Firstly, we all eat more food than we need for different reasons. For example one lady could eat for boredom, another through emotion, another through habit. In this blog we are going to focus on pure hunger.
Lets start with diagnosing HUNGER. Hunger is or can be a physical feeling in the tummy, often accompanies with a growling sound! Ask yourself when you last actually felt real hunger like I described. Many people will find it hard to answer that question, yet many of my ladies are afraid that they will ‘starve’ or fell hungry if they don’t load up their plate with piles of food, huge portions, and continue to top themselves up in between…. just in case! It really does seem ridiculous to feel like this when food is in abundance in this country, there is always a shop open where food is reasonably priced and always available. So, if you feel like this, then I would say you are NOT hungry, you are eating emotionally.
Whether it’s a meal, or eating at any other time of day or night, eating when you are not physically hungry can be a big factor in the trouble people have in controlling their weight.
It’s a good idea to consciously be aware of your hunger levels before and after a meal.
If you think about 1 as being starving – you are getting physical signs in your tummy, maybe even a little light headed and 10 being completely stuffed, like you would feel after your Christmas lunch. We will call this your hunger score.
So, for example, before your breakfast you should be feeling a hunger score of 3-4 and after a healthy filling meal you should then take time to feel again your score, which should be around a 7-8, you could eat more (you could always eat more!) but you feel satisfied and content. You could even write down your feelings and ask yourself the following:
- Is your stomach hunger satisfied?
- Do you feel happy with your food choice?
- Did it hit the right spot?
Now we have diagnosed your actual hunger, lets talk about the types of food which will fill you up, help you to stay healthy and help you to drop a few pounds at the same time! The simple answer to this is….
Eating 10% more protein in your meals will help you to stop snacking in between meals.
Fiber help your body to feel fuller for longer
It is best to start as you mean to go on and start with a healthy protein based breakfast. Here’s some examples;
- Eggs cooked any way you like
- Eat green vegetables – avocado, spinach and broccoli are great choices
- Eat lean bacon, nuts, beans, peas, lentils
- Smoked salmon
- Protein shake with vegetables
If you start your day with a protein filling breakfast, you will find that throughout the day your hunger and cravings (a bonus) will disappear. And if weight-loss is your goal you will automatically eat less and therefore be in a calorie deficit which can only lead to one thing…. fat loss! Bingo!
But why does protein keep you feeling fuller for longer? When any food travels through he digestive system it triggers a hormone PYY in to the blood stream. When PYY reaches the brain it suppresses any hunger signals, so it stops hunger pangs and you feel full. Scientists have food that protein triggers more of the PYY hormone than any other nutrient.
And the reason fiber is a filler is because it takes the body much longer to digest and therefore is hanging around your system longer and keeping you full.