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Foods That Can Suppress Appetite And Help With Weight Loss

Foods That Can Suppress Appetite And Help With Weight Loss

Committing to exercise is only one facet of living a healthy lifestyle. Some of our biggest health challenges center around our food choices- especially when we’re feeling hungry.

When we’re trying to make positive dietary changes in our diet, it’s tough to resist the temptation of snack food. The hungrier we become, the more likely we are to eat whatever is available. One minute, you’re eating a snack to relieve your hunger pangs, and the next, you’re mindlessly chowing down on an entire bag of chips.

I remember one night early in my wellness journey when I had to work so hard to suppress my appetite. It was around 2 AM, and I woke up feeling so hungry that I couldn’t go back to sleep. The likely culprit for this intense hunger was the unfulfilling dinner I had eaten the night before. I ended up reaching for snack foods and eating way more than I should have to quell my hunger.

Its not how much you eat, but what you eat that makes a difference

My efforts to clean up my diet and get fit initially centered around eating less, but I kept having repeats of that 2 AM snack attack scenario. After some trial and error, I discovered that caloric restriction and portion control is not a sustainable means of curbing hunger. It wasn’t how much I ate, but what I ate that helped me rein in my insatiable appetite.

Calories are just units of energy, but they don’t tell us anything about the nutritional value of the food we eat.[1] You can eat 500 calories of fries or 500 calories of apple slices, but the outcome of each choice is different. If you opted for the fries, there’s a good chance you’d be reaching for another snack sooner than if you had gone for the apple slices.

5 Common Snack Choices That Will Leave You Hungrier In The Long Run

I discovered that many of the things that I was eating wouldn’t relieve my hunger long-term. An hour after a snack, you’d find me prowling around in my kitchen to find something else to eat. Here are some of the ways that I tried and failed to satisfy my hunger.

1. Artificial Sweeteners

    When I decided that I wanted to lose weight, I immediately started consuming products made with artificial sweeteners. I put Sweet n’ Low in my coffee, and I drank diet soda. It seemed like a great way to cut corners and still enjoy the things I loved.

    This flawed thinking has destroyed many health plans. When you consume artificial sweeteners, your taste buds may be satisfied, but your brain is not. Artificial sweeteners leave the body craving actual sugar even more intensely than if you’d just had a regular soda.[2] You’ll wind up reaching for snacks more throughout the day to make up for the sugar you didn’t have.

    2. Juices

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      This one is tricky. Most of us feel like juice is a healthy alternative to drinking soda. It is made from fruit after all. How bad can it be?

      When you squeeze all the juice out of a piece of fruit, you’re taking the sugar, and leaving the fiber behind. You’ll experience a spike in blood sugar, and you’ll flood your bloodstream with insulin in an attempt to process all that sugar.[3] As your body works to regain equilibrium, your blood sugar will plummet, which will leave you feeling tired and hungry.

      3. Fast Food

        The drive-thru can be tempting even though you know almost nothing good can come from eating fast food. Fast food is loaded with salt, trans fats, and artificial ingredients.

        You may satisfy your immediate need to eat at the drive-thru window, but you’ll end up feeling sluggish later. The high sodium in these foods leaves you bloated, trans fats make it hard for your body to understand when it’s full, and ingredients that you can’t pronounce can have long-term negative consequences on your health.[4]

        4. White Bread

          Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like I’ve eaten until I’ve had a piece of bread or a dinner roll. I didn’t realize that my predisposition to eat white bread would leave me feeling hungrier later.

          Carbohydrates are only half the problem with white bread. Your body treats white bread like a massive influx of sugar. Reach for whole-grain breads, which are loaded with fiber, have a lower glycemic index, and they typically have fewer carbs and calories than white bread.[5]

          5. Salty Snacks like Chips and Pretzels

            Known for their saltiness and satisfying crunch, it can be hard to say no to a pretzel or twenty. Pretzels and chips may not seem that bad for you, but if you mindlessly munch on them, you’ll be raiding the break room for doughnuts in no time.

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            Many salty snacks are full of carbohydrates and processed sugar. They can affect your body in much the same way that white bread does. When you eat that bag of pretzels, your blood sugar spikes, which triggers the release of insulin, which causes your blood sugar to drop.

            The added salt can leave you feeling thirsty, which you might interpret as hunger. Instead of having a glass of water that you need, you set out looking for something else to eat.

            Eat The Right Snacks That Squash Hunger

            After I realized I was reaching for the wrong types of foods, I knew I had to change my eating habits. I educated myself about which snacks would leave me feeling fuller for longer so that I wouldn’t feel hungry all the time. This made it possible for me to end my mindless snacking habits and focus on creating a healthier lifestyle.

            Some of the best snacks for satisfying hunger are full of lean protein. Lean protein leaves you feeling full without consuming lots of extra calories and processed sugar. [6]

            High-fiber foods take longer for your body to break down, which means that your blood sugar will increase gradually and remain stable for longer. [7]. Water-rich foods can also help you feel full while consuming fewer calories, and they’ll keep you hydrated.

            10 Foods To Keep You Feeling Fuller For Longer

            Here are my top-ten go-to snacks for staving off hunger without sacrificing your health goals.

            1. Popcorn

            popcorn

              Not all popcorn is created equally. If you head to the movie theater and down a bucket of salty buttered popcorn, you are not doing yourself any favors.[8] Homemade popcorn seasoned with herbs or nutritional yeast can give you the satisfying crunch without all the calories.

              Popcorn’s high fiber content makes it a filling alternative to empty calories that you might get from a bag of chips.

              2. Dark Chocolate

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                Nothing brought me more joy than realizing I could eat chocolate without sabotaging my health. The key with this snack is to look for quality. Going to the gas station and picking up your favorite candy bar isn’t going to set you up for success. That kind of chocolate is full of sugar, fat, and unpronounceable ingredients that do nothing but add to your waistline.

                Dark chocolate that contains a high percentage of cacao will taste more bitter than milk chocolate, but it has many health benefits. The bitterness of dark chocolate slows down your digestion, which translates into feeling fuller for longer. It also curbs the production of a hormone that stimulates hunger.[9]

                3. Greek Yogurt

                  Yogurt has always been considered a healthy snack, but some yogurt is laden with sugar. Low fat and fat free options aren’t so great either. Some of the nutrients in yogurt are fat soluble, meaning that your body needs to consume fat to benefit from the nutrients.

                  Greek yogurt is a solid snack choice for suppressing your appetite because it has half the sugar and twice as much protein as regular yogurt.[10] It’s also an excellent source of calcium, and the probiotics in Greek yogurt are great for your digestion.

                  4. Almonds

                    High-protein, high-fiber, and an excellent texture make almonds a go-to snack for a busy day. [11] Limit your consumption to a single serving to reap the most benefit.

                    5. Water-rich Fruits and Veggies

                      This works similarly to drinking a glass of water before you indulge in food. Water-rich foods such as cucumbers, carrots, and watermelon can satisfy your need for a snack with some texture, and they’ll help you hydrate. These foods are rich in fiber and nutrients that you need to feel your best.

                      6. Avocado

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                        This is my go-to hunger busting snack. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat (good fat) and fiber.[12] Spread some avocado over a piece of whole grain toast or scoop it out of the rind for a quick and satisfying snack.

                        7. Hummus

                          Hummus is made of chickpeas, which makes it an excellent source of protein and fiber. When you pair hummus with water-rich veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery, or snap peas, you have a winning combination that will leave you hydrated and satiated.[13]

                          8. Beans and Legumes

                            Beans are the unsung heroes of the food world. They are relatively inexpensive, versatile, and satisfying. They are low-calorie, high-fiber, protein-rich powerhouses that we almost certainly could stand to eat more often if we want to lose weight.[14] Chickpeas, peas, peanuts, and lentils all fall into this snack category.

                            Having some celery with one serving of peanut butter, a handful of roasted chickpeas, or a small bowl of homemade lentil soup can keep you from emptying the cookie jar later.

                            9. Eggs

                            how to tell if an egg is good

                              Despite the bad press that eggs have faced over the years, nothing stomps out hunger like an egg. Eggs contain protein, which leaves you feeling fuller for longer. A recent study demonstrated that people who ate two eggs for breakfast ate less at a lunch buffet than the experimental group that ate a bowl of cereal with the same number of calories.[15]

                              10. Water

                                If you’re feeling the urge to snack, you might be thirsty. Your body will look and feel better when it’s fully hydrated, and you’ll consume fewer calories if you drink a glass of water before reaching for a snack.[16]

                                Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring

                                Mindless eating can wreck your diet plans. Listen to your body, and find snacks that suppress your appetite and pack a nutritional punch. These snacks stick to your ribs, which will help you stick to your plan.

                                Reference

                                More by this author

                                Angelina Phebus

                                Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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                                Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                                The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                                Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                                your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                                  Why You Need a Vision

                                  Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                                  How to Create Your Life Vision

                                  Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                                  What Do You Want?

                                  The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                                  It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                                  Some tips to guide you:

                                  • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                                  • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                                  • Give yourself permission to dream.
                                  • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                                  • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                                  Some questions to start your exploration:

                                  • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                                  • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                                  • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                                  • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                                  • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                                  • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                                  • What qualities would you like to develop?
                                  • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                                  • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                                  • What would you most like to accomplish?
                                  • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                                  It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                                  What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                                  Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                                  A few prompts to get you started:

                                  • What will you have accomplished already?
                                  • How will you feel about yourself?
                                  • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                                  • What does your ideal day look like?
                                  • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                                  • What would you be doing?
                                  • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                                  • How are you dressed?
                                  • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                                  • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                                  • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                                  It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                                  Plan Backwards

                                  It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                                  • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                                  • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                                  • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                                  • What important actions would you have had to take?
                                  • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                                  • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                                  • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                                  • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                                  • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                                  Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                                  It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                                  Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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