Overcoming a serious Oreo addiction or passing up the Pringles stashed in the cupboard can be the most difficult part of weight loss. Smart snacking is not just about ignoring a rumbly tummy. Everything from stress to hormones to people, places, and situations can kick your appetite into overdrive. The great news: Whatever the cause, you can beat the hunger pangs. Here are 8 of the latest strategies:
Take a Deep Breath
Feeling stressed? Thatís when you are most likely to give in to a junk-food craving. Stress causes your body to pump out cortisol. This creates a resistance to leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full. The more stressed out you are the less able you are to tell when your full.
Try counting to 5 as you exhale, releasing all the tension from your body. Picture yourself as a deflated balloon. Then count to 5 as you inhale gently, fully down through the lungs into the belly. Repeat. 5 minutes of deep breathing anytime you feel stressed can kill the urge to snack by calming you down.
Turn up the Tunes
Music activates the same pleasure center of the brain that food does. Turn up a catchy tune and blast away hunger fast.
Soak up Some Sun
20 minutes of sunlight can lift your mood with a good dose of vitamin d and kill those powerful food cravings. On the other hand, staying cooped up in a windowless cubicle all day actually boosts the urge to snack on sugary and refined-carb foods.
Sniff Away a Sweet Tooth
A whiff of vanilla may be the cure to that pesky ice cream craving. The inherent sweetness of vanilla sends neuropeptides (gut-to-brain messengers) into a kind of sensory overload that fools you into feeling like youíve satisfied your sweet tooth. Vanilla extract, body lotion, or even scented candles have a similar effect. Special craving control vanilla sprays are even beginning to pop up on the market.
Have a Backwards Day
Experts estimate most of us eat 20% of our daily calories at breakfast, 30 percent at lunch, and 50 percent at dinner. For weight loss purposes it would be much more beneficial to flip those numbers around. Taking in most of your daily calories in the morning means you have more time in the day to burn the calories you have eaten. Be sure to keep it healthy with a combination of low-fat protein, whole grains, and fruits and veggies. If you canít handle a big meal in the morning then break it up with a mid-morning snack of yogurt, fruit, or even a sandwich.
Add Water & Air
You want froth not fat! The longer you blend that smoothie the fewer calories you will consume drinking it. Why? Blending is a no-calorie way to increase serving size by adding air. Blend that smoothie twice as long as necessary and you will drink less and feel fuller!
Adding low or no-cal ingredients, such as lettuce and tomato to a turkey burger or alongside broiled fish has a similar effect: They work by increasing the amount of water instead of air.
Low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods can actually suppress ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Foods like strawberries, broccoli, and sweet potatoes can help you feel satisfied on a lot fewer calories than junk food.
Early to Bed
Getting enough sleep is essential to health and weight loss. Feeling sleepy leads to cravings for refined carbs and sugars for that quick energy. High-sugar foods boost energy for a while and then crash your blood sugar down to a low leaving you more tired than before.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *