Nutrition

Control your appetite

Author: Canadian Living

Nutrition

Control your appetite

Ideally, you should eat when you feel hungry, when your stomach growls, telling you it needs food. Stomach hunger should not be confused with mouth hunger, the desire for food because it will taste good. Eating in response to how good food looks or smells has to do with your appetite, not your hunger.

Some of my clients have reported never feeling hungry during the day. Yet they eat anyway, either because it was time to eat or because the food was there. If you're out of touch with how hunger feels to you, eat according to schedule for the next two weeks. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at approximately the same time each day. You'll find that you will start to feel hungry before your meals.

How to rate your hunger
Pay attention to your hunger signals, and let them dictate how much you eat. When you sit down to a meal, rate your hunger on a scale of one to ten, one being so full you couldn't possibly eat and ten being ravenously hungry. Halfway through your meal, rate your hunger again. Let your score tell you whether it's time to stop eating.

Learning to stop eating when you feel full can also help you eat less. Feeling full does not mean feeling "stuffed." Satiety means that you no longer feel hungry and, in fact, you feel good. Keep in mind that it doesn't take much to feel satisfied. Sometimes all you need is a small snack to keep hunger at bay.

You may eat not because you are hungry, and you may not stop eating when you're satisfied. Some people eat because they feel sad, angry or bored. Others eat because others around them are eating. And still others reach for the wrong foods simply because those foods are in front of them. An important first step is recognizing that these triggers may be part of the reason you struggle with your weight. Check out some of the common triggers on the next page.

Page 1 of 2 - Find some common triggers of overeating on page 2.


Excerpted from Leslie Beck's 10 Steps to Healthy Eating by Leslie Beck. Copyright © Leslie Beck, 2002. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Books Canada Limited.

Common triggers that may cause overeating
• If negative emotions trigger overeating, I recommend that you seek counselling to help you work through these issues before you embark on a weight-loss program.

• If you succumb to unhealthy foods because they surround you, get rid of them. There's a lot to the saying "out of sight, out of mind." I have many clients who keep a bowl of fresh fruit front and center at home and at the office.

• If you mindlessly eat because you're not paying attention, take charge! Become aware of the foods you put in your mouth by eating without distractions. Turn off the television, put down the newspaper and sit down to eat. Watch as the food leaves your plate on its way to your mouth. How many times have you eaten while distracted, only to look down at your empty plate unaware that you had finished your meal? Make sure you savour every mouthful. You'll feel more satisfied after a meal and won't be inclined to search the cupboards for that elusive something you still crave.

Recently, a stay-at-home mom who was having a real battle losing her weight consulted me. She constantly munched throughout the day, partly because she was bored and partly because food was always within reach. I asked her to keep a notepad on the kitchen counter and record each time she reached for a snack. The first day she kept track, she was shocked to learn that she mindlessly munched 12 times! This awareness was all it took for her to cut out the unnecessary eating. She allowed herself only one planned snack between meals and was able to return within four months to her pre-pregnancy weight.

• If socializing triggers overeating, make a plan. People tend to eat more in social settings. Eat a snack before you leave home so you don't arrive at the event famished. Curb your alcohol intake, since alcohol, especially on an empty stomach, can cause food cravings. Plan to sit beside someone you can talk to during the meal. The more talking you do, the less you'll eat. And here's a word of advice to women: pay attention to the amount of food you eat compared with your spouse. Often I see female clients who, over time, end up eating the same portion sizes as their partners.

Page 2 of 2


Excerpted from Leslie Beck's 10 Steps to Healthy Eating by Leslie Beck. Copyright © Leslie Beck, 2002. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Books Canada Limited.

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Nutrition

Control your appetite

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