When you are on a weight loss regimen or are trying to maintain your body weight, the prime step to take is to control your hunger and decrease your overall intake of calories. Most people get attracted to crash dieting as it leads to rapid weight loss in initial few days but in reality it might turn out to be a major set-back to your overall health.  Crash dieting can cause deficiency of many vital nutrients that may affect your health in a longer run. So it is a big no-no for all those looking for major weight loss goals.

Consulting a Dietitian and planning a proper diet routine is highly recommended if you are serious about your weight loss and need assurance regarding your health but that could cost you money. Weight loss planning obviously involves cutting down the amount of food or the calories but this has to be done scientifically to make sure that your weight loss is gradual and healthy and the planning  does not turn out to be a failure.

A big problem that a person faces in weight loss is to adapt to the changed routine of eating or to control hunger in face of the sudden urge for bingeing which if not looked after can dismiss your entire efforts of weight loss. There has to be a disciplined approach towards your goal and by considering the points mentioned below you may have an easy road to follow for weight reduction.

Let us have a look of what can be done to cut down calories or control your appetite.

  1. Water: Drinking a good amount of water any ways is beneficial for health and so in weight loss. Having a glass of water before every meal will reduce your appetite to a significant amount. Scientific studies reveal that drinking only 500 ml of water before meal is sufficient enough to stretch the stomach to send signals of fullness to brain. But be careful to not drink water in between or after your meal as it will hamper the meal digestion. Take water breaks throughout the day. Starting your meal with soup also does the same work but be sure of the calorie intake.
  2. Eat more fibre: Fibre rich foods such as whole grains, whole pulses and legumes with skin, fruits and leafy veggies makes you feel full early by stretching your stomach. It also empties at a slow pace keeping you full for a longer duration.
  3. Eat more protein:Protein rich foods take more time to get digested in comparison to carbohydrate and fat and also give lesser calories. So a diet with protein will be beneficial especially during breakfast. It will keep you feeling full for longer time.
  4. Choose the right fat: Omega 3 fatty acids as found in fish or fish liver oils are the healthier version of fats. A diet rich in omega 3 fats may also increase fullness after meals when calories are restricted. Other options for healthy fats may include olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil and even mustard oil.
  5. Cut down the fizzy drink: These are always a tempting option when you are thirsty or need a respite from summer sun but this is when you add to the calorie intake. It is always better to stick to plain water for quenching thirst or frozen fruit popsicles if you feel like having something cool. In this way you may stick to your lowered calorie diet plan.
  6. Lesser salt: Excess intake of salt leads to retention of water in the body leading to swelling and increased blood pressure. Reduce the salt content of your diet and be safe.
  7. Spice up your food: Low calorie diet doesn’t always mean a boring bland diet. Add herbs and spices to your recipes to make it interesting and tempting too. Good selection of herbs like coriander, mint, cilantro, oregano, thyme, basil; and spices like cinnamon, pepper, clove, turmeric, cardamom, etc. will not only add to the taste quotient but will also enhance its nutritional value.
  8. Do not have longer food breaks: Try not to delay your meal timing; in fact distribute your meals throughout the day. Try having small meals which will help you to cut down your cravings and keep you feeling full in between your larger meals.
  9. Snack in right way: A person may feel hungry after breakfast or post dinner if the working schedules are little different from usual. These hunger prangs are triggered either due to constant changing working schedules, your mood or even by the thought or sight of food. If you have a proper meal plan then your dietitian must have accommodated in between snacks so that you do not end up bingeing unhealthy or junk. Healthy snacking hence should be the agenda. A whole fruit, a bowl of fruit salad or sprouts, granola bar or dry roasted nuts like almond, pistachios or berries can solve the purpose.
  10. Practice “Hara Hachibu”: This is an age old practice of Japanese culture which implies filling your stomach just 80% of your appetite. The residents of Okiwana Island in Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world all because they have ritually followed Hara Hachi Bu through years. 
  11. Eat Mindfully: It is must to watch what you eat but it is also necessary how you eat. For example using a smaller size of plate will automatically reduce the portion size and it will be a sort of embarrassment if you keep on refilling it. Other practices like chewing your food a little more and savouring each bite will make you feel full a little earlier. Eating while watching television or doing work may lead you to eat more.  Brain needs time to catch signals about feeling of fullness. So keep a watch of what you eat and how much you eat. Also chew your morsel a little extra to relish the taste and give time to your stomach to send proper signals to your brain.
  12. Early to bed: This is an age old golden rule. If you sleep early the hunger prangs of night will automatically reduce. The night owls have a little more habit of bingeing leading to excess intake of calories and gaining weight. If possible, try to sleep after two hours of having dinner.
  13. Let this be a family goal: When you decide to reduce weight, involve your family members in your goal. If your loved ones are supportive and participate in your weight loss goal, your efforts will be more fruitful. You will get the necessary motivation and the required help always around you.

When you are determined about weight loss or checking on your calorie intake, be sure you contact a Dietitian who will help you in planning and implementing a proper diet schedule.

PN: The article first published on 27.08.2020 at “Top 12 Ways To Suppress and Control Appetite

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