet you choose, the primary problem often appears to be the uncontrollable desire to eat, attacking at the most inopportune moment.
If only at least one of countless diets existing today worked, everybody around would have been perfectly fit. After all, just eating foods from a list doesn’t sound too complicated. Nonetheless, dietary restrictions often undermine health and lead to putting on a few extra kilos, which serve as a cause of disappointment and severe psychological discomfort. To get rid of the excess weight, simply changing your diet composition is not enough. You should change your eating habits and lifestyle in general. For as long as junk food remains appealing, and a person gratifies themselves with it, it’s too early to talk about losing weight. For such people, any stressful situation, change of scenery, like a vacation, will lead to uncontrolled food consumption, thus rendering previous attempts of losing weight pointless.
The good news is that there are much milder ways for the psyche to cope with healthier nutrition options and controlling appetite.
Psychological Aspects of Nutrition
If a person has healthy eating habits, his appetite is almost always an indicator of hunger. The urge to eat appears when the body’s resources are depleted and need to be replenished. At the same time, the particular need for this or that substance is felt.
A conscious approach to nutrition allows you to eat the right products in the right quantities instead of eating anything that is within reach.
It’s a shame that an enormous amount of psychological and social pressure is imposed on this pure and simple natural mechanism. Because of that, the connection between the brain and body is broken. People eat not just because they are hungry but because food serves as a means of calming down or as a tribute to custom. The first step that should be taken is getting to understand the psychological reasons for overeating.
Moreover, due to some psychological aspects, overeating can transform into a disease – bulimia nervosa.
In many cultures, the concept of love is often associated with the notion of feeding the ones we love. Our grannies tend to cook countless goodies for us, and this abundance of food becomes the symbol of health and care.
As a matter of fact, the root of obesity, which tends to be considered heredity, is in the long-lasting succession of eating habits. Children get used to calorie-rich, tasty, and frequent meals. Parents transmit overeating patterns of behavior to their children, and the cycle continues.
The previous generations’ childhood traumas may appear to be problematic in the future, for example, the generation that saw the horrors of war and starvation revere food. Like the grannies that feed their grandchildren as if they were livestock.
Children may not like being overfed, but they’re being imprinted with the notion that eating what was prepared for them is a form of gratitude. Later on, children acquire the same mindset and pass it on to their children, and so on.
Compensating The Lack Of Attention And Love
All of us have experienced the feeling of loneliness, one way or another. Everyone experiences frustration in an individual way. So, if in such a situation, the negative emotion was successfully dulled by food, the brain will reinforce this connection.
Probably, you personally know someone who went through a heartbreak with the help of chocolate or ice cream. It’s part of the same problem.
Compulsive overeating leads to rapidly putting on weight.
Alterations in body condition and visual or sexual attractiveness further the frustration and feeling of alienation from friends, family, and romantic interests. And then again, the solution is found in eating up the stress. The vicious cycle goes on.
Simple carbs are getting instantly absorbed into the blood, causing an endorphin surge. Candies, sweets, chocolates, and everything that contains a lot of sugar can make a person feel a bit happier. This way, the psyche protects itself from stress, choosing the path of least resistance in attempts to help itself withstand.
Consolation, with the help of chocolate, cupcakes, or sweet drinks, quickly becomes a habit.
The truth is that stress is not disappearing. It’s simply masked. The brain is still producing the stress hormone. This contrast leads to sensations of weakness, apathy, drowsiness, and laziness.
In such a state, a person naturally wants his mood and condition to improve. So, the body «turns on» appetite and pushes you towards eating more.
Snacks on the run, constantly dragging something from the refrigerator, the habit of munching popcorn in a cinema or at home in front of the TV – all that leads to rapid weight gain, and we’re not talking about getting shredded. At moments like these, people care little for the taste or quality of products or how thoroughly they chew them. The result of that is eating more than necessary.
Moreover, junk and fast food are always of lower quality and contain a lot of sugar, trans fats, preservatives, and appetizing additives.
The Reasons Behind Increased Appetite
Physiological and metabolic characteristics may cause an uncontrolled strong appetite, along with social and psychological factors.
So, the desire to eat more than necessary appears when:
- Increased level of blood sugar or impaired insulin tolerance of cells;
- thyroid abnormalities;
- changes and dysfunctions of the digestive system;
- vitamin and mineral imbalance;
- impaired brain function;
- chronic stress, nervous strain, depression;
- female hormonal cyclic changes (premenstrual syndrome) or pregnancy, breastfeeding.
Since many physiological causes of overeating are associated with hormones’ production and metabolism, before starting to lose weight and control appetite, consult an endocrinologist, and conduct all the necessary medical tests.
Ways Of Suppressing Appetite
Generally, all methods of reducing the appetite are divided into physiological and psychological. The first is aimed at normalizing the «biological clock» indigestion, the second is aimed at creating a favorable atmosphere for losing weight.
Both approaches provided the small individual adjustments were made, effectively helped to defeat overeating.
Physiology And Metabolism
A lot of products provide for the feeling of satiety for an extended period of time.
A reasonable approach to diet planning allows for reducing portions without getting hungry and weak after their consumption.
To control your appetite, you should consume:
- Protein-rich foods. Proteins are the building material for cells. They help to maintain a feeling of satiety for a long time and, at the same time, not to lose muscle mass. The fact is that muscles spend a lot of calories on maintenance. If you lose their volume, then fat burning will slow down because there will simply be nothing the supplies on;
- Fiber-rich foods, like vegetables, seeds and nuts, legumes. Dietary fibers are hygroscopic. They fill the stomach and swell, which gives a quick feeling of fullness. Besides, they are broken down by friendly intestinal microflora to fatty acids, which affect the centers of appetite in the hypothalamus;
- Solid and whole foods for snacks. The craze for smoothies and protein shakes has nothing to do with proper nutrition. The liquid quickly moves along the digestive tract, and the feeling of satiety passes. It is much more beneficial to eat some nuts or seeds. Chia seeds, almonds, flax seeds, or pieces of salad vegetables are perfect.Solid foods will have to be chewed longer, and saturation signals will have time to reach the brain before the excess is eaten.
- Black coffee. It releases the YY peptide, which is responsible for the feeling of satiety. The smell of coffee, however, stimulates the appetite, so it is better to avoid continually having coffee aromas at home;
- An adequate amount of clean water. Sometimes thirst is able to disguise itself as hunger. Without water, the ordinary course of metabolism is impossible. Water also breaks down fats. Besides, our body is able to store it if it is chronically experiencing dehydration;
- Bitter dark chocolate. It contains stearic acid, which slows down digestion. At the same time, when buying chocolate, you should carefully study its contents, because sometimes manufacturers add sugar, starch and milk fats to the composition to soften the taste, which makes such a product no longer useful for weight loss.
- Ginger root. Active bioflavonoids contained in ginger suppress hunger while increasing immunity and vitality;
- Omega-3 fatty acids. For weight loss, you need fats, but only the right ones. Fish, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils, avocados contain a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids, from which our body can simply take energy. Eating Omega-3 helps reduce cravings for sweets. Also, these substances contribute to the production of leptin – the hormone responsible for saturation.
Psychology and Appetite
In order to be more careful about what you eat, it is worth reviewing how you eat.
The psychological aspects of eating are crucial for those who want to get rid of compulsive overeating and lose weight.
There are things that you have to take as a habit:
- Put your food on a small plate and eat it with a small spoon or large fork. Subconsciously, there is a stronger desire to put more food on a large plate. You want to see the portion size proportional to the plate. Experiments have shown that a person eats less with a small spoon, but the situation is with forks is vice versa;
- Physical activity and sports. Even though spending calories will require replenishment, the portion size after a workout will decrease. The reason is hormones that are released during intense activity. They suppress the centers of hunger in the brain, and appetite is reduced;
- Sleep for at least 7 hours. During sleep, the body produces melatonin, which is responsible for fats’ metabolism and indirectly affects weight loss. A good rest at night reduces stress levels and accumulates enough strength for activity in the daytime. People who sleep less than 6 hours double their risk of obesity;
- Nervous tension management. The endocrine system often suffers under the influence of stress, which means that the possibility of hormonal failure leading to putting on weight increases;
- Visualization of the benefits of products. It’s good to imagine how much profit the body will get from each nut or chia pudding. Then it will appear tastier. Some psychologists advise you to imagine eating your favorite but forbidden foods. On the one hand, such fantasy games will help you not to eat a real cake. On the other hand, they do not allow getting rid of food dependence;
- Skipping breakfast. Contrary to popular belief, breakfast is optional. Nutritionists noted in their studies that a morning meal, especially with a lot of carbohydrates, will lead to a rapid increase of glucose in the blood, which means that your appetite will be atrocious by lunchtime. If you can’t do without breakfast at all, it is better to make it consisting of protein;
- Meditative nutrition. If you eat slowly and thoughtfully, you can not only get the most out of your food but also quickly feel full. It is important to stop the meal at the first sign of satiety immediately. While eating, you do not need to be distracted by gadgets, talking, or thinking about plans for the day. The whole point is to completely immerse yourself in the process and the feelings you experience.
Methods Of Symptomatic Loss Of Appetite
There are several methods to cope with an already existing appetite.
If the desire to eat came earlier than necessary according to the schedule, or after a short period of time after eating, these things will help to cope with the sensations:
- Talk to yourself. It is worth asking yourself whether you really want to eat or is it a way to calm down, protect your psyche, and get away from problems;
- A decoction of medicinal plants. A snack can be replaced with a mug of warm herbal tea from chamomile or milk thistle;
- Pills and syrups that reduce appetite. Most of them have a dehydrating and laxative effects, and they have an extensive list of contraindications, so before taking them, you should carefully consider all the pros and cons;
- Eating some appetite-reducing foods, such as pineapple, grapefruit, figs. These fruits contain sugar, so a single serving should be small;
- Physical exercises, such as breathing with deep inhalations and exhalations, abdominal vacuum exercise and other abs exercises.
Weight loss is a complex and slow process. It requires patience on the way to harmony and health.
There are several hints that will help you turn weight loss not into a painful expectation of results, but a happy lifestyle:
- Relaxing baths, self-massage, cosmetic procedures that will improve the condition of the skin, relieve stress;
- Hobbies, creativity, favorite activities will shift the focus of attention;
- Aromatherapy with oils of citrus, green apple, peppermint reduces anxiety and the urge to eat;
- Walking, traveling, excursions require physical activity per se, and this way, calories are spent slowly and pleasantly. Happy impressions, beautiful places, new acquaintances may lead you out of the shell of loneliness and overeating.
Dietary Maneuvers. Foods That Enhance And Reduce Appetite
Understanding the properties and combinations of products can greatly facilitate the diet’s preparation and allow you to eat less. If you combine foods incorrectly, you can inadvertently provoke spikes in blood sugar or overeat.
The table below present the difference between things that hinder (left part) and contribute (right part) to overeating:
|Combinations of various flavors in a dish||Cereal side dishes|
|Hot and warm dishes||Cold dishes|
|Fresh vegetables, fruits, berries||Large amounts of fruits, heat-treated vegetables|
|Fatty fish, avocado, vegetable oils||Skimmed products (e.g., cheeses)|
|–||Hot spices, sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol|
Coping With Evening Appetite
In order not to feel a sudden compulsion to eat in the evening, you may:
- Go for a walk. While walking, breathe deeply and measuredly. A good exercise is to notice changes in surroundings, sensations in your body, passing people. The development of mindfulness practices will help to connect the brain with the body, and breathing exercises will saturate the cells with oxygen and speed up the metabolism;
- Chat in a topical group. Surround yourself with the support of like-minded people. It can be losing weight enthusiasts, colleagues, friends, acquaintances in other areas of life;
- Spend some time grooming yourself. Cosmetic masks, massages, fragrant baths, body skin, nails, and hair care will improve self-esteem, strengthen the intention to be attractive.
Folk Remedies To Reduce Appetite
In the absence of allergies and contraindications, you can help yourself cope with an uncontrolled desire to eat with the help of folk approaches.
These things have been around for plenty of time:
- A decoction of celery or parsley leaves;
- Herbal tea with sage and chamomile;
- Flaxseed oil, which is taken in the amount of one tablespoon on an empty stomach.