You just ate five minutes ago and you’re still hungry. That 200-calorie meal (your first of six) just didn’t cut it. Now, you’re pounding water trying to hold on and make it to your next scheduled meal in two hours, and you’re starting to feel like you don’t know what you’re liable to do if you don’t find some food ASAP!
Sound familiar? We’ve all had those major appetite moments. Recently, the topic of controlling your appetite and hunger has come into the spotlight, and there are appetite-suppressant supplements popping up all over the place. But most of those aren’t very effective – in fact, the best way to control your appetite is to utilize science and natural methods. Here are our top five.
#1: SPREAD YOUR MEALS FURTHER APART
For decades we’ve been told to eat every 2-3 hours to “speed up our metabolism”, but studies have disproven this myth for quite some time now. However, I still see thousands of people eating small meals every two hours in hopes that their metabolic rate will skyrocket. Well guess what? Your metabolism won’t speed up if you eat more frequently. Instead, we should be focusing on the total amount of food we are eating per day/week/month. In fact, eating every 2 hours will train your body to release the hunger hormone Ghrelin at your scheduled meal times. So even if you’re not truly hungry, you’ll feel like you are because of the hormonal release.
Fix It: Spread your meals out by 4-5 hours to allow proper digestion and to train your body to ward off hunger pains until it’s time to eat. This will allow you to eat larger meals and feel much more satiated afterwards.
#2: UTILIZE INTERMITTENT FASTING
Ever notice how hungry you feel after eating a meal first thing in the morning? Our cortisol (stress hormones) tend to peak in the morning, and when we eat a large breakfast it can lead to larger than normal spikes in insulin. This leads to big drops in blood sugar, which can lead us to feel really hungry quickly after eating. We also may feel very sluggish and sleepy after an early-morning meal.
Fix It: Try pushing your first meal to at least a couple hours after waking. If you feel more energized – try pushing the meal even further. If you train first thing in the morning then you may need to modify this strategy. I work with a team over at www.MindPumpRadio.com/JosiahFitness and we have an Intermittent Fasting Guide that breaks down the many ways to utilize this method.
#3: EAT MORE FIBER
Besides being crucial for internal health, fiber is a tremendous resource when it comes to warding off hunger and controlling appetite. Fiber helps slow down digestion of your food – thus you feel satisfied much longer.
Fix It: Try incorporating high fiber foods like green veggies, oatmeal, and certain fruits (like apples) to keep hunger at bay.
#4: GET QUALITY SLEEP
Did you know that getting too little or low quality of sleep can lead to a huge swing in appetite? It’s important to get a consistent amount of quality sleep. Most folks need 6-8 hours of quality sleep every night. Do your best to get the sleep you need. Your appetite will thank you.
#5: DRINK ORGANIC COFFEE AND SNACK ON FRUIT
Ok, this is my big secret weapon when it comes to appetite control – especially when I’m dieting for a photo shoot or a trip to the beach. Black (organic if possible) coffee can really help with blunting appetite. I always have a cup or two in the morning before my first meal to ward off early morning cravings. Fruit snacking is also a tip I learned from fellow fitness professional Greg O’Gallagher. When your appetite begins to creep up on you it could mean that your liver glycogen is depleted. Snacking on a small piece of fruit can help quickly replenish your liver glycogen – thus your appetite pain will be suppressed.
I hope this article helps you as you embark on your health and fitness nutrition plan. Our journey isn’t just physical, in fact it’s primarily a mental battle to create changes we want to see in ourselves. Having crazy hunger pains and appetite swings won’t make things easier. Learn to control them and you’ll see amazing results moving forward!