1) Drink up – Water that is. Our bodies may signal hunger when we are dehydrated so make sure you are staying well hydrated year-round.
2) Water-filled fruits and veggies – Fruits and vegetables that are high in water content help fill our tummies with both water and fiber, helping us to feel more satisfied. Pair bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrot sticks with hummus or a yogurt-based dip or drizzle some balsamic dressing over watermelon or berries for a fun twist.
3) Take a hike – Get those feel-good endorphins going and get your mind off of food while going for a walk with your favorite walking buddies (dogs count too!)
4) Friendly fat – When we’re looking to cut back on calories, fat is almost the first to go. Unfortunately we end up hungry! Fat increases meal satisfaction and can help us stay feeling full longer. Spread half an avocado onto a sandwich or grab a small handful of walnuts onto a fresh salad for the right amount of satisfaction.
5) Protein – Protein is an essential component of any successful meal plan. Make sure to include some protein at all meal times and snacks. Pair a piece of fruit with some string cheese or spread a tablespoon of almond butter on top.
6) Slow down! – Many of us have gotten into the habit of scarfing down our meals instead of savoring them. It can take our bodies 20 minutes to signal to our brain that we are satisfied. Before we give our bodies time to adjust, we have already over consumed. Sit up straight (rather than hunching over your plate), take breaks after every few bites, and take sips of water in between.
7) Use the “Hunger” Scale – Next time you sit down to eat, assess how hungry you really are. On a scale of 0-10 are you ravenous (ready to devour the first thing in sight), just beginning to feel hungry, or bored (not really hungry, just looking for something to do). By understanding where we fall on the hunger scale, we can consciously make better food choices.
Tip – The hunger scale is important to use during a meal as well. Avoid overeating and reaching “Thanksgiving” full!
8) Avoid skipping meals – One of the biggest things we can do to sabotage ourselves while trying to lose weight is skipping meals. Skipping meals can actually slow or prevent our progress altogether – not to mention make us cranky or “hangry”. Make sure you are eating balanced meals every 3-4 hours, and keep nutrition, sensibly-sized snacks on hand just in case.
9) Eat your fiber – Fiber plays an important role in weight loss and maintenance. Fiber slows the digestion of food out of the stomach, helping us to feel full longer. Include a variety of good fiber-rich foods like whole grains, ground flaxseeds, whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds for optimal nutrient intake.
10) Call a friend – Sometimes we’re not really as hungry as we think we are. Boredom, stress, and even thinking about food too much can make us think we need to eat. Get your mind off of food by calling a friend, listening to music, or diving into a new book.
Saint Mary’s Fitness Center will be hosting a Nutrition BootCamp that will be starting on March 16th. For more details click here. Sign up by either calling 775-770-3800 or coming into the Center.
Today’s post is sponsored by Saint Mary’s Fitness Center, and is written by Elise Mische. Elise is a registered dietitian with Saint Mary’s Fitness Center where she serves as the Nutrition and Weight Loss Specialist. She volunteers year-round with the Nevada Diabetes Association, working at their camp programs and providing nutrition education to children ages 7-17 and their families. Previously, she worked as the Nutritional Coordinator for an Los Angeles-based food company where she developed nutritionally-balanced meal programs for weight loss and maintenance. As both a registered dietitian and an Italian who loves to eat, she constantly strives to find ways to make nutritious foods taste even better to help clients stay on track and meet their personal health goals.