Does your stomach rule your head? If so, it's time you got smart and learn't how to outwit your appetite. Check out 10 ways to keep your hunger locked up for longer...
Keep hunger locked up for longer
Don't leave treats on the kitchen worktop or out on your desk at work, and if you can, keep snacks in a special naughty cupboard. Ideally, this should be in the cellar or loft. With any luck, you'll be too lazy to climb the stairs to raid the cupboard!
If your partner or children snack on treats, try to make sure you're out of the room at the time, or find something that will distract you from temptation.
Researchers in America found that women who ate a 100-calorie salad before dinner consumed 12 percent fewer calories during the meal. Just the act of chewing will help outwit your appetite.
A similar study found that eating a 130-calorie vegetable soup before a meal resulted in 20 per fewer calories being consumed overall. Just make sure to choose a clear vegetable based broth rather than cream-based variety.
If only something sweet or salty will do it's more likely to be a craving. If you must indulge, go for an intensely flavoured food.
A few small pickled cucumbers will satisfy your need for taste, yet only contain a few calories each. Or opt for something small that's highly spiced, like a few pieces of spicy chicken.
The same is true when you're at home. Eat food from smaller plates and you'll automatically cut your calorie intake – as long as you don't keep going back for seconds of course!
Research shows that people consume fewer calories when eating from a blue coloured plate. The theory is that very few foods are naturally blue in nature, so seeing a blue plate sends a signal to the brain to be cautious when eating.
We eat because it's a certain time of day, because we're bored, because we feel we deserve a treat – or because people around us are eating.
Try to eat only when you are hungry – and then mindfully. That means sitting down to eat without any distractions and concentrating on the food, chewing slowly and savouring every mouthful. That also means stopping when you're full.
Similarly, opt for low GI complex carbohydrates over white bread, white rice and pasta and go for low GI veg, such as broccoli.
Porridge oats are a good breakfast choice as they release energy slowly, helping to keep you satisfied until lunch time.
A study from the University of North Carolina found that those who drank 6.5 cups of water per day consumed 100 calories less than those who didn't drink as much.
Even if you do go on to eat, a big glass of water will help to fill you up, so you consume fewer calories. If you're bored of water, try varying things by drinking low-cal squashes and herbal teas.
To stay fuller for longer, try to base meals around protein, such as eggs, fish, chicken and tofu. Serve with plenty of vegetables or salad and a small amount of complex carbs, such as brown rice or pasta.
One study found that women who ate a protein only breakfast were less hungry and consumed 267 fewer calories throughout the day.
Experts believe that lack of sleep affects the secretion of cortisol, a hormone which regulates appetite. This means we feel hungry, despite eating enough food.
Sleep deprivation also interferes with how the body metabolises carbohydrates, which can lead to high blood sugar and the overproduction of insulin.
While it's important to know the difference between genuine hunger and a craving, you shouldn't allow yourself to get ravenously hungry. If you leave it too late to eat, you'll end up consuming more in the long run.
Plan your mini meals in advance and make sure you always have something healthy to hand – which could mean keeping a banana in your bag for train journeys, or filling small Tupperware boxes with mini meals to snack on in the office.
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