4 Scientifically-Proven Ways to Reduce Your Appetite and Lose Weight
Photo: Anthony Majanlahti / Creative Commons
Whether you gave birth 6 weeks ago or 16 years ago -- or you're a man -- here are 4 ways reduce appetite to lose the pudge and keep it off for life.
1. Get More Sleep
Don't underestimate the importance of sleep when it comes to whittling your waistline. Researchers have discovered sleep deprivation causes an increase in appetite. The converse is true: getting more sleep controls appetite.
Plus we're more prone to stress and lousy moods when we're sleep deprived, which can lead to out-of-control cravings. Getting more sleep gives us the energy to rise gracefully to the challenges of parenthood, which prevents us from strapping on a potato-chip feedbag when our day doesn't go as planned.
Many researchers argue that not getting enough sleep has broad health consequences, such as raising your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity, but in addition to those, it has a profound effect on happiness and energy level.
Especially as parents, being sleep-deprived starts to feel normal. Even if you believe you're already getting enough sleep, there's a chance you'll feel a lot better if you got even more sleep.
2. Eat Fewer Starchy Carbs and More Protein
Did you know that carbs can increase your appetite? On the other hand, protein offers a reduction in appetite that can result in less food consumed at each meal. By cutting out starchy carbs and eating more protein, you will reduce your appetite.
Avoid or significantly reduce your consumption of bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. Increase your intake of proteins, including fish, chicken, eggs, lamb and beef. Vegetables and legumes like beans and lentils don't spike appetite like starchy carbs do; plus legumes and veggies provide you with a slow-burning source of energy to power through your day.
An easy way to begin: drop the starch from your dinner plate and add an extra vegetable in its place. Then try adding one new healthy recipe a week to your meals. The low-carb section of AllRecipes.com is a painless place to start. When you hit on a recipe you enjoy, keep that recipe as a staple. After several weeks of healthy recipe success, you'll be on your way to a revamped menu.
If you don't already, choose a day of the week for meal planning and grocery shopping. You can try using a menu planning download to help schedule your dinners throughout the week.
3. Plan Exercise Into Your Day
Good news -- exercise reduces appetite. It also boosts energy and metabolism and helps you get more restful sleep. I find that a mere 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training on the treadmill or stair stepper keeps my energy up and my cravings down.
Unless you walk or bike for transportation, regular exercise won't just present itself to you without some deliberate intention on your part. Plan to get your body moving daily. Here are some reasons and ways to get your exercise routine working for you.
4. Dial Down Stress
Parenthood can throw even the coolest of heads into a tizzy. Researchers discovered women eat more, and they eat more sweets when stressed out.
Learn ways to stay calm and carry on to reduce your stress levels and keep your appetite in check. There are tips you can follow to stay calm and happy even during the most stressful moments.
You can also pick up a simple meditation practice. By learning how to "watch" your mind from a distance and study the way it works, you will be more prepared to master your reaction the next time the poop hits the fan. Practice emptying your head and watching your thoughts float by without being attached emotionally to the content. As you see a thought or feeling come by, label it: thought, emotion or bodily sensation. Soon you'll be as Zen as a yogi.
Bake some stress-relief practices into your day, whether that's time to read before bed, decompressing in front of a favorite TV show, or taking a daily soak in the bathtub. Just make sure you go to bed on time!
Take it Fast or Slow, Your Choice
You don't have to tackle all these appetite-busting tips at once if it would be too overwhelming. You can start with whichever tip is easiest for you, let it become a habit, then move on to the next one whenever you're ready. I recommend beginning with sleep, because being well-rested will make all the others easier to tackle.
If you'd rather, overhaul your life and undertake more than one method at a time. Choose the pace that works for you and enjoy the results.
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