No matter which diet plan you follow, and no matter how careful you are to watch what you eat, all your hard work can be undone in a moment of weakness when you reach for that calorie-laden snack. Most of the time, that happens when you’re overcome by a sudden hunger pang.
Sometimes, willpower simply isn’t enough to make you ignore your body’s insistent demands for food. How, then, can you prevent hunger pangs from being the downfall of your diet? It requires taking two approaches in tandem, preventing the pangs from occurring where possible, and dealing with as best you can when they arrive.
Avoiding Hunger Pangs
The kind of food you eat, and when you eat, has a huge impact on the amount and strength of the hunger pangs you feel as you go about your day.
Fiber is important
When dieting, it is important to eat food that have a high fiber content as much as possible. Dietary fiber slows digestion and spread the release of your food’s energy over a longer period. this keeps your blood sugar levels on a more even keel, avoiding the sudden dips that lead to intense feelings of hunger.
Although some diet gurus advice differently, most nutrional experts agree that eating a good breakfast is important for a healthy diet. It provide the energy you need to kick start your day, while avoiding tiredness induced feelings of hunger and reducing the temptation to indulge in sugary snacks.
However it is important to eat a nutritionally valuable breakfast. One rich in fiber, such as porridge or other cereals, will provide a consistent amoint of energy throughout the morning. Highly processed sugary concoctions may give a quick energy boost, but this will be followed by a crash in your blood-sugar levels, which will have you reaching for the cookie jar well before lunchtime arrives.
Avoid Sugar at Other Times Too
To prevent these same sugar highs followed by pang promoting lows, you should also limit your sugar consumption throughout the day. Candy and cakes are not the only culprits when it comes to disrupting blood sugar, however. Fresh fruit may be healthy in many respects, but they also can play havoc with your energy levels. Compromise by eating relatively low-sugar, fiber rich fruits such as berries or avocado, or balance the sweetness with a wholegrain cracker or other good source of dietary fiber.
Drink Green Tea
There are many benefits claimed for drinking green tea, some more realistic than others. One real advantage of green tea consumption, however it stimulates the body’s production of CCK, a hormone that aids in weight loss. CCK smooths and regulates the digestion to prevent sugar spikes, and also acts as an appetite suppressant. Taking small amounts of green tea throughout the day can therefore greatly reduce your desire for snaking.
Although green tea may be the exception to the rule, it is important to avoid taking on too much caffeine in other drinks. The mild stimulant gives you that familiar buzz and suppresses your appetite immediately after drinking a cup of strong coffee, but once those effects wear off, you can feel unnaturally fatigued, weak and hungry. It is also possible for excess caffeine to result in trembling and lightheadedness, which can easily be mistaken for hunger.
An empty feeling in your stomach is not always caused by lack of food. Thirst can feel remarkably similar to hunger and lead to unnecessary snaking, so avoid confusion by drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Lastly, tiredness increases the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, while simultaneously reducing the production of leptin, the hormone that keeps your appetite under control. Both these changes can make you feel intense hunger pangs even when your body does not need fuel for energy. If you are frequently tired, consider looking at ways of getting more high quality sleep. Not only will you feel better all around, but you also will experience fewer urges to snack.
Coping with Hunger Pangs When they Hit
Even with your best efforts and organization, irresistible hunger pangs can still strike from time to time. If ignoring them is not an option, how can you deal with them in a diet friendly way?
Try and keep a supply of healthy snacks convenient at all times. Nuts, high fiber crackers, and hard boiled eggs are all easy to carry with you and can calm the pangs quickly without causing disruptive sugar spikes.
Have a Cold Drink
Sometimes a hunger pang is only thirst in disquise, and so water can drive it away. If you are experiencing true hunger, however, a long, cold drink can disguise the feeling long enough to allow you long to find a healthy snack solution. This is better than impulsively reaching for the nearest sugar packed temptation.
Pause for Thought
When a pang strikes, take a mindful approach and pause for a few seconds. Take deep breaths and think about the conequences of giving in to your snacking urge. It is surprising how quickly a pang will pass, especially if it is the result of habit or anxiety rather than your body needing food for proper nutrition.
Keep Track Of Your Hunger Pangs
If you continue to be plagued by hunger pangs, keep track of them, taking note of when they hit the most often. If you spot a pattern, you may be able to shift your regular meal schedule to accommodate them and lessen their effects. Alternatively, if you are forewarned about the most likely times to be overcome, you can ensure you have a health snack easily available.
Hunger pangs are perfectly normal; they will happen from time to time regardless of how sensible your eating habits are. If you find they are a constant problem and do not respond to any of these tips, then you might want to consider speaking to your doctor to rule out any underlying health problem. For the mast majority of people, however, learning to deal effectively with sudden hunger will be a major step toward boosting your weight loss success or healthy eating goals.