Feeling famished can dash a diet. Here are some quick tricks on how to hold off hunger pangs. Stick to the diet, lose weight by minimizing feelings of hunger.
Hunger pangs can demolish a diet.
What is perceived as hunger is often really something else - boredom, worry, stress - that masquerades as hunger, so eating is satisfying feelings rather than true hunger
If the hunger is real, its strength is often overestimated, leading to excessive eating at the next meal.
Either way, the result is excess calories that the body doesn't really need. So here are some strategies to help stay on a diet, whether the hunger is phony or foody!
Time Factors: When to Eat
"Studies have suggested that eating patterns, which describe eating frequency, the temporal distribution of eating events across the day...may be related to obesity," according to a group of scientists writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
In other words, when you eat is often more important than how much you eat.
Graze - the study quoted above found that people who eat more frequently during the day are less likely to be obese. Eating four or more times a day was the key. The authors didn't say just what their subjects were eating - but give the grazing strategy a boost by eating nutritious snacks. Healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, and crisp fresh veggies will be the best bet.
Eat Breakfast - The same study found that folks who skip breakfast are almost five times as likely to be obese as those who report eating breakfast.
Eat Early - Breakfast turned out to be important in another study, which found that middle-aged people who had most of their food intake in the morning and less in the afternoon and evening showed less weight gain. The optimal eating pattern appears to involve a hearty breakfast, moderate lunch, light supper, and healthy evening snacks.
"I don't have time for breakfast" is a common excuse. Got the willpower to be on a diet? Get the willpower to make time for breakfast. Breakfast is important. There are light, fast and healthy alternatives that will kill hunger pangs for hours.
Food Factors: What to Eat
Fad diets come and go, and there is always one magic food or other being touted as "the answer," but some solid dietary principles are gradually gaining ground.
Fiber - Fiber fills the tummy without adding a lot of calories. That's why Canada's Food Guide (and the Dietary Guide for Americans) puts so much stress on whole-grain foods, which contain a great deal of fiber. A breakfast of yogurt with fiber or whole-grain cereal is a great start to the day.
Fruit - Dr. Barbara Rolls, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan: Techniques and Recipes for Feeling Full on Fewer Calories, says that fruits high in moisture (such as grapes or oranges) have a low energy density – a lot of volumes containing relatively few calories. They contribute to feelings of fullness. So top that granola with some grapes or mandarin slices and get the best of both fiber and fruit.
Protein - Dr. Rolls points out that protein-rich foods have staying power to keep you from feeling hungry. Nibble on cheese and nuts.
There is nothing new in this. It's a fact. It's simple.
To stay healthy and keep the weight down, follow these three basic food factors and take advantage of what science has proven (and what Mother always knew): eat a healthy breakfast.