5 Helpful Ways to Manage Hunger

May 23, 2011

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One of the best ways to stick to a medical weight loss plan is to make sure you keep hunger – and the resulting cravings that accompany it – under control. Use the following five tips to make sure you don’t find yourself feeling famished, and tempted!

Eat Slowly: If you eat on the go, while you are distracted by something else, or in a hurry, your brain doesn’t register that you’ve had a satisfying meal. So make mealtime a special time. Sit down at the table. Turn off the television, radio, or computer. Avoid eating in the car or on the run. Really focus on enjoying and savoring your food.

Have a Plan: Take the time to plot out your mealtime strategy once a week so you know what you’ll be eating every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Then make a trip to the store or farmers’ market to purchase the items you’ll need. Prep produce and other ingredients ahead of time so pulling a meal together is quick and easy. And finally, make sure you follow through and eat what you have planned as planned so you stay ahead of hunger.

Write It Down: Get in the habit of recording each and every thing you eat right in a small notebook or journal after you eat it throughout the day. This will make you more mindful of what you are eating. Studies show that if people try to keep a running tally in their head, they often underestimate their calorie intake by as much as 40 percent!

Eat Before You Eat: Start each meal with a filling “appetizer” such as a raw cut-up apple, a green salad with low-fat dressing, or a serving of broth-based soup. Studies show people who do so feel full more quickly and eat less calories.

Don’t Wing It: Flying by the seat of your pants when trying to lose weight is never a good strategy. It leaves you far too open to impulsive, last-minute decisions like stopping at the fast food drive-thru or grazing on whatever high calorie food is on hand. Make it a point to set yourself up for success – not failure – each and every day, and chances are you’ll find losing weight to be relatively hunger-free!

As you can see, going on a “diet” doesn’t have to mean starving yourself. Just the opposite! You should aim to stay one step ahead of hunger at all times both while losing the excess weight and also when you are working to keep it off. Doing so will greatly help keep cravings and binges at bay and also ensure your metabolism is going strong despite the fewer calories you are taking in.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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