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Last Updated on January 8, 2018

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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                                Published on November 14, 2018

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                Symptoms of Fatigue

                                Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                • mental blocks
                                • lack of motivation
                                • headache
                                • dizziness
                                • muscle weakness
                                • slowed reflexes and responses
                                • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                • moodiness, such as irritability
                                • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                • reduced immune system function
                                • blurry vision
                                • short-term memory problems
                                • poor concentration
                                • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                Causes of Fatigue

                                The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                Anemia

                                Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                Diabetes

                                Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                Sleep Apnea

                                Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                Thyroid disease

                                An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Lack of sleep
                                • Too much sleep 
                                • Alcohol and drugs 
                                • Sleep disturbances 
                                • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                • Poor diet 

                                Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                1. Tell The Truth

                                Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                • How you feel
                                • What time of day it is
                                • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                • How your mind and body reacts

                                This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                4. Express More Gratitude

                                Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                5. Focus On Yourself

                                Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                7. Take a Power Nap

                                When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                8. Take More Exercise

                                The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                10. Improve Your Diet

                                Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                12. Get Hydrated

                                Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                The Bottom Line

                                These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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