By Sheryl Kraft
Dieting can make a lot of people downright cranky. So does being hungry. (I know someone who, when he gets hungry, gets moody and impossible to deal with. It's a little disconcerting, actually, to see a nice person turn into a raving lunatic. When he gets what he wants – and by that time, just about anything will do – he changes back into the nice person he was always meant to be.)
Just because you're dieting or trying to lose some weight doesn't mean you have to endure a growling, angry stomach that is silently screaming out to be filled.
Here are some really simple strategies for losing weight without losing your mind.
Up the Protein. Did you ever notice that when you eat protein feel full for a longer time? It's almost like an appetite suppressant. Eating protein can help you feel fuller – just make sure it's lean protein. Try combining two proteins, like an egg scrambled with a little shredded cheese, or a low-fat yogurt sprinkled with slivered almonds or chopped walnuts.
Allow snacks. A lot of people think they should eat three square meals a day, with absolutely no snacking in between. But this doesn't work for everyone (personally, I need to nibble between meals, or else I approach the upcoming meal with an appetite that is way too big. And that just gets me into trouble). If you prepare some healthful snacks ahead of time you'll be less likely to just grab at anything. When I know I'll be out for more than a few hours, I never leave home without some food like unsalted almonds and cashews in a little zip-top bag (a very smart friend of mine stashes hers in an empty Altoids mints tin), or if I'm really ambitious, some cutup carrots and celery. If you're home, make sure you have things that make healthy snacks like low-fat cottage cheese, hummus, whole grain crackers or fruits like apples and bananas. Planning ahead of time will cut down on the just-grab-anything mode.
Drink water. Sometimes you think you're hungry but what you really are is thirsty. Try drinking a glass of water the next time your stomach makes some noise.
Up your fruits and vegetable intake. Things like watermelon, oranges, and cucumbers can be high in water content and thus create a feeling of more fullness. And, they're low in calories, so you can eat more of them. Ever since my visit to Pritikin and seeing their emphasis on snacking on unlimited fruits and veggies, I've been a very happy – and satisfied – snacker.
Find the fiber. Seek out foods higher in fiber, since soluble and insoluble fibers hold water and expand in your stomach, helping you to feel full longer. (If you missed my prior post about a fabulous super-high fiber bread from the Instinct Diet cookbook, click here). Foods like fruits and veggies, beans, brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat bread are all packed with fiber.
This Matters> Feeling full isn't always when you feel like your stomach will burst and it's impossible to zip your jeans. Try doing the HARA HACHI BU. It's Japanese for "eat until you're 80 percent full." If you do this and wait 20 minutes, chances are that you will be satisfied, since it takes your stomach time to send the "I'm full" signal to your brain.
You might also want to read:
Five little changes that can help you lose weight
Foods for healthy aging