Some people often feel that they cannot fill up on small amounts of food and they find themselves going for second and third servings. These excess calories exceed energy requirements and cause people to gain weight. Most people tend to blame themselves for having poor self-control but more often than not, our erratic meal patterns and lifestyles are the reason for overeating and not the lack of self-care.
Here are a couple of tips that can help you fill up without the excess calories:
1. Include adequate protein in the diet
Protein has the ability to control appetite. This is due to its effect on appetite controlling hormones such as leptin and glucagon like peptide-1( GLP-1). Protein enhances the effect of leptin and GLP-1. This means that by including a small amount of protein at each meal, we can feel full for longer. Sources of protein include meat, legumes, tofu, eggs, nuts and dairy products. An example of a protein for breakfast could be eggs on wholegrain toast. Healthy snack options such as nuts and yoghurt also contain protein.
2. Five serves of vegetables
Vegetables are amazing as they are low in calories but are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre required by the body. When you feel the need to go for seconds, add in those vegetables. Believe it or not, you can actually eat vegetables to your heart’s content as long they are not cooked in a lot of oil. In fact, stir fried vegetables or salads should always accompany main meals on the table.
3. Drink adequate water
Drink adequate quantities of water in a day. Often the body’s thirst signal can be mistaken as hunger. Also, keep in mind that the response to thirst should only be drinking water and not juice or sugary drinks as functions performed by water cannot be performed by any other drink.
4. Mindful eating
Take out time in the day to sit down and have proper meals in a stress free environment. It is important to chew every mouthful slowly as the gut and brain have a powerful connection where in the gut talks to the brain when you have eaten enough and the brain sends through the signal that you have eaten adequately. These signalling processes cannot take place efficiently when you are eating too quickly.
5. Adequate sleep
Less than 7-8 hours of sleep can increase the level of the ghrelin hormone which is responsible for increasing appetite. In addition, inadequate sleep decreases the leptin hormone which is responsible for controlling appetite. So if you find yourself grazing throughout the day, a possible reason could be inadequate sleep.
6. Low GI carbohydrates
Choose wholegrain carbohydrate, not refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates found in processed snacks, takeaway meals, muffins and cakes cause a spike in blood sugar and a crash pretty soon after. On the other hand, unprocessed carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, fruits, oats etc contribute to keeping the blood sugar levels stable. In addition, unprocessed carbohydrates will keep you full for longer as their fibre content slows absorption.
Remember, it is easier to control the quantity of your meals when the quality of the meals is better and other lifestyle factors such as sleep are also taken care of.
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This article was written by our dietitian and nutritionist Juhi Bhambhaney. If you have any questions regarding health and nutrition, make an appointment with one of our dietitians. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.