It's hard to lose weight if you're always hungry. Reduce food cravings naturally with these tips.
Step 1: Sniff peppermint Take a whiff of peppermint before mealtime. Study participants who did ate nearly 3,000 fewer total calories from fat and sugar each week, reporting that their hunger level decreased dramatically after inhaling the scent.
TIP: Peppermint essential oil is available at health food stores.
Step 2: Get more sleep Aim for eight hours sleep nightly. People who get that many ZZZZs have higher levels of the hormone leptin, an appetite suppressant. Conversely, people who are sleep-deprived have higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which tells the brain that you're hungry.
Step 3: Think while you eat Try "mindful eating," which means that eating slowly and considering after every bite whether or not you're still hungry. According to the American Dietetic Association, it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to send a signal to your stomach that you're full, so check in with your body as you eat to avoid overeating.
Step 4: Eat more fiber Eat more fiber; it keeps you full longer. In one study, participants who ate an extra 14 grams of fiber per day consumed 10 percent fewer daily calories than those on the lower-fiber plan.
Step 5: Work out Do some aerobic exercise. People who do develop higher levels of a blood protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is believed to suppress appetite.
TIP: Taking a 15-minute walk helps reduce chocolate cravings, according to one study.
Step 6: Eat filling foods Eat foods that fill you up faster and keep you full longer. According to research, they include boiled white potatoes, oranges, apples, fish, whole-wheat pasta, nuts, steak, baked beans, grapes, whole-wheat bread, pumpkin, nuts, and avocados.
TIP: Favor crunchy foods. Research indicates that the longer it takes you to chew your food, the fewer overall calories you consume.
Step 7: Chew gum after lunch Have a stick of gum after meals. In one study, people who chewed gum after lunch ate fewer afternoon snacks and had fewer cravings for sweets than people who didn't.
FACT: Food cravings and the craving for drugs that an addict feels come from the same part of the brain.