The struggle is so real when it comes to losing weight. We bust our butts in the gym, try as much as possible to control our portions or sign up for a diet plan and yet one utterly powerful struggle remains – food is, especially delicious food, is just so hard to say no to.
Sure, some of us have legitimate reasons that make weight loss difficult, but for many of us, at the end of the day, we just really like to eat. If we really think about it though, there’s actually nothing wrong with liking to eat. Food is something that is meant to be enjoyed, savored and utilized to nourish our bodies. The trick lies in figuring out what kind of food we should be eating and making food work for you instead of against you.
Make Food Your Ally
When it comes to dieting and losing weight in particular, one of the greatest mistakes that we make is to assume that food is the enemy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are definitely some kinds of food that you should keep out of your diet, honest to goodness whole food is the best weapon in your weight loss arsenal. One of the ways to utilize food is by making sure that your stomach always has some fuel in the tank.
What do we mean by this? Well, it’s simple really, when your stomach is empty it triggers a secretion of the hormone ghrelin. This hormone signals your brain of your stomach’s barren state and is responsible for our hunger pangs and cravings. If you let this feeling going on long enough, it triggers cravings. As we all know from experience, cravings will almost always result in a hardcore binge session.
The sad thing about this is that it becomes a vicious cycle. Since we often fall prey to the lure of junk food or give in to our cravings when we’re hungry, we eat food that satisfies us mentally, but has no long lasting physical benefit. Simply speaking, junk food doesn’t keep us full very long and sooner than later ghrelin will rear its ugly head and restart the cycle all over again.
TO start making food our allies, we first need to make better food choices. We need to pick foods that will keep us fuller longer. This will prevent our stomachs from hitting empty before the next meal comes around and keep the ghrelin secretion at bay. The best way to do this is by choosing food that takes longer to pass through our digestive systems. Here are the top 3 best foods to eat that kill hunger and help you lose weight.
Ah, protein. This food group has often been associated with body builders and athletes, but it’s also absolutely essential to people who want to lose weight. Not only is protein very dense, some protein also contains tons of casein, which is a type of protein that suppresses appetite. It should go without saying, however, that you should make smart protein choices.
For example, grilled chicken is a much better alternative to beer battered chicken wings. Some favorite protein choices for people eager to lose weight include chicken breast, lean cuts of beef and, unexpectedly, paneer. Although it’s technically part of the dairy family, paneer is actually a favorite of body builders because it’s a fantastic source of calcium and packs a healthy punch of protein (casein, in particular). It’s also much healthier when compared to other cheeses.
Egg is another fantastic choice of protein for men and women who desire to lose weight or just stay healthier in general. Studies conducted have concluded that people who eat an egg or two for breakfast instead of carbohydrates like bagels will stay fuller for longer over a 24-hour period. The bonus? Those who chose to eat eggs over bagels also consumed an average of 330 calories less throughout the day.
Sadly, fat is probably one of the most misunderstood food groups ever. We often scowl at the mere thought of “fat” and associate it with our ridiculous weight gain or inability to shed pounds. While there’s no objection that some fats are a detriment to our health and weight loss goals, healthy fats do exist.
Moreover, consuming heart healthy fats in their proper serving sizes can help keep you feeling satiated much longer than a high-sugar, high-carb snack will. Nuts are a fantastic example of this. Although not all nuts are created equal, all of them have some level of heart-healthy fats and nuts like almonds contain large amounts of fiber per serving. Having a handful of almonds as a mid-afternoon snack can fight hunger pangs and also give you that much needed boost of energy to get through the rest of your work day.
The creamy and rich flesh of avocado is another heart healthy fat to add to your pantry. Packed with fiber and monounsaturated fat, avocados are a great fill-up food to keep you feeling fuller longer. Avocados are also rich in oleic acid, which is a type of fat that signals your brain that your stomach is full. Try adding some avocado chunks to a salad or spreading it onto some gluten-free toast for a filling and energizing breakfast. Just remember that avocados are also quite high in calories so it’s best to stick to a serving size of half the fruit.
High Fiber Foods
Eating foods that are high in fiber is another great way to keep hunger at bay. This does come with the caveat, however, as many foods may claim to be high in fiber but are also loaded with unnecessary sugars and carbs. Whole wheat bread is an example of this trap, as many whole wheat breads in the market are made with enriched flour. Instead of this, incorporate whole foods that are naturally high in fiber into your diet.
Apples are the perfect example of a hunger fighting, high fiber whole food. Apples contain a soluble fiber known as pectin, which can keep you full for up to two hours. Pectin also helps to reduce the number of calories and sugar that get absorbed into the blood stream after meals, thus preventing blood sugar spikes and dips. Many people who have successfully lost weight have apples as their snack of choice or may even choose to eat an apple before a meal to help reduce their caloric intake.