Curb Your Cravings

It’s summer time and we’re all working hard to shed those last few pounds off our summer body but nothing seems to work.  Do you ever eat a meal and then almost instantaneously feel hungry again?  

Regardless if you are fasting or cutting calories, there are multiple factors that play a role in your constant hunger.  First, you might not be drinking enough water, the body cannot differentiate between hunger and dehydration, so next time you feel hungry, try to quickly drink a 16 oz bottle of water and if you’re still hungry after 15 minutes, try snacking on some of the foods we’ll talk about later.  

Restricting calories too much will slow your metabolism hence reducing your body’s total energy expenditure; you will not burn as many calories as you think.  Instead of restricting calories, try to increase your energy expenditure with subtle lifestyle changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking the dog out for one extra walk, or running to the gym as a warm up as opposed to driving.  We were all raised acknowledging that there are three meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If you want to stimulate your metabolism into hyper drive, it will benefit you to eat more, but smaller, meals. 

Lastly what you eat, not just how much, can dictate your hunger pains.  When consumed, sugar triggers the release of dopamine which is the same hormone that gives us pleasure when we see friends, win an award, drink alcohol, do drugs and even have sex.  All of the labeled events are addictive not because of the subjects/objects involved but because of the actual neurotransmitter producing a joyous feeling in ourselves.  This addictive feeling is what makes kids and even the most disciplined individuals want more of that sweet candy and chocolate.

So, what can we eat to help keep us full?

1. Eggs – A breakfast staple across America that has come under controversy lately because of their high cholesterol content even though it is naturally produced in your body and recent studies have shown dietary cholesterol to be beneficial and necessary for the human body.  Another critique of eggs is that the yolk contains too much fat, but a good balance of one whole egg to one egg white will allow you to still consume 10-14 grams of protein per meal.  The protein and fat will also help to keep you fuller longer.

2. Oatmeal – Another food that is commonly associated with breakfast provides a healthy serving of carbohydrates, protein, as well as high levels of soluble fiber which will absorb water in the large intestine to slow down digestion hence keeping you fuller longer.

3. Avocados – High in mono-unsaturated fats, yes; certain fats are good for you, avocados are a healthy way of getting some of your daily fats in and they go great with anything especially eggs and oatmeal, note above.  

4. Fibrous Green Vegetables – Leafy green vegetables, in particular, are high in fiber which will help satiate hunger longer, and the leaves in particular contain cellular membranes called thlyakoids which will additionally stave off hunger.  

5. Fibrous Fruits – Consume plenty of fruit, generally two cups a day, for the same reason that we stated above for green vegetables.

To wrap things up, don’t be scared off by the stigma surrounding carbs and fats, instead, maintain a well-balanced diet around 2,000 calories with 4 cups of veggies, 2 cups of fruit and half of your calories coming from carbs.  Let’s not think of losing weight as a caloric deficit but an increase in total energy expenditure which can be accomplished with very subtle lifestyle changes that we talked about earlier.  And Lastly, yes; sugar can be addictive but do not completely abandon them.  Sugar in moderation is acceptable and can even promote positive hormonal responses when consumed appropriately.