Sometimes we eat when we’re not hungry and oftentimes we get hunger confused with thirst or cravings due to low energy, emotional state, etc. Here are five tips for re-learning how to only eat when you’re hungry, and to beat cravings and binges once and for all.
1. Drink first. Before you eat anything between meals, first drink something — preferably 1-2 glasses of water. We often ignore our natural urge to drink water, opting for food instead. But remember: no amount of food can quench your thirst. We all need a specific amount of water-based off of our body weight.
2. Opt for healthier between-meal snacks. If you quench your thirst between meals and still feel hungry 10-20 minutes later, fight the urge to eat junk food because it’s within reach. Opt for yogurt, whey protein shake, vegetables with hummus, or fresh fruit with nuts. Not only will these options add nutrients to your diet, they’ll keep you fuller longer than a bag of chips or a candy bar.
3. Make your home craving-free. If the source of a craving is removed, you’re less likely to be tempted by it. This is especially true for those who spend a large part of the day in the house and more specifically, the kitchen. At home, the nibbling can go on endlessly. Try not to bring home foods you don’t want to eat, this will make it so much easier for you to avoid those foods when willpower is low.
4. Limit food choices at meals. When we sit down to a table laden with lots of different foods, it’s so easy to overeat. A review of 39 animal and human studies found that food consumption increases when a meal has more variety and is associated with increased body weight and fat. So limit food choices at meals when it’s within your control.
5. Eat mostly vegetables and protein at a meal. High in fiber, vegetables leave you feeling full and not craving more and a good amount of protein will leave you satiated. Even if your appetite is over-stimulated at a meal, it’ll be hard to overeat if you’re full of nutritious vegetables and protein. The main goal of a health or weight loss program should be to restore your body’s natural rhythm by reinstating its natural integrity.