Appetite – simply defined as:
1. desire for food or drink:
2. desire to satisfy any bodily need or craving.
3. desire or liking for something; fondness; taste
No complicated language there. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?
If only it were that easy. Wouldn’t it be great if it were so simple that we only ate when we were hungry, and always stopped when we were full?
So what’s the thing that drives that sometimes maddening desire to eat or drink (and yes I know we have appetites for other bodily cravings, but I’ll stick to my expertise).
The key word in the definition is desire – a longing for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment. And it’s incredible how strong that desire can feel so much bigger than us, it drives us and we succumb.
We suspend all reason, consume too much, and end up feeling physically uncomfortable, emotionally pissed off and intellectually confused, asking – why the #$%^ did I just do that?
Such a struggle, and there’s a delicate dance between controlling (i.e. fighting) and satisfying the desire. And the dance that works is different for each of us. The best solution I have found is to experiment and find what works for YOU.
There are a slew of physiological factors that are involved, including hormones, what you eat and how you eat. By choosing and combining different strategies, we can find the dance steps that create a natural balance – one that offers control and satisfaction all in one.
Here is a summary of some suggestions offered by Berkeley Wellness to get you started:
1. Volume: Studies find that we tend to eat about the same amount of food regardless of calories. So choosing bulky foods with more water and fiber in place of low-volume, calorie-dense foods (such as cookies and brownies). Tip: To control your appetite, eat more fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, and cooked whole grains.
2. Get Your Protein: Fats, carbohydrates and protein may have different effects on satiety. There is some evidence that foods that are high in protein increase satiety more than high-carb foods, though this varies from person to person. Tip: Make sure that you’re eating enough healthy foods with protein, such as nuts, beans and fish.
3. Please Your Palate: Most people find foods high in fat and sugar more pleasurable, because they may activate the body’s “reward system” (which releases chemicals in the nervous system relating to pleasure) and blunt the body’s normal response to satiety signals, making it easier to overeat. Tip: An occasional treat is fine – just keep the portion small, and not a daily splurge.
4. Mind Portions: Many people eat what’s ever in front of them, using visual cues rather than hunger to tell them when they are finished. Tips: Use small plates, bowls and cups. Tall, narrow glasses give the illusion of larger portions. Portion out servings in small bowls or bags and don’t eat from large bags or boxes.
5. Limit Distractions: Eating while watching TV, working or engaging in other tasks can make you eat more as you’re not as likely to use hunger/satiety signals to tell you when you have eaten enough. Tip: Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer, or while reading or driving. If you do, portion out a serving ahead of time and stick to it.
6. Limit Choices: The greater the variety of foods to choose from, the more people tend to eat. Eating the same or similar foods dulls the palate, and you become satiated sooner. Introduce a food with different sensory qualities and appetite returns, which may be why there’s often room for dessert. Tip: Variety in your diet is important, but too many choices at once can lead to overconsumption. Avoid all-you-can eat buffets.
7. Eat Mindfully: People eat for reasons other than hunger—when they are stressed, depressed, upset, angry, lonely, even happy and excited. And they often eat because of social pressures or simply because it’s mealtime. Tips: Practice intuitive/mindful eating. Choose foods that nourish you, eat slowly, take pleasure from each bite, be aware of your surroundings—and eat only when you are hungry.
Wishing you satisfaction,
P.S. I know that even with tips, controlling appetite isn’t easy. I’ve had these challenges myself, and successfully beat them and would love to share more tools and techniques to help you do the same. Let’s have a chat and find out if working together is a good fit. I offer a complimentary session and scheduling is easy with my online booking system: Schedule Now
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