How to suppress appetite…
It’s a common problem.
And a common question.
We know hunger sucks when trying to lose weight. It can be a very common reason for why people stray off their plan and don’t see the results they want.
Luckily there a few things you can do to try and keep it at bay.
Let’s dive in to them now!!
Protein is the most powerful of all the three macro-nutrients for suppressing appetite. One study showed that increasing protein intake from 15%-30% of subjects diets led to an average 441 spontaneous reduction in how many calories they ate!! (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16002798/)
A lot of people don’t eat enough protein. Making sure to get an good amount in at each meal can really reduce hunger (and also help to reduce muscle loss whilst dieting).
Good sources of protein include meats, seafood, eggs, tofu, tempeh, soy, cottage cheese and greek yoghurt (particularly the fat-free variations) and protein powders.
Just like protein, high fibre intakes can help you to stop feeling hungry all the time.
Good sources of fibre include fruit, veg, lentils, chickpeas, avocados, whole-grains, oats, beans.
Lots of people swear by water for helping them to feel full.
There are studies that show water can help (if only a little) and I know a lot of people have said this anecdotally in their own lives too.
One tip I have given before is to try drinking 500 ml of water before a meal. And this has worked for some.
A great bonus of this strategy is that if you do this before 4 meals a day, you’ll get in 2 Litres of water without really thinking about it. This can be a great way to increase your water intake if you struggle with doing so. And who knows?! You might even get an added satiety benefit from it too.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, both quality and quantity. Lack of either has been shown to increase appetite the following day, as well as increasing your drive to eat high sugar, high fat, calorie dense foods (so basically the junk food that we already struggle with restraining ourselves from at the best of times!!).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This has some evidence for suppressing appetite. Notice I said black and not coffee with 1000 calories added to it!!
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Has shown some signs of being able to blunt hunger acutely. Not too bad for your health either!!
Slow eating is also a great tool. You may have heard that it takes your brain and gut about 20 mins to come together and decide you’re full. I can place a bet that most people don’t take 10 minutes to eat their food, let alone 20. Slow your eating down.
Eat without distractions like the tv, laptop or phone. Actually pay attention to the food you’re eating and enjoy it (rather than going for your next mouthful and suddenly realising it’s all gone and not even remembering a single bite!!). Even push it away from you for 5 minutes if you have to. I can personally attest to how much of a difference this strategy can make and there is some evidence that this is the case too.
Yep, good old spuds!! They ranked #1 on a satiety index of common foods (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7498104/). Just try and eat a really large amount of them and you’ll see why! You’ll be full for hours!! (note that the study used plain, boiled potatoes. Loading them with mountains of butter and sour cream won’t have the same effect).
Consistent Meal Patterns
Regular eating times can also help. Your body recognises patterns and if you always eat at around the same time it will release hunger hormones in anticipation of incoming food. By sticking to roughly the same time each day you avoid getting hunger signals not long after eating.
Addressing Psychological Hunger
Be aware that there is a massive psychological aspect to hunger as well, one that is so strong it can override the physiological drive to stop eating and produce cravings that seemingly come out of nowhere.
Feeling hungry doesn’t always mean you have to eat. Are you really hungry? Do you have a physiological need to eat (hint; if you’ve not long eaten, you don’t!!). Or are you just craving something because it’s right in-front of you, you know how damn good it is, or it solves an emotional need for you?
This is something that we’ll go in depth on in a future article.
How To Suppress Appetite?!
Well know you know some ways to stop those feelings of hunger.
Keep in mind that hunger has huge inter-individual differences. Some will feel it a lot. Some not so much.
And even if you do everything I have outlined in this article you might still feel some hunger.
Increasing hunger is one of the tools the brain uses to make it harder for you to lose weight and keep it off.
It’s a starvation response designed to prevent us from dying. Unfortunately, our non-conscious brain doesn’t know we’re on a diet, it just sees you losing weight and battles to prevent it so we don’t starve.
This is a misalignment of our ancestral brain circuits with our modern food environment.
The same brain circuits that helped us survive in ancestral times now drive us to overeat in the modern world.
This is something we’ll go in to more detail on in future articles!
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Now you know how to suppress appetite, but maybe you’re struggling with other aspects of your health and fitness journey?!
If so, you can find more health and weight loss tips, and also some healthy recipes, by looking at the other articles in the blog section of my website by clicking here
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