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    « Making Exercise Fun | Main | Why Diets Don't Work »
    Sunday
    Jul122009

    How to Avoid Feeling Hungry

    Sometimes it's inevitable - that undeniable feeling of hunger that hits somewhere around a hour before your next scheduled meal.  You know that eating at the wrong time will throw the rest of your meal plan into a tail spin, which raises the likelihood that late-day cheats will happen.  So, what do you do?  How do you fight back hunger in order to keep yourself on track with your nutrition plan?  Here are a few ideas that should help you avoid the nagging feeling of hunger that sometimes hits between scheduled meals.

    • Drink more water.  Truth of the matter is that often we mistake dehydration for hunger.  By keeping a bottle of water handy and sipping from it regularly, the body stays well-hydrated and doesn't give off signals that can be confused with hunger.
    • Make sure your meals are balanced.  If your body has the feeling that it's lacking certain necessary nutrients, it will create specific urges to eat.  When your regular meals contain good carbohydrates and lean protiens, your body has more of the stuff it needs to feed and fuel itself.  Further, when you eat complex carbohydrates your body has to work a little longer to digest those foods, which helps you feel less hungry during the brief periods between scheduled meals.
    • Take a multi-vitamin.  Similar to having nutritional deficiencies, sometimes your body will send out signals for you to eat because it is lacking a specific vitamin or mineral.  Similar to pregnancy cravings, when your body needs more amino acids, vitamin A, or other minerals, it tells you to eat.  If you're taking a multivitamin while eating well-balanced meals, you've done yourself the favor of being proactive and warding off the hunger before it ever comes on.
    • Consume healthy fats.  Our bodies like fat.  That desire to eat a 10-piece nugget meal probably doesn't come from a desire to have protein and fries, it comes from wanting the fat.  Though there's nothing at all nutritious about the fats in a nugget meal, it's worth knowing that not all fats are bad.  Consuming GOOD fats with some of your meals can suppress the urge to consume bad fats.  Good fats come in the form of fish oils, peanuts, almonds, flax seed oil, sesame oil, and olives (among other sources).  I personally eat a cereal with flax seeds.  I eat more fish than the average person and cook my chicken breasts in sesame oil.  Just to be sure, I take a fish oil supplement.  Eating healthy fats can help keep us from eating the unhealthy ones.
    • Eat smaller meals more frequently.  If you have a habit of going 4-6 hours between meals, there's almost inevitably going to be a problem with between-meal hunger.  One of the best ways to prevent hunger pangs between meals is to eat smaller meals every 2.5-3 hours.  When you eat according to this 3-hour plan, your body never really has the opportunity to have "down time" - time during which it's not working on digesting a meal.  Sometimes people have told me that eating every 2.5-3 hours is actually harder than eating every 4-6 hours because they feel like they're constantly eating.  When compared to feeling like I'm starving myself, I'll take "constantly eating" every time!
    • Bonus tip - If all else fails (but it won't!), chew sugar free gum.  When you chew, your body gets the idea that you're doing something to satiate the hunger.  It also gives your mouth something to work on in place of a bag of chips.  There are so few calories in gum that its effect on your intake is negligible.  Chew and enjoy!

    Give these tips a try and see if those nagging hunger pangs don't leave you alone.  I'm fairly certain you'll be pleasantly surprised!

    Be well!!

    Related Articles:
    5 Reasons to Drink more Water
    Eating for Fat Reduction

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