by Caroline Gibbs, Big City Chefs Food Writer
I think we can all agree that dieting can be easy…if we weren’t so hungry all the time! As America’s premier private chef agency, creators of recipes for (VH1 Celebrity Fit Club panelist) Dr. Ian Smith’s New York Times bestseller The Fat Smash Diet, and experts at helping our private chef clients reach their nutritional objectives, here are ten easy tricks to naturally curb that hunger and keep you reaching your weight loss goals.
1. Let’s start at the beginning. Breakfast. It’s the first and most important meal of the day, so make it power-packed. Avoid the temptation of pancakes and syrup and take advantage of delicious low-carb, high-fiber breakfast favorites.
· Try a whole grain “quick” oatmeal mixed with natural peanut butter and flaxseed, topped with fresh fruit like blueberries, or whatever fruit is in season. If you have a little more time, opt to make Irish Steel Cut Oats for more fiber.
· Omelets and scrambles are always healthy and filling options. 3 whole eggs is great, but 4 egg whites is even better (avoid processed egg substitutes). Pack your scramble or omelet full of fresh veggies like bell peppers, asparagus, spinach and tomatoes. To top it off, add some Swiss or Emmental cheese, which is the lowest fat natural cheese (avoid defatted cheeses that are rubbery and processed)
2. Before eating out at restaurants, try drinking 12 ounces of water 15 minutes before sitting down to your table. It will start to fill you up and curb that voracious appetite.
3. Limit your alcohol intake. Not only is alcohol a source of fat and calories (alcohol has 7 calories/gram versus carbohydrates which have 4 calories/gram), it tends to inhibit your ability to put on the brakes… when it comes to eating that is. Drinking is of course, a large aspect of social culture, and is in many cases unavoidable. So instead of forgoing drinking altogether, simply drink in moderation and make the smartest alcohol choices, i.e. a glass of red or white wine, which are less fatty than beer and have been shown to have additional nutritional benefits such as antioxidants.
4. Bring your own snacks to work. It’s really easy just to pick up a bag of chips from the office kitchen or to grab a sugary pastry while you get your coffee but these snacks will only leave you wanting more. A well balanced snack will leave you feeling fuller longer, so trying bringing a snack from home that includes carbohydrates, protein and a little bit of fat.
· A pear or an apple with some cheese or some low fat yogurt
· Celery with natural peanut butter
· High-fiber and high-antioxidant fruits like blueberries or strawberries with a small side of low fat cottage cheese or yogurt
5. Find a new hobby. Keeping your mind off of food is half the battle so do yourself a favor and keep your mind busy with a new activity or hobby. Try finding a class or activity at your peak snacking hours (like right after work and before dinner) to keep your body and mind active and away from the refrigerator. For at home and daily distractions, try finding an activity that’s easy to pick up and put down whenever you feel the urge to snack, such as reading (try joining a book club to keep you on track), organizing projects (take on that box of photos that’s been sitting in your closet for years) or more creative endeavors like making jewelry or painting.
6. For a quick fix, try using a peppermint aromatherapy oil to help curb your appetite. Studies have shown that smelling peppermint when hungry or before a meal has tended to lessen one’s appetite and resulted in a decreased calorie intake as a result.
7. Try aerobic exercise. It may seem counterintuitive to think that exercising makes you less hungry, but studies show that aerobic exercise actually leaves you feeling less hungry in the hours after your work out than if you hadn’t worked out at all. Taking a thirty-minute jog not only helps stave off those cravings but you burn some calories in the process!
8. Be sure to eat something every three to four hours. Curbing your appetite isn’t about starving yourself – it’s about keeping you from binging on those things you’d wish you hadn’t. Keep yourself satiated throughout the day by having a small bite of something every few hours. The snacks suggested above are good ideas, and just keep in mind that the healthier and better balanced the snack, the longer you’ll stay full.
9. Wait 20 minutes. Always wait a good 10 to 20 minutes (longer is better) before going back for your second helping. If you’re with friends, engage in conversation about a topic that will keep you interested long enough to judge whether or not you are really full. If you’re alone, pick up a book or newspaper and tell yourself to finish at least three articles or a whole chapter before you go back for me. You’ll probably find you aren’t as hungry as you thought.
10. Don’t stress. Over-eating is often an emotional reaction to stress and anxiety, so instead of simply treating the symptoms by curbing your appetite, try and treat the cause.
· When at work, take a couple of minutes to alleviate tension by giving yourself a hand massage. Hands hold a lot of tension and both reflexology and acupressure suggest that relieving tension in your hands can promote better overall body wellness.
· Focus on your breathing. Take a minute to gather your thoughts and take a few deep breaths. We often become so busy that we fail to notice our breathing has become rapid and shallow, often resulting in headaches and can increase one’s sense of anxiety. Take the time to slow it down when you’re feeling frantic and you’ll find yourself feeling better instantly.