5 Ways to Eat Less and Still Feel Satisfied

May 16, 2011

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What if I told you it’s possible to lose weight and eat fewer calories without feeling hungry? Sounds great, right? And it’s not only possible, it’s what you should plan to do if you want to lose weight and keep it off.

How? Follow these five principles:

1. Eat Frequent Small Meals: Don’t let more than four hours pass between meals, and make it a goal to always eat before you feel hungry. Once hunger hits, it’s much more difficult to make good choices – but if you eat right before then, chances are you’ll find it easier to stick with your plan.

2. Get Adequate Sleep: This advice may come as a bit of a surprise, but research has shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more susceptible to cravings and binge eating. So be sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Because good quality sleep is dependent on consistency, it’s best to stick as close as possible to the same schedule every day, as well. Try to avoid varying the time you go to bed or get up each day by much.

3. Make Sure You’re Moving: Regular exercise also helps control hunger, believe it or not! For the first week or two after starting a new workout routine, it’s common to feel more hungry, but stick with it and this will pass. After the second week you should start noticing a reduced appetite.

4. Reach for Whole Foods: Aim to make whole foods – foods in as close to their natural state as possible – the majority of what you eat. An orange, for example, has far fewer calories than a glass of orange juice, and the fiber it contains fills you up better. Avoid processed, junk, or convenience foods whenever possible. These are often little more than empty calories, and the salt, fat, or sugar they can contain can spur hunger instead of satisfy it.

5. Pair Protein and Fiber: Think of fiber and protein as your one-two punch against hunger. Both help you feel full and satisfied longer than simple carbs or fats. For example, have a bowl of salad greens topped with a serving of low-fat cottage cheese; pair a cup of cut-up strawberries with a serving of low-fat yogurt; or try some hummus on whole wheat crackers. Think high bulk, low calorie!

As you’ll find if you put these five principles into play this week, it’s definitely possible to lose weight without feeling deprived.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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