If you ever thought that gaining weight is much easier than losing it, then trust me when I say that you are not alone. Losing weight may seem pretty clear-cut at first: exercise more, eat less. But it can actually be a real challenge. Because when you cut down your food or caloric intake dramatically, your body actually reacts to the sudden shortage of food supply by pumping out more ghrelin (a.k.a. ‘hunger hormone), which not only encourages you to eat more, it also — yikes! — promotes the conservation of fat (which makes it that much harder to burn it off!).
When you want to lose those extra kilos, it is not enough to just cut down on your food intake; it is equally important to choose the right foods. There are many healthy food options that will not only ensure that you get the necessary nutrition during your weight-loss journey but will also work to curb your food cravings so that you are no longer struggling to stay away from an extra helping of food or give in to an unhealthy snack. Let’s look at seven of them.
Have a Glass of Water
Whenever you feel the urge to grab a sugar-laden milk chocolate bar, try downing a glass of water instead. Consuming water helps you feel full. In fact, one study discovered that if you drink two glasses of H2O right before you have a meal, you can significantly reduce the total amount of calories consumed. Besides, if you drink a glass of water every time you feel peckish, you will easily fulfil your daily requirement of water (approximately 8 glasses of water a day for the average person) — which is so good for you.
Chew on an Apple
If you are going to snack, pick up an apple; the sweet and crunchy fruit is rich in vitamins and minerals but low in calories, making them a thoroughly healthy and nutritious option. Chewing an apple also takes time and allows you to feel satisfied by the time you are done. Apples also make you feel fuller for longer because they are high in fibre and water content, while the pectin in apples prevent your blood sugar levels from going haywire and give you a good energy boost (so you are not reaching for a sugary snack to give you a lift). An apple a day will not only keep the doctor away but keep you from the (unhealthy) snack drawer, too.
Top Up on Beans
Beans are protein-rich and full of fibre so eating them can help you make you feel full for a long time after. Beans in your diet will also help to release the digestive hormone cholecystokinin, which works naturally to suppress the appetite as well as increase the metabolism. For weight watchers, that sure sounds like two good reasons to include beans in your daily diet!
Bake a Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and relatively low-calorie food, weighing in at 112 calories. The starch in sweet potato takes a long time for our body to digest. That and the fact that it is very high in fibre help keep us feeling satisfied and can stop us from reaching out for more food. Sweet potatoes are also an easy and delicious snack that can be steamed, baked or boiled. In fact, recent research also indicates that drinking the water that is used to cook sweet potatoes can potentially help with weight loss. Apparently, the peptides in the sweet potato water may support fat digestion.
Slice Up an Avocado
Rich in unsaturated fats (i.e., healthy fats), avocados, along with olive oils, are wonderful additions to the diet if you are looking to curb excessive eating. It seems that avocados contain high amounts of oleic acid, which actually works to reduce the appetite by sending a message to the brain that you are already full. Fill up on avocados by adding them to your salad, sandwiches and smoothies.
Sprinkle Some Cinnamon
This fragrant brown spice is known to help regulate blood sugar levels, eliminate fatigue and raise your energy levels. Cinnamon also lowers the appetite by slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates in the small intestine, which causes one to feel full for an extended period of time. Just a half teaspoon of the powdered spice in your tea or water (or cereal and yoghurt) can help stave off hunger for several hours.
Add a Dash of Cayenne Pepper
The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to reduce hunger and cravings in two ways. One, the heat of the cayenne causes the body temperature to rise, which increases blood flow and raises our metabolism, which allows us to burn more calories. Two, capsaicin also acts to suppress the appetite and create a sensation of fullness, which means you end up eating less than you otherwise would.