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How to suppress your appetite naturally

Last updated on: September 27, 2010 12:27 IST

How to suppress your appetite naturally

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There are healthy methods of keeping your appetite in check that will also help you lose weight.

Overeating and eating the wrong foods are the main reasons behind weight-gain. Many people struggle with nutrition because they do not understand the holistic nature of the concept. They generally do not have the desire nor the discipline to eat healthy food. As a result, they end up establishing unhealthy eating habits. Many of these unhealthy habits include emotional eating and indulging food cravings.

A lot of people adopt dieting as a form of weight-loss. But eventually the fitness plan goes for a toss as the food cravings and the hunger pangs set in. It's very difficult to control hunger, especially when you're surrounded by appetising delicacies at mealtimes. But if you managed to remove hunger pangs and food cravings from the equation, wouldn't dieting be so much simpler? That is where 'appetite suppression' comes into the picture.

Appetite is both a mental and a physical phenomenon. One of the simplest ways of controlling your body fat is to curb your appetite. By eliminating hunger and the desire for food, your daily calorie intake will drop below your maintenance level. This allows you to drop those excess pounds or to maintain your existing weight.

There are many strategies that help reduce hunger. In the following pages are a few things you can do to decrease your appetite naturally.


Image: One of the simplest ways of controlling your body fat is to curb your appetite
Photographs: Courtesy Lifemojo.com
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Kick the junk food habit

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The easiest thing to do when you get hunger pangs is to reach for a bag of chips. Sometimes you might just get a food craving because your fridge is full of chocolate and ice cream. So do your body a favour and get rid all those snacks, candies, doughnuts and other bad foods that are making you gain weight.


Image: Just say 'no' to junk food
Photographs: Joshua Lott/Reuters
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Start your day with fibre and protein

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Fibre, when mixed with water, forms a bulk in your stomach that makes you feel less hungry. It also kills all your sugar cravings.

Protein, on the other hand, is a slow digesting food which keeps you going for a longer period of time. Also, studies have shown that when protein is eaten at breakfast, it keeps you satisfied longer than when eaten at other meal times.

Thus, the best way to start your day is with oatmeal and some milk.


Image: Oatmeal will keep you fuller for longer
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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Drink lots of water

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Water is calorie-free and an easy way to suppress your appetite.

Drinking water throughout the day and anytime you start to feel hungry deceives the brain into thinking the stomach is full. A recent study of people following a low-calorie diet found that people who drank two cups of water prior to their meals lost about 7 kgs in 12 weeks, as compared to the 5 kgs lost by those who did not.

Researchers say that water may be so effective simply because it makes people feel fuller and they then eat less calorie-containing foods during meals.


Image: Drinking water deceives the brain into thinking the stomach is full
Photographs: Derek Jensen/Wikimedia Commons
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Sip green tea through the day

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Don't like water? Have some green tea. Green tea is rich in nutrients and has been shown to help reduce the appetite. Like water, it also fools the brain into thinking that your stomach is full.


Image: Green tea helps reduce the appetite
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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Exercise

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People think that exercising increases hunger pangs, but it not only helps you burn calories, it also helps you consume less of them. Both aerobics and weight-training alter your body's hormone levels in a way that temporarily suppresses appetite.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology showed that 60 minutes of high-intensity cardio three times a week can reduce the appetite for up to two hours afterwards. The study found that aerobic exercise lowers ghrelin (appetite-stimulating hormone) levels and increases the peptide YY (appetite-suppressing hormone) levels in your body. Weight training, on the other hand, lowers only the ghrelin levels.


Image: Aerobics can actually help control your appetite
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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Get enough sleep

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A shortage of sleep lowers the level of leptin in your body, which makes you feel hungrier. Make sure you get eight to nine hours of sleep each night to keep your energy high.


Image: The more adequate your sleep, the less you'll need to eat to stay energetic
Photographs: Pedro Simoes/Wikimedia Commons
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Drink your meals

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Research at Pennsylvania State University shows that men and women who consume their meals in the form of drinks like whey milkshakes, soy milkshakes or even soups are 50 percent less likely to suffer hunger pangs during the day, as compared to their counterparts who eat the same amount of calories in the form of snack food.


Image: Pass up snacks for soups
Photographs: Stu Spivack/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
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Eat small but frequents meals

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Instead of having huge meals three times a day, you should have smaller but more frequent meals. This way, hunger does not build up and cause you to eat excessively.


Image: Piling up a heavy plate thrice a day is not a good idea
Photographs: Neil Kennedy/Creative Commons
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Brush your teeth or use mouthwash

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A lot of people don't feel like eating once they have brushed their teeth. Brushing gives your teeth a fresh and clean feeling, deterring you from wanting to eat immediately after.

Also, certain foods (especially foods that contain citric acid) react with the flouride to create a bad taste in your mouth. This flavour change has been shown to help deter people from wanting to eat more.


Image: You won't want to eat immediately after brushing
Photographs: Jorge Barrios/Wikimedia Commons
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Disgust yourself

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This is a bit extreme, but the last thing that will be on your mind when you are disgusted is food. So the next time you feel hungry, look at an image of something that is unattractive or gross. You can even think of or smell something gross!


Image: The terrible smell of a stinkhorn mushroom is sure to leave you without an appetite!
Photographs: Lynne Kirton/Creative Commons
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Blue all the way

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The colour blue naturally decreases the appetite. So the next time you want to purchase dinner plates, go for the blue ones.

There are various appetite-suppressing supplements available in the market that can modify your brain signals to reduce hunger, but these will have a negative impact on your health in the long run. You'd rather stick to the natural ways.


Image: A blue dining set will ensure you eat less
Photographs: Bateau Ivre/Wikimedia Commons
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LifeMojo is a wellness company, helping people to live a healthier life. LifeMojo provides online and on phone nutrition consultation services to help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals.