How to Control Your Appetite

Two Methods:Using Environment to Control Eating BehaviorUsing Diet to Control Overeating

If you're planning on maintaining a regulated diet, you'll need to learn to control your appetite. When you're feeling hungry, you're more likely to ruin your diet plan for the day. More people quit their diets because of being unable to control their appetites than any other reason. Make changes in your environment and the foods you're eating to control your appetite,

Method 1
Using Environment to Control Eating Behavior

  1. Image titled Make a Paper Plate Easter Bunny Step 1
    Eat from small plates. Many people finish all the food on their plates despite their best efforts. One way to control your appetite is to control your portions by eating from smaller plates and bowls. While you'll mentally feel satisfied that you're eating a full portion, you're more likely to consume less.[1]
    • Try switching from a 12-inch plate (the average plate size in the US) to a 10-inch plate (the average plate size in France).
    • Controlling portion sizes is more likely to result in weight loss than increased exercise, which has different positive effects.
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    Try eating from brightly colored plates and bowls. Researchers have found a strong correlation between portion size and visual contrast. High contrast between food and plate was found, in one research study, to result in 22% smaller serving sizes than low contrast food and plates.[2]
    • If you're trying to eat more greens, try eating from green plates. This will increase your average serving size of green foods, and decrease the serving sizes of non-green foods such as pasta, meats or casseroles.
    • Serving pasta on a white plate or bowl is more likely to result in larger portion sizes.
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    Limit your distractions while eating. If you're used to eating in front of the television, you'll be more likely to lose control of your appetite. Instead, pay attention to each bite of your food. Notice the texture, aroma, and appearance of your food, and enjoy its flavor. Focus on how much you like, or don't like, what you're eating.[3]
    • Chewing each bite well before swallowing will also help prevent overeating, and aid digestion.
    • If you only eat at the table, you'll be more likely to stay away from mindless munching.
    • Using a fork and knife when you're eating will also help you practice mindfulness while you're eating. Try to set down the utensils between bites to help you slow down.
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    Stick to a few food choices per meal. Research shows that people are more likely to overeat when provided with more food options. Even believing that there are more food choices than there are has been shown to affect the amount of food a person eats.[4]
    • If you're faced with an "all you can eat" buffet, create strict rules for yourself to limit the amount of options you may choose from.
    • Creating guidelines for yourself can help you from feeling that you're being punished by not getting your fair share, a frequent cause for overeating.
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    Take a brisk walk. If you're feeling hungry even though you've had plenty to eat, interrupt your attention by taking a brisk walk. A 15-minute walk can lift your spirits, satisfy your emotional desire for snacking, and distract you from any thoughts of eating.[5]
    • Studies have shown that brief walking is an effective way to reduce sugar cravings.
    • Walking outside is best. Beware of walking in an area where you're likely to encounter food temptations, such as the mall or in a downtown shopping area.
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    Keep a food diary. Writing down a list of everything you eat during the day will help you stay clear on the amount of food you're consuming. Studies show that dieters who write down what they eat are likely to lose more weight than those who don't.[6]
    • Make sure your diary is easy to use. There are many convenient food journaling apps that you can set on your phone or tablet. These may include calorie counts as well. Of course, pencil and paper are always an option as well.
    • Be sure to be consistent and honest in your diary, or it won't work. Make sure you're including condiments and beverages!

Method 2
Using Diet to Control Overeating

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    Eat more fruits and vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables are high in water content and fiber, which result in your feeling more satisfied after eating fewer calories. Because people tend to eat about the same amount of food every day, simply substituting more fruits and vegetables for other, more calorie-rich foods, may help you feel full while still maintaining dietary limits.[7]
    • Adding water-rich ingredients to any recipe will increase the density of the food without increasing the calorie-count.
    • For example, include spinach, zucchini, or carrots to your favorite chili or casserole. Add lettuce, tomatoes and sprouts to a simple sandwich, and you'll be less likely to crave additional high-calorie foods.
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    Start your meal with vegetables. Research shows that people are more likely to eat less during a meal if they start it out with fresh vegetables. Eating high-fiber, high water content foods results in feeling fuller, without eating more calories.[8]
    • If you're trying to lose weight, use low-calorie dressing and don't add additional fats, such as cheese, to your salad.
    • A vegetable-based, low-calorie soup can also help you feel full without increasing your portion sizes.
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    Eat more protein. Including a serving of lean protein with every meal or snack will result in less craving, and feeling more satisfied. Because protein can come laden with fat, be sure that your protein sources are carefully selected to minimize fat content. Lean sources of protein include soy, low-fat dairy, eggs, lean meats, fish and poultry.[9]
    • For best results, add protein to foods that are high in fiber and water. For example, adding low-fat peanut butter to celery or a slice of apple results in a satisfying snack.
    • Adding hard-boiled eggs or lean meats to a salad creates a lunch dish that will keep you from feeling hungry later in the day.
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    Avoid juices and smoothies. If you're trying to control your appetite, you might be substituting solid meals with liquids. While these may contain the same nutrients as fresh fruits and vegetables, research suggests that you'll feel less satisfied after a beverage than after eating a solid meal.[10]
    • There's nothing unhealthy about juices, but they won't help control your appetite.
    • For best results, drink fresh water while eating at least 9 daily portions of fruits and vegetables.
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    Hydrate with water in between meals. Drinking 2 8-ounce glasses of water before eating meals, and drinking additional water in between meals, will help to control your appetite.[11]
    • Hydration levels can send false signals to the brain regarding appetite satisfaction. If you're thirsty, you might be misinterpreting it as feeling hungry. If you're well-hydrated, you're more likely to feel full.
    • People who drink water before meals feel more satisfied, and less hungry, at the outset of the meal and are better able to control what they eat.
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    Include more spicy foods in your diet. Foods high in capsaicin (the chemical that makes hot peppers hot) help you feel satisfied longer than non-spicy foods. In addition, hot chile peppers may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and speed up your metabolism.[12]
    • Adding hot peppers to your diet adds only a few calories.
    • Hot peppers may also lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of peptic ulcers.
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    Make sure you're including healthy fat in your diet. Even small amounts of "healthy fat" triggers a fat-derived compound called oleoylethanolamide in the brain, and this sends the message to your body that you're satisfied. A healthy diet contains 3-9 servings of these healthy fats.[13]
    • Healthy fats are good for the heart. They are also known as polyunsaturated fats.
    • Nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil are all sources of healthy fats.
    • These fats are also rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6.
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    Drink peppermint tea to suppress appetite. Like water, herbal tea can help hydrate your body which helps you feel more satisfied and full. Some studies suggest that peppermint tea in particular functions to curb your appetite, whether consumed before or after a meal.[14]
    • In addition, drinking a cup of hot peppermint tea following a meal will freshen your breath and eliminate remaining food particles that might contribute to bad breath.
    • Peppermint tea is well-known as a stress reliever. If you're tempted to eat out of anxiety or frustration, try drinking a cup of peppermint tea to relieve the pressure. You'll likely find yourself calmer and less hungry.

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Categories: Maintaining Diets