- eat SLOWLY. Chew each mouthful of food at least 20-30 times before swallowing. This not only helps your digestion but also gives your stomach a much better chance of being able to tell your brain that it is full and to stop eating before you’ve overeaten.
- do not feel you have to finish what is on your plate. Get used to listening to your body’s signals and if you don’t feel you need that last couple of mouthfuls, don’t eat them!
- make sure you are properly hydrated. Oddly enough, hunger and thirst are easily confused and we often think we need food when what we really need is fluid. If you drink plenty of water throughout the day – at least 2 litres – then it should be easier to distinguish true hunger. If drinking a glass of water makes no difference to your hunger pangs then you probably do need food, so eat!
- do not skip meals, especially breakfast. When the stomach shrinks too far a hormone called grelin is released that triggers the brain to make you seek out food, but unfortunately the food it tends to make you seek is high-calorie, sugary/fatty food that will provide the body with a quick energy fix. You are therefore much more likely to make poor food choices if you allow yourself to get too hungry.
- downsize your crockery. It’s a simple trick but it really does help if you use a smaller plate for your meals. It’s been shown that the more food you put in front of someone, the more they will tend to eat regardless of how hungry they are, so if you give yourself less to start with you will naturally end up eating less.
- increase your lean protein/vegetable protein intake. It’s been shown that eating just 10% more protein for breakfast, for example, keeps hunger at bay and means that you are likely to eat less for lunch.
- finally, eat thick, blended soups for lunch. Thick, blended soups really are a dieter’s friend, the reason being that they cannot drain quickly from the stomach meaning that the stomach takes longer to shrink and send hunger hormones to the brain than if you’d eaten the equivalent in solid food and water.
David Bowie, owner of Healthy Fit Life, is a mobile personal trainer and sports massage therapist working in the Farnham and Camberley area.