Lose weight without going hungry
One of the hardest things about losing weight is being hungry – when you are hungry it is hard not to overeat and is more difficult to resist temptation! Yet to lose weight you need to take in less energy which means cutting down on what you are eating now.
Here are some tips to help you to gain control over your appetite and still lose weight without going hungry.
- Reduce energy density. Energy density is the measure of the number of kilojoules in a given volume of food – foods with a low energy density give you a much larger volume of food for the same amount of energy as a food with a high energy density. Fruit and vegetables are the winners when it comes to energy density – for the same number of kilojoules as a 50g chocolate bar you could eat 4 apples or 8 carrots – which do you think would fill you up the most
- Go for low GI. A number of studies have now shown that carbohydrate foods that have a low glycemic index produce greater satiety and reduce the amount eaten at a subsequent meal. Low GI carbs are those that are more slowly digested and absorbed and include rolled oats, heavy wholegrain breads, pasta, legumes, corn, grains such as barley, buckwheat and quinoa, and many fruits.
- Fill up on fibre – fibre has long been known to improve satiety and is found in plant foods including fruit, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains. One study found that a supplement of soluble fibre increased satiety and led to greater weight loss in overweight subjects – an extra 4kgs over 16 weeks. Foods high in soluble fibre include oats, legumes, barley, oat bran, rice bran, psyllium husks and some fruits.
- Slow down – and give yourself a chance to feel full. Research has shown it takes at least 10 minutes after you start eating before your brain gets a signal to say it has eaten. This can be a hard habit to change but eating at the table instead rather than in front of the television or computer, putting your knife and fork down between meals and making sure mealtimes are relaxed can help.
- Watch portions. Whether it’s a sandwich, snack food or meal, research has shown that if we are served larger portions we will eat them, without feeling any fuller or reducing our subsequent food intake. One study found that even when subjects were given larger portions of all food and drinks for 11 days, they continued to consume the larger amounts with no signs of cutting back. Try using smaller plates and give yourself time to feel full before going back for seconds.
- Start with soup or salad – research has shown that having a salad before your meal reduces the amount you eat at that meal. Low fat vegetable-based soups and salads offer large portions with little calories. Filling up on these, or some raw veggies with salsa dip, before your meal means you will feel fuller faster and will help to get your 5 daily vegetable serves.
- Drink plenty of water – water is kilojoule-free and can help to fill up your stomach, reducing the amount you eat at meals and preventing you from snacking excessively between meals. If you are feeling hungry between meals, try a glass of water first, then see if you are still hungry in 10 minutes time.