4th December 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos
If you, just like me, are the unlucky owner of a bottomless pit instead of a stomach, then you know just how hard it’s to beat that constant feeling of hunger. So, if you spend your days thinking about what, where or when to eat, here are some less known tips on how to trick your body and mind into thinking it’s full.
Spice things up a little
Go for Cayenne Pepper, which is a natural appetite suppressant. It will not only curb your hunger due to the chemical capsaicin, it also turns up your metabolism.
Spend an extra hour in bed
“Studies have shown that a lack of sleep may cause us to eat 300-400 more calories the next day! And in order to keep energy levels high, we tend to choose sugary or starchy quick fixes. Just one extra hour of sleep each night can increase leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite,” says nutritionist, Lily Soutter.
Snack on an egg
“These make a great snack as the combination of protein and good fat help you feel fuller for longer. Try boiling them in advance, and keeping them in the fridge as an easy, snack to enjoy on the go. They will last up to a week,” says nutritionist, Shona Wilkinson.
Breakfast for champions
Shona explains, “oats are brilliant for keeping hunger pangs at bay. They are nutritious and contain a good amount of fibre. They have been shown to help balance blood sugar levels, thus keeping sugar cravings and hunger pains at bay. A small bowl of porridge is a quick and easy snack and much better than reaching for that chocolate bar”.
Are you thirsty or hungry?
“It’s actually relatively common for people to confuse thirst for hunger, that’s why keeping your fluid intake up is really important. Try drinking a large glass of water when you are feeling those hunger pains and wait to see if they dissipate” says Dr Marilyn Glenville, Nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.
“Adding a teaspoon of a super greens mixture to your water or juice can help keep hunger at bay. It’s a great way to boost your nutritional intake with greens such as spirulina, chlorella and barley or wheat grass. These superfoods contain fibre, helping you to feel fuller for longer as well as many energy-giving nutrients such as B vitamins to help you get through the day. Try the Natures Plus Ultra Green Juice,” suggests nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
“The catechins found in green tea also help balance blood sugar levels. An added bonus is that green tea can help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as the polyphenols can help the body both eliminate cholesterol and stop its absorption. Try having 2 to 3 cups daily, in between meals” explains Lily. Here at YSV, we LOVE Pukka Green Matcha.
Switch it off!
Do you eat your meals in front of a screen? Dr Glenville explains why you should turn it off. “You can eat up to 70% more if distracted by watching the TV or in a cinema. Research has shown that eating lunch in front of your computer makes it harder to remember what you have eaten and then you don’t feel as full. As a result, you will then be looking for something else to eat. In one study, computer users then ate twice as many biscuits half an hour later than the non-computer users eating lunch!”.
Keep it clean
A study published in the journal Environment and Behavior found that preparing and eating meals in a messy kitchen/living room area can cause us to eat more by… 40%. So, do the dishes, file your mail and chuck old newspapers away before you start preparing your meal.
Drizzle Vinegar on your salad
Shona says, “it improves digestion by keeping food in the stomach longer, reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Vinegar also helps prevent blood sugar spikes after a meal, helping cravings for up to 3 hours after”.
Light a vanilla scented candle
Have you heard of Christmas Dinner Syndrome? This is when the person who has been cooking doesn’t eat as much as their guests because they’ve been smelling dinner all day. There’s a theory that sweet scent reduces sugar cravings and can keep your hunger at bay.
The ‘F” word
“Foods high in ‘good’ fats – such as oily fish, avocados, raw nuts, seeds and cold-pressed oils made from seeds can help slow the release of sugars into the blood and make us feel fuller, preventing cravings,” says Dr Glenville.
Be a smart snacker
Lily explains how: “almonds are rich in protein and healthy fats, giving you the energy boost you need whilst balancing blood sugar. This snack is exactly what we need to prevent carbohydrate and sugar cravings”.
Trick your brain full
When choosing plates go for blue. Why? Research shows that blue is a natural appetite suppressant. The colour is almost never found in natural foods, so our bodies have no natural appetite response to blue. It’s not only colour that matters though. Dr Glenville says that “we tend to put larger portions on larger plates and end up eating more food. If you can’t fit as much on a plate you will automatically be eating less”.
Call a friend
According to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, hearing a kind, familiar voice stimulates the brain to release oxytocin, a stress fighting, mood boosting, “love” hormone. “Reduced stress, on the other hand, has been linked to increases in your satiety hormone, leptin,” Cassandra adds.
One apple a day
In one study in Washington, people were asked to eat an apple 20 minutes before each meal. Without making any additional changes to their diet, they lost an average 1½ stone in just 3 months. Apples are packed with fibre and they keep you fuller for longer. The more space an apple will take in your stomach, the less is left for less healthy dinner options.
Instagram your meal
Dr Glenville explains why: “researchers suggest that taking a photograph of food just before you eat, concentrates the mind to eat not only healthier foods but also less of it. The photograph seemed to deter binges”.
Start with a soup
“If you have soup before a meal you will end up eating fewer calories during the meal. The soup gives you the sensation of being fuller because it remains in the stomach for longer and makes you feel more satisfied. In addition, the soup remaining in the stomach stops the cells in the stomach producing your hunger hormone ghrelin and turns off your appetite,” Marilyn explains.