On a Quest to Slim Down? How to Not Want to Eat All Day Long
It's time for me to say goodbye to those last pounds of baby weight that have been holding on for dear life ever since — wait a sec — who am I kidding? I've had them ever since I lost those 40 pounds from college; they just don't want to let go! I'm on a mission, though. I've upped my fitness game and am eating much healthier, but damn — I can't stop thinking about food! I want to eat all the time. If this sounds familiar, these tips should help you to step away from the fridge.
- Eat more often: If your mind is always on food, eat more often but go for smaller amounts of food. Instead of three large meals, eat three mini meals and have snacks in between. This ensures that you're noshing on something every two to three hours. Just make sure you're being mindful of the hunger scale, eating the right amount that leaves you satisfied but not overly stuffed and hungry for the next meal or snack.
- Include these: It's not how much you eat that fills you up, it's the types of food. Make sure each meal and snack include a good amount of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These will keep you more satisfied than something that's full of simple carbs. For a filling snack, a handful of raw almonds and golden raisins keeps me satisfied longer than a few crackers.
- Eat your cravings: Don't deny yourself the foods you love — you'll end up thinking about them all the time. If you're jonesing for pizza but ate a salad instead, you're going to still feel mentally hungry, which in my opinion can be a million times stronger than physical hunger. Find healthier ways to satisfy those cravings like these lightened-up versions of your favorite comfort food recipes. Or for other cravings, once a day splurge on a little piece of chocolate, a few salty chips, a spoonful of ice cream, or a bit of wine. Having a little taste every day will calm those cravings so they don't take over your thoughts.
- Go low: Eating foods that are low in calories is a no-brainer. But really, do it! It'll take you much longer to eat an enormous salad or a big bowl of brothy veggie bean soup, so your brain has time to register that it's full.
- Cut down on sugar: Eating sugar makes you crave it even more, and because sugary foods are void of nutrition, you end up feeling hungry soon after eating them. Go for natural sugars in the form of fruits instead with a high water count to help fill you up such as melons, strawberries, or grapefruit. Or if the real deal is calling your name, try these healthy dessert recipes like chocolate doughnuts made with chickpeas.
- Find a hobby: If you tend to eat when you're bored, instead of grabbing a box of crackers, grab a set of knitting needles, pick up a guitar, or take out that scrapbook you started months ago. Just 10 minutes of distraction is usually enough to take your mind off eating so you realize you weren't actually hungry.
- Work it: Daily exercise can keep your mind on the healthy path, so when you want to reach for something to eat later, you'll think twice, not wanting to undo all the work you just did.
- Break bad habits: If you mindlessly eat in front of the computer or you crave a bowl of ice cream every time you sit in front of the TV, it's time to turn around those food-driven behaviors. Step away from your computer and eat lunch with a friend — eating with company is proven to help people eat less. And sit down on the couch with a hot cup of tea or some frozen grapes, or better yet, squelch your need to nibble by burning some calories doing this 10-minute couch workout while watching TV.
- Reach for a bottle: If you're the kind of person who can't deal with the slightest feeling of hunger, keep a reusable water bottle on hand to sip every 10 minutes or so. It'll fill your belly until your next meal or snack.
- Chew, chew, chew: If you reach for food because your mouth needs to keep busy, grab a piece of gum instead. And go for mint — the fresh breath might prevent you from reaching for noshables that would ruin that clean feeling.
- Dream away: Feeling tired increases hunger and the desire for not-so-healthy foods, so make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night.