Not to be confused with intentionally depriving yourself of vital nutrients, learning how to control your appetite is a healthy way to manage your body weight and minimize your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders and cancer.
Appetite control is not about starvation: it's about balance, and really, this balance is at the heart of every healthy lifestyle. As you read on to learn how to manage your appetite, keep in mind that we're not saying to deny yourself food if you're truly hungry. The appetite control strategies outlined here are methods you can use to keep your body nourished better, for longer, so you can avoid regularly overeating. (As for the occasional instances of over-eating, that's just part of being human. Don't sweat that stuff.)
Let's get to it then: here are your top tips to control your appetite.
1) Eat TONS of Whole Foods
Whole foods are foods which have not been processed. Raw nuts and honey. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Quinoa, barely and brown rice. These are solid examples of whole foods. When you eat these foods in all their natural glory, you get more of the vital nutrients your body needs to run optimally. You also get more fibre, which takes your body longer to digest and therefore keeps you satisfied for longer. So, while that unsweetened apple sauce is good for you, for example, and apple is better, since it hasn't been processed (boiled) retained more of it's natural goodness, notably, fiber.
Also, unprocessed meat and nuts and seeds are solid ways to curb appetite, since they are amazing sources of protein and healthy fat that has also been shown to keep us fuller, longer.
2) Drink Lots of Water
Thirst is easily confused with hunger, and a common cause of overeating. If you find yourself feeling hungry and you just ate, try drinking a large glass of water before you go for the grub. Wait 15 minutes. If you're still hungry, make a healthy food choice. But, if you're not, you'll know you just need to continue to be diligent about staying hydrated.
3) Enjoy Your Java
The caffeine in your daily java makes coffee a much-lauded appetite suppressant, and a great way to stave off hunger. Remember: we're not condoning or promoting starving yourself, but, lack of sleep, chronically poor diets and stress can cause our hormones to get out of whack; notably, ghrelin and leptin, which are the chemicals that regulate hunger and satiety, respectively. On the days we're tired and stressed out, we often feel hungrier and crave more food—especially food that's not the greatest for us, since our bodies want sugar, which is super easily converted to energy. A cup of coffee or caffeinated tea can help you control that hunger.
4) Consider Intermittent Fasting (IF)
In the hundreds of years IF has been a common dietary lifestyle, many benefits have been identified. It helps you body burn fat and build muscle. It contributes to improved sleep and brain health. And, if helps control your appetite by helping regulate your hormones. People who regularly IF have lower levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and higher levels of leptin, the satiety hormone. This is not because their bodies are used to deprivation: quite the opposite. IF requires you to eat all your daily calories in an eight hour window, so you're getting all the food you need to be healthy—just in a smaller time frame. Then, in the 16 hours you fast, without the continued burden of digestion among other things, your body can achieve an ideal hormonal balance that supports more controlled eating.
Our Fast & Furiously Fit ebook delves into all of the science surrounding IF, and sets you up with a program (including 40+ meals, snack and dessert recipes) to get you started. If you're interested in trying IF, we can definitely help. Our community is loving the book, and, if you get it now, you can get it for 30% less when you use promo code FASTED30.
Exercise has been shown to reduce your appetite. What now? Yep! You don't get hungrier when you work out: exercise controls your appetite by suppressing hormones relating to hunger. So, while you should always be sure to fuel your body to support your lean gains, you don’t have to worry that working out will make you eat more than necessary.
Learn more about proper pre and post workout nutrition here. And, if you want an entire, fool-proof plan for exceptional workout nutrition, grab the ebook. It talks macro-timing and carb-cycling, so you can get every edge you need for your stronger, fitter body. Even if you don’t want to fast, the dietary wisdom is still relevant.
6) Catch Your Z’s
Sleep crops up in just about everything we write about fat loss and weight management. This is because it is one of the best ways to control hunger and perform better in life, and at the gym. When we sleep, our bodies rest and reset hormones. Without proper it, we’re all out of whack. Studies show that people who get enough sleep have less body fat and are better able to control their hunger. So, if you’re serious about learning how to control your appetite, hit the sheets, and catch some Zzzs.And remember: we’re here for you too, with the guidance (and the guide) you need to get and stay on top of your goals. Join our Insider’s Group if you feel you need support from your #FitFam. And, if you have hacks on how to safely and healthily control your appetite, share them in the comments! We’d love to hear them.