When you are trying to lose weight, you might think that eating less is the best way to go. But how do you scale back your portions without going too hungry? The answer is by tricking your brain. There are several strategies that you can use to convince your brain that you are not hungry. This way you will feel full throughout the day without eating too much food.
Consumer psychologist, Dr. Anel Tal said “The problem with a lot of diets, or plans to eat healthier is that they rely on willpower, so I’m going to force myself not to eat something”
"Instead of that, what we say is, design your environment and your life in a way that you are not going to need to rely on willpower as much as possible," For example: put healthier food In a more visible and accessible place.
“If I opened the fridge, if something is right in front of my eyes, I’m likely to get it than if it wasn’t visible” Dr. Anel added. “Most of our food decisions are not determined by our rational, conscious choice, but rather by just reacting to the environment”
Dr. Anel says “As consumers, we can easily help ourselves by tricking ourselves into healthier choices”
27 tips to eat less and feel full
Use smaller plates
Studies have proved that using smaller plates will help you eat less food and feel full. If you have a large plate but it’s empty, you feel like you haven’t gotten a lot of food and you’ll trick your brain that you haven’t eaten enough. While if you have a smaller plate that has the same quantity of food you’ll trick your brain into feeling full because you’ll feel like you’ve gotten a lot of food.
Use lighter plates
Holding a heavy plate will make you not notice how much food you put on it and therefore you are going to add more food and then eat more.
Don’t watch TV while you eat
“The more distracted you are, the more you’ll mindlessly eat.” Dr. Anel added. You’ll continue eating while watching TV without realizing how much you have eaten. By focusing on what you are eating, you’ll learn to send signals into your brain of how much exactly you are eating.
Cut your food into more pieces
Dr. Anel said, “The number of units you think you have eaten tells you how full you should be.” So the next time you decide to eat, try to cut your food into smaller pieces rather than one big piece. This will trick your brain into feeling full because you have eaten a lot of pieces.
Drink more water
Drinking a glass of water or other non-calorie beverages or even maybe a low-fat glass of milk right before your meal will help you feel full sooner when eating that meal. Also, consider drinking when you think that you are hungry. Our thirst mechanism is a little bit behind, so instead of waiting to feel thirsty, try to drink that fluid or that water in between meals or while you are tired or bored or feeling that urge to snack, try to drink water first.
Look for high fiber foods
Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Our body naturally can not digest fiber which means it stays with us longer and causes other foods to digest slower as well.
Because it stays with us longer, we feel fuller longer and therefore suppressing our appetite in between meals.
Again fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The least processed you can get a product the better. So even pasta, for instance, can be a great option if they are less processed and used with whole grain wheat flour versus processed or enriched flour. Check your ingredient labels to look for the word “whole grain” on those packages.
Coffee has been shown in the research to mildly help suppress the appetite, and if in the middle of the afternoon you feel tired and hungry, have a cup of coffee. It can help pick you up, and will often help to minimize hunger.
Eat more protein-rich food
There are two main reasons why protein can help you feel fuller for longer, number one: It takes slightly longer to break down than carbohydrates. Number two: When you eat protein, certain hormones are released which help regulate and control your appetite. So, for each of your main meals try to include a quality source of lean protein, and if you are having snacks for the day, try to add some protein there too. Don’t just make them largely carbohydrate-based, because the addition of protein is going to help you feel fuller.
Don’t shop when you are hungry
When you shop when you are hungry, you get a higher proportion of higher sugar, higher-calorie food. And if you have to shop while you are hungry, then simply use a shopping list. Have a predefined list, and stick to that list.
Deprivation always backfires
“If you are going to a party and you can not have a cake, because you are on a diet, that creates a feeling of deprivation and a lot of times that leads people to break their diets or binge afterward.” Dr. Anel said.
Eat more slowly
It takes time for the signals from your stomach to get to your brain that you are full. Without that signal, we eat past our actual fullness. Instead, try to eat slower. It takes 20 minutes for the hunger hormones to get the message that you have eaten. By eating slower, you may feel full before you finish your plate.
One study found that people who ate faster took bigger bites and ate more calories overall. Another study found that participants who ate food slowly were more satiating than those who ate quickly.
Don’t eat right out of the box or bag
Instead of eating right out of the box, take a portion of that food and put it on a plate, and then eat. This will reduce the amount of food that you are going to eat every time. For example, if you have potato chips, don’t just grab the whole bag and think you’ll only have a handful. Instead, grab a small bowl or plate and take only as many chips as you want to eat. After that, if you still have a craving, it feels like too much work to go grab another portion.
High-fiber foods are important when it comes to feeling full for a longer time. They are digested slowly in your gut and help to add bulk to foods. Carrots, leafy greens snd celery are excellent choices, but artichokes sit at the top of the pack. A single medium artichoke serves up to 40 percent of your daily required fiber intake.
Recent research found that specific compounds, known as thylakoids, found in the membranes of spinach leaves may be a powerful appetite suppressant. The study found that a drink that contained spinach reduced women’s cravings for snacks and sweets.
Eating fats won’t always make you fat. Avocados are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that stop your hunger and let you feel fuller. A study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch noticed a 40 percent decreased desire for food for hours afterward. These magical unsaturated fats can also prevent the storage of belly fats. According to a new study from the University of Florida, The more belly fat you have, the harder it is to control your appetite.
According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, eating oatmeal results in a greater feeling of satiety than cold breakfast cereal. In one Canadian study, researchers found that those whose diets were supplemented with insoluble fibers, like oatmeal, felt fuller for longer times.
Chickpea hummus, which is packed with satiating protein, is a powerful appetite suppressor. A review, published in the journal Obesity, discovered that participants who consumed legumes daily felt as much as 31 percent fuller than those who did not.
Cinnamon has been found to maintain your fasting blood glucose levels, according to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food. When blood glucose levels are constant for longer, your body won’t trigger the release of the hormone hunger ghrelin.
They might be small, but raspberries are a hunger fighter. A study in the journal Appetite found that young women who consumed a 65-calorie cup of berries ate about 20 percent less food an hour later than women who ate the same number of calories in candy. Eating berries won’t just help you control your cravings, it will ward off overeating too. The reason is that a cup of raspberries provides 8 grams of satiating fibers.
Greek yogurt packs over 20 grams of satiating protein and 20 percent of your daily calcium need. Without enough calcium in your body, you are more likely to feel anxiety and depression, which in turn increase hunger hormone levels.
Add some nuts or oats to add a crunch to the creamy yogurt, because chewing helps boost satiety.
Tasty, portable, and full of satiating protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Trail mix is one of the best foods to help you fight hunger and feel full for a long time. Snacking can help you control your appetite at mealtimes by keeping blood-sugar levels stable and your metabolism humming which reduces fat storage in the body.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is good as well to help you feel less hungry. Typically with a full night’s sleep, our body’s metabolism works just a little bit better and helps to maintain us with that regular hunger cue versus our natural daily plan.
Studies found that too little sleep can increase the feeling of hunger and food cravings. Sleep deprivation can also cause an elevation in the hunger hormone ghrelin, as well as the appetite-regulating hormone leptin.
Exercise can be a bit of an appetite suppressant as well. Snack a little bit before but not a ton, get good exercise, and it will help to moderate your calories overall. Scientists believe that exercise reduces the activation of brain regions linked to food cravings, which can result in a lower motivation to eat high-calorie foods, and a higher motivation to eat low-calorie foods.
Spice up your meals
Eating spicy food may help you eat less. Capsaicin, a compound found in hot peppers, can actually help reduce appetite and hunger.
In one study, participants who consumed spicy food ate fewer calories during lunch and snacks than those who skipped the spice. Another study found that participants who drank ginger tea during breakfast felt less hungry than those who skipped the ginger tea.
Be aware of office danger zones
There always are going to be people at your office that just say have another piece of cake, have this bacon rule, or one more won’t hurt, and you probably know where these people come together, it might be at the coffee machine or the water fountain. Try to avoid these areas. If you know there is an area that not going to be great for you, somewhere that can often throw you off track just try to avoid it.
Manage your stress level
Excess stress is responsible for the elevation of cortisol. High cortisol levels are thought to elevate the motivation to eat, and they have been linked to weight gain. Stress can also decrease the levels of peptide YY, a fullness hormone. Reducing your stress levels can help decrease food cravings and protect you against depression and obesity.
Change your mindset
Realize that you are going to feel hungry at some points but this is okay, you don’t always have a full belly, although sometimes you’ll make poorer decisions when you are hungry, that’s only because it’s a new system, and your brain didn’t get used to it yet. Realize that being hungry sometimes fine,
just try to be attentive to the difference between actual hunger and boredom.
So, the next time you feel hungry, ask yourself: am I hungry or am I bored?
The bottom line
Eating less food doesn’t have to mean feeling hungry. By tricking your mind you can adopt a new system where you can eat less and feel fuller. Try eating more proteins and high fiber foods, drinking more water, and using smaller plates. As for every new habit, you may suffer at the beginning, but later it will be a normal thing to do every day.