With the growing rate of obesity in this country, weight loss has become an important topic that I am asked about frequently. Unfortunately, I see a lot of unhealthy “quick fixes.” I was so happy to read this no nonsense article from fitday.com that I wanted to share it with all of you. I really appreciated these tips because they pertain to anyone who wants to stay fit as well as people actively pursuing healthy weight loss diets. — Dr. Laurell
When beginning a diet, most will decrease caloric consumption in order to drop pounds. The body’s natural response to fewer calories is to increase the hunger pangs to let you know that something has changed. There is also the deprivation mentality that can happen on a deeper level: we feel as though we cannot have certain foods or as much food as we are accustomed to and we naturally begin to crave or miss that way of living. Remember the body will do everything to maintain balance and change can be stressful.
In order to succeed at the weight loss / restriction calorie diet, the body will have to adjust to a new set point and deal with the associated hunger. There are ways that you can naturally suppress the appetite and remain true to the dietary meal plan.
#1. Avoid refined carbohydrates or simple sugars.
Examples of refined carbohydrates and simple sugars include white bread, white rice, white pasta, baked goods such as muffins, cakes and cookies, high sugar cereals etc. When ingested, refined carbohydrates quickly turn into blood glucose or sugar in the body. The body’s natural response to a high sugar food is to secrete insulin to drop the blood sugar level back down into a more normal range. Insulin carries the sugar into the cells to be used as a source of energy. Most cells are already full of energy (unless you are an active person) so there is no room for the sugar to go. The body’s next step is to store the excess sugar consumed as body fat – not what you had in mind when you began the diet. Perhaps you have felt the sugar high followed by the crash in energy feeling 20 minutes to an hour later. A quick rise in blood sugar is followed by a crash in blood sugar leaving you feeling tired. This process is usually followed by an intense hunger to get the blood sugar back up and leaves you craving for yet another sweet treat. The answer: Eat complex carbohydrates instead. Complex carbohydrates examples include whole fruit (not juice), vegetables, and whole grains (in moderation).
#2. Drink enough water.
Next time you feel hungry; drink an 8 ounce glass of water.
#3. Eat the right amount of fiber, fat and protein.
It is important to consume plenty of fiber – it makes you feel full, plenty of fat (the good healthy fats) – we need those to reduce excess stored body fat, and plenty of protein. Protein takes a long time for the body to digest which results in you feeling full for a longer period of time as your stomach still has food in it. Protein can come from chicken, turkey, fish, yogurt, eggs, and vegan choices such as nuts, seeds, soy, and legumes (dried beans)
#4. Supplement nutrients if you need to.
It is important to ensure that you are getting the required nutrients and often times the only way we can so that when we have a restricted calorie diet is to supplement with a high quality multi vitamin/mineral complex. The body may be giving you hunger pangs because it is deficient in certain nutrients. You do not always have to consume calorie rich food to provide the adequate nutrients. I am only suggesting that you supplement an already healthy diet with supplementation specific to your individual needs. I am not a proponent of over the counter appetite suppressants such as Hoodia.
#5. Exercise to decrease the hunger feeling.
Exercise not only decreases the hunger feeling but it teaches our body how to burn the stored body fat as a fuel source!
#6. Eat frequently throughout the day.
5-6 small and healthy snack / meals. That way you never feel hungry.
#7. Address the emotional hunger issue.
Is it true hunger or an emotional void we are trying to fill with comfort food? Be a conscious eater. Set a very defined and specific goal in order to stay on track.