Research shows people who are overweight have a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, gout and even sleep apnea than healthy-weight individuals. Unfortunately, however, over 9 in 10 people who try to lose weight fail. They either maintain their weight or gain weight, thus leaving them vulnerable to obesity-related diseases and medical conditions.
To lose weight fast, and keep it off, you must learn to control your hunger cravings. Everyone experiences hunger cravings. But if you are constantly bombarded with signals from your brain telling you to eat, you may consume too many calories, resulting in increased body fat.
Replace Simple Carbs With Complex Carbs
You can curb hunger cravings and achieve longer-lasting energy by replacing simple carbs in your diet with complex carbs. Simple carbs are characterized by their short molecular chain, allowing them to be quickly processed and converted into glucose when consumed. Also known as simple sugars, they have either one or two sugar molecules liked together in a chain, whereas complex carbs have at least three chain-linked sugar molecules.
Simple carbs include flour, corn syrup, processed table sugar, brown sugar and milk sugar. Complex carbs, on the other hand, are longer-chained sugar molecules, such as those found in whole grains, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, peppers, onions, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, oranges, apples, blueberries, and other fruits and vegetables.
With their longer molecular chain, it takes longer for complex carbs to break down when consumed than simple carbs. As a result, they’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Drink a Protein Shake between Meals
While you shouldn’t substitute protein shakes for meals, you can drink them between meals to curb hunger cravings. Protein shakes are, not surprisingly, loaded in protein. Depending on the type; whey, casein, soy, etc., a single serving may contain up to 40 grams of protein. All that protein will keep your stomach full to discourage you from consuming other, worse foods and beverages.
Along with fat and carbs, protein is one of the body’s three main sources of energy. When your body runs out of energy, you’ll experience hunger cravings as your brain tells you to eat. Protein shakes inhibit these hunger signals by providing your body with additional energy in the form of nutritious protein.
Protein shakes are available in convenient ready-to-drink bottles, or you can make your own shakes using protein powder. Be warned, though, you’ll negate the weight loss-promoting effects of protein powder if you add sugar or heavily sweetened juice to it. Use either filtered water or skim milk with your protein powder to create nutritious, healthy protein shakes.
Choose High-Fiber Foods
Another way to curb hunger cravings is to choose high-fiber foods. By definition, fiber is plant-based matter in foods that cannot be completely processed by the digestive system. Rather, it remains partially intact during digestion. Fiber is effective at curbing hunger cravings for two reasons.
First, fiber stays in your digestive system longer than other, non-fibrous nutrients, allowing it to fuel your body with sustainable energy. Second, fiber absorbs water while in your digestive system. Like a sponge, it soaks up water to fill empty space in your stomach, tricking your brain into thinking you are full.
Common high-fiber foods include:
Even if your breath is fresh, you should consider chewing gum during the day. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Rhode Island (URI), chewing gum for 45 minutes or longer significantly reduces hunger cravings while promoting a greater level of fullness in the process.
It’s unknown how gum is able to curb hunger cravings, but some experts believe it’s attributed to increased saliva production. When you chew gum, you’ll stimulate your salivary glands, causing them to produce more saliva. As you swallow this excess saliva, your stomach will feel full.
Drink Decaffeinated Coffee
Starting your morning with a cup of decaffeinated coffee may help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found participants who drank a cup of decaffeinated coffee had lower levels of the hormone peptide (PYY) than participants who drank caffeinated water or caffeinated coffee.
Produced in the small intestines, PYY is responsible for suppressing appetite. When released, it creates a feeling of fullness. When levels of PYY are high in your body, you’ll feel full and, therefore, are less likely to crave food.
While caffeine is frequently added to diet pills, there’s conflicting evidence on whether it’s effective for weight loss, so stick with decaffeinated coffee for maximum benefit. In the study, only decaffeinated coffee was shown to increase PYY levels.
Experiment with Aromatherapy
Adding certain scents to your home may suppress your appetite and help you lose weight. For instance, research shows people who are exposed to vanilla scent experience fewer sweet cravings than their counterparts. Because vanilla is commonly found in cookies, cake and other sweet treats, it could trick your brain into thinking it needs less sugar.
Vanilla isn’t the only scent linked to appetite suppression. Other appetite-suppressing scents include green apple, cinnamon, grapefruit and banana. Use a diffuser in your home to experiment with different scented oils.
Control Your Stress
Stress can be both a side effect and a contributing factor to weight gain. It’s no secret people overeat when stressed. There’s even a word used to describe this habit: stress eating.
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), stress initially suppresses appetite. But if you remain stressed, the effects are reversed. Your adrenal glands will begin to pump out cortisol, a hormone that increases the frequency and strength of hunger cravings. By keeping your stress under control, you’ll prevent the overproduction of cortisol by your adrenal glands.
Controlling hunger cravings is just one element of a successful weight loss program. You must also exercise to burn fat and tone your body. Applying these tips to your weight loss program, however, will help you slim down to a healthier weight.