The key to successful weight control is learning to listen to your body’s cues. You want to eat when you feel hungry, but not famished. Feeling overly hungry can trigger overeating. The following tips can help you get in touch with the signs of hunger and satiety to prevent overeating:
1. Stick to a schedule - Plan to eat every three to four hours, stopping after dinner.
2. Include lean protein - Protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, poultry, egg whites, tofu and legumes help you feel full longer because they require more time to digest and absorb than other nutrients. Divide your protein intake among three meals and two snacks. Protein-rich snack choices include nuts, soy nuts, edamame, hard-boiled eggs, part-skim cheese, yogurt and/or a protein bar.
3. Don’t skip protein at breakfast - Research suggests that eating lean protein in the morning keeps you satisfied longer than if eaten at other times of the day.
4. Choose low-glycemic foods - Avoid refined (white) and sugary foods. These are high-glycemic foods that cause blood glucose and insulin levels to spike after eating. In response to excess insulin, blood glucose levels drop more quickly over the next few hours, which can trigger hunger and overeating. Low-glycemic foods are more slowly digested and help keep hunger at bay. They include beans, lentils, nuts, pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, steel-cut or large-flake oatmeal, oat bran, Red River cereal, 100% bran cereals, yogurt, milk, unflavored soy milk, apples, oranges, peaches, pears and berries.
5. Add grapefruit - People who eat grapefruit have significantly lower levels of insulin after eating which was thought to control hunger.
6. Spice up meals - Capsaicin, the component that gives red chili peppers their heat, can reduce hunger and increase calorie burning. Adding cayenne pepper to meals was effective at reducing appetite for fatty, salty and sweet foods, especially among people who did not consume it regularly.
7. Chew sugarless gum - A recent study found that chewing gum for one hour in the morning helped participants eat fewer calories at lunch. Chewing stimulates nerves in the jaw connected to the brain region that regulates satiety.
8. Slow down - It takes roughly 20 minutes for appetite-related hormones to kick in and tell your brain you’ve had enough food. After every bite, put down your knife and fork, chew thoroughly and sip water. Do not pick up your utensils until your mouth is empty.
9. Savour your food and ban distractions - Eating in front of the television, while reading, or while driving leads to mindless eating. Reserve the kitchen or dining-room table for meals and pay attention to the delicious flavors and aromas in your meal.
10. Rate your hunger - Determine how hungry – or satisfied – you feel before you eat, halfway through a meal, and after you finish. Stop eating when you feel about 70% full.
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