One of the biggest hurdles on a weight loss journey is a constant feeling of hunger. Sometimes we crave any specific foods or maybe just having a big appetite that make any dieting very challenging. That’s why I’ve created this post on how to suppress appetite and hunger.
And even though I am against any restrictive short-term diets I know that sometimes you have to follow a certain meal plan in order to achieve your fitness goals or to improve health. In this case, you may struggle with hunger or intense cravings for bad foods.
There are some ways you can overcome that. But just keep in mind that this article focuses on physical hunger, not on emotional aspects of our cravings for food. If you want to learn more about emotional eating, check my blog post “How to stop overeating“.
Alright, let’s dive right in!
Start your day with protein and fats
Insulin plays a critical role in the body, helping your body to use glucose from the carbohydrates you consume and convert it into energy. However, when insulin levels are elevated, it causes inflammation and weight gain, along with increased feelings of hunger.
Women with PCOS especially have to control their insulin levels. This is even more crucial in the morning as our utilization of insulin in the morning is not optimal. That’s why it’s better to avoid foods high in carbs and sugars for breakfast. Instead, choose lean protein and healthy fats.
In my 7-day Meal Plan I offer low-carb breakfasts, dinners and lunches that will help to reduce appretite. You can download it for free here:
Research has indicated that consuming additional protein in the first meal of the day leads to lower blood sugar and reduced appetite throughout the day. Protein generally leaves you with a feeling of fullness which reduces your appetite and your total calorie consumption, and leads to fat loss over time.
Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates do, which may explain how eating protein can suppress appetite. The research also indicates that the more protein you consume, the longer its effects may last. Protein intake in the morning may be beneficial for people who struggle with mid-afternoon cravings, or those who need help managing and losing weight.
Fats are also beneficial for your hormonal health so it’s recommended that people get their healthful fats from natural sources such as nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive oil.
If snacking is a part of your daily routine, you may want to choose snacks that are high-protein rather than high-carb. Snacks with high protein content may suppress hunger and provide fullness which usually leads to decreased caloric intake later in the day. Some ideas may include nuts and seeds, almond butter with berries, boiled eggs, and baked chickpeas.
Eat nutrient-dense meals
As a general rule, you have constant hunger when your body lacks of nutrients. When you’re obtaining the proper nutrients in the right amounts, you may not have cravings at all.
Make sure you eat a variety of foods for every meal. You need to provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals so it doesn’t crave anything more. A well-balanced diet should include lots of fresh vegetables, salads, healthy fats, proteins
A good idea is to incorporate fiber into your diet. We do not have the digestive enzymes to digest fiber, so it doesn’t get broken down in the body. It passes directly through to the intestines where it absorbs water. Because of the way fiber acts in the body, it usually takes lots of time to digest it. This leaves your body feeling fuller, longer. Fiber acts as an appetite suppressant. High-fiber diets are also associated with lower obesity rates.
Healthful high-fiber foods include: whole grains, beans and pulses, apples and avocados, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and vegetables. Eating a lot of fibrous foods will make you feel fuller without adding additional calories to your diet.
Foods with high water content are another option for feeling full and hydrated without adding unnecessary calories. These water-rich foods include celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), peaches and oranges.
Drink teas to suppress hunger
Some drinks and herbs help to reduce appretite and stop cravings for sugar and carbs. The best choices are green tea, ginger tea, spearmint tea and cinnamon tea.
Ginger has been linked to many health benefits. These include reductions in nausea, muscle pain, inflammation
Green tea is a great option as it is a natural way to suppress appetite and to boost your metabolism. It contains an amazing phytonutrient called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) that increases the hormone CCK (cholecystokinin), which is responsible for creating the feeling of satiation. When you feel full between meals, you are less likely to eat and therefore to gain weight. EGCG also stimulates your metabolism by activating thermogenesis, which means your cells are burning energy – including fat!
Drinking spearmint (or peppermint tea) makes us feel satiated for a long time so that we don’t feel hungry later in the day. The strong scent of peppermint is known to suppress appetite and reduce cravings. Studies show that the mint scent serves as a distraction from hunger pains and may help curb false hunger cravings, like the kind you might experience when you’re bored or procrastinating. When you’re in the mood for a snack, try a cup of peppermint tea instead. It’s also proven that spearmint tea helps to balance hormones so women with PCOS should definitely try it!
Cinnamon also naturally reduces sugar cravings. This is due to the high polyphenol content, which controls blood glucose levels. When using cinnamon, the insulin spikes that typically occur after a meal are lessened, and therefore the hunger following a spike is less too. Cinnamon is also high in manganese. Manganese can be beneficial for menstrual symptoms, including a reduction in mood swings and cramps
Drink green vegetable juices
Drinking homemade juices may assist in suppressing appetite and cravings as well as in providing our body with vitamins and minerals it needs.
Fresh vegetable juices and green juices are full of amazing nutrients, enzymes, and phytonutrients. They help to repair, heal and strengthen your body. They are also alkalizing, low in sugar, and help cleanse, detox and restore your body.
Many research studies point to the positive effects of plant-based diets and green juice on illness and chronic diseases.
Just start by drinking fresh green juices every morning. Eventually, you will no longer crave junk food and sugar. One green juice per day will lead to positive changes in your health.
The best ingredients for juices are celery, kale, spinach, fresh ginger, cucumber, and lemon. Make sure you avoid fruits. When fruits are juiced their fiber is removed and you will get too much sugar that you don’t need.
Even if you don’t have time for juicing try to eat as many leafy greens as possible. Leafy greens are excellent for suppressing hunger and sugar cravings. They are high in chromium, a nutrient that’s necessary for healthy blood sugar regulation. Add 3-5 cups of leafy greens such as spinach, romaine, and kale if you’re new to eating so many greens, but also don’t leave out the more bitter collards, Swiss chard, arugula, and even mustard or turnip greens if you’re up to trying them!
Try natural appetite suppressants
Appetite suppressants help some people, though not everyone. People overeat for many reasons, only one of which is hunger. Other reasons for overeating include emotional eating, mindless eating, or sedentary behavior. These behaviors are also associated with being overweight and obese.
Instead try some of the following natural appetite suppressants:
Organic red wine or apple cider vinegar may be helpful. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) regulates digestion and reduces ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger pains. With ACV you’ll feel full for longer. ACV also helps to reduce the blood sugar spike that happens when we
Leafy greens and dark chocolate. Chocolate cravings often indicate a magnesium deficiency. Eat more leafy green veggies and sugar-free dark chocolate. They’re full of magnesium, and can help you fight off stress and discourage intense cravings.
Spirulina is low in calories, protein-rich, anti-inflammatory, appetite-suppressing, blood lipid-lowering, and blood pressure-lowering powder. It also contains lots of vitamins and minerals so try to include it in your diet.
Coconut oil has a good impact on blood lipid levels and may even help reduce tummy fat. Loaded with healthy fats, coconut oil reduces bad blood cholesterol levels, improves digestion, and boosts overall immunity while helping keep you full. But eat coconut in moderation as it is high in calories.
Flaxseed is a great source of protein and is also full of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Though tiny, this nutritional powerhouse may help to suppress your appetite. Flaxseeds are really beneficial for women with PCOS and they reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar levels.
Spinach extract is made from spinach leaves. Research has shown that 3.7-5 grams of spinach extract, when taken with food, can reduce food cravings and suppress the appetite for up to several hours.
Try some of these methods and see how they work for you. If you are suffering from hormonal imbalances or insulin resistance, I definitely recommend to start with a low-carb breakfast and adding more protein to your meals/snacks. Then you can try other ways to suppress hunger that I’ve mentioned in this post. I truly believe they will help you!
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