THE GAME CHANGER
Do you come home from work after a long day of eating restrictively only to undo that austerity in a twenty-minute feeding frenzy? Do you “reward” yourself for handling pressure and pain by downing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy?
The problem with mindless munching of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor, yet oh-so-flavorful foods is that the satiety is short-lived. The hunger returns. This is how we end up putting on weight
and getting our blood sugar out of whack. Here are a few tips on keeping the hunger pangs at bay so you can beat back the battle of the bulge.
- Eat a good breakfast. Your mother was right. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it give you energy to start a new day, but breakfast is linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved exercise performance. Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers.
- Remove temptation. It's time for a kitchen makeover. Clean out your cupboard and fridge, and then restock them with nuts, cheese, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. By eliminating the availability of refined flour snacks that pack pounds on but providing plenty of options that are good for you, you're far less likely to find yourself foraging for empty calories.
- Identify your hunger. Have a craving for sweets, even though you ate just an hour ago? Imagine eating a large, sizzling steak instead. If you're truly hungry, the steak will sound good, and you should eat something. If it doesn't sound good, your brain is fooling you. Get up, walk around, change your environment and find a different task to distract you until the craving passes.
- Hydrate! 75% of hunger pangs are actually just the effects of dehydration. Feeling hungry? Drink a glass of cold water. This will also help you discern whether you are indeed in need to food or just thirsty. Water has a thermogenic effect, meaning it forces your body to crank up your metabolism to compensate for the temperature of the water. This effect will help you burn calories. Every cell in your body requires adequate water to function properly. Try to drink at least 8 glasses a day to speed up your metabolism and flush fat and toxins out.
- Don't dwell on disaster. One meal doesn't define your diet, so don't assume that one binge or overly caloric meal makes you a “failure.” You only fail when you stop trying. Institute a simple rule: Follow any bad food binging episode with at least five healthy meals and snacks. That ensures that you'll be eating right more than 80 percent of the time.
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast