Research has shown that restrictive diets don’t lead to long-term healthy weight. While this may, in part, be because reducing food intake is not sustainable over the long term, unresolved unhealthy relationships with food may also be involved. For example, subconscious childhood messages to “clean our plates” of food we didn’t put there and enforced mealtimes that required us to either ignore our hunger until dinnertime or eat at a certain time—even if we weren’t hungry—may have led, eventually, to poor communication with our hunger GPS.
Intuitive eating is based on the premise that the body has an innate wisdom about the quantity and type of food required to maintain an appropriate weight and achieve nutritional health. It has been associated with less disordered eating, more aspects of positive body image such as body appreciation, and improved emotional functioning.
Essentially, intuitive eaters eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re satisfied. No food is off-limits unless it’s restricted by a specific health issue such as a food allergy or diabetes, for example, and intuitive eaters eat what and when they choose. In other words, intuitive eaters don’t consider the potential impact that a food might have on body weight.
This isn’t to suggest that intuitive eaters aren’t concerned about their health. On the contrary: people with higher body appreciation tend to focus on body function (what the body can do and feel) rather than body image (appearance) when making food choices.
The body’s goal, always, is to achieve allostasis or balance. When it comes to eating, a multitude of mechanisms are at work to sensitize us to food cues when energy reserves are getting low. For example, the appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin and other circulating molecules are directed by the hypothalamus, which is the control center in the brain.
Another example is interoceptive sensitivity, which is the extent to which we can detect internal bodily sensations. Lower interoceptive sensitivity has been observed in anorexia, binge eating, overweight and obesity, as well as depression. Intuitive eating is associated with higher levels of interoceptive sensitivity.
Amping up interoceptive sensitivity can be a challenging process, not only because we may have unconscious food programming, but also because we may jump to conclusions about what body sensations to expect when we’re hungry, for example, or what the sensations we experience might signal. We also may have trained ourselves to ignore physiological responses like hunger, stress, and pain. Mindfulness therapies may be useful in helping to re-establish the mind-body connection.
Signs of hunger
A rumbling tummy is not the only sign of hunger. Other cues include
- light-headedness or shakiness
- loss of focus
- thinking about food
Tips for eating mindfully
- Take small portions; refill as required.
- Sit to eat.
- Focus on food: no screens!
- Put down utensils between bites.
- Chew thoroughly.
- Notice flavor and texture.
- Stop eating when satisfied.
These Supplements May Help
Unfortunately, there’s no quick-fix diet or product that’ll magically melt the fat off your belly and hips, but certain ingredients and supplements really can help temper food cravings.
It’s true: The following ingredients and products won’t magically melt the fat off your belly and hips, but they can temper food cravings, helping to support weight loss. They’re not stimulants, which means they’re safe when used according to directions. Many of them work by stabilizing blood sugar levels—it’s the ups and downs in blood sugar that trigger hunger. Some, such as fiber-containing supplements, also reduce hunger by increasing a sense of satiety and slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the intestine.
“By far, the hardest part of dieting is dealing with hunger. Eating more naturally fatty foods, such as avocados, nuts and butter, helps stabilize sugar levels and prevent hunger pangs,” says Michael Aziz, MD, of New York City and the author of the best-selling book, The Perfect 10 Diet (Cumberland, 2001). “Plus, add one of the supplements proven to shut down hunger.”
These four ingredients have been shown to suppress appetite in some people:
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).
ACV gained traction as an appetite suppressant and weight loss aid in the 1970s. And it’s still relatively popular. Like other types of vinegar, it contains about 5 percent acetic acid—the active ingredient—and the science clearly shows that vinegar lowers and stabilizes blood sugar levels. With more stable blood sugar, you’re less likely to experience hunger jags, according to studies conducted at Arizona State University and Sweden’s Lund University. Japanese researchers have reported that ACV inhibits several carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, including amylase, sucrase, maltase and lactase. All of these factors can contribute to less hunger and subsequent weight loss. Plus, ACV may safely be combined with other supplements.
Garcinia is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA), and both the fruit extract and HCA have been found to suppress appetite and blunt food intake, according to an April 2016 article in the journal Fitoterapia. Garcinia helps in weight loss through three mechanisms: It regulates appetite-related serotonin levels, increases fat burning and decreases the body’s own fat production.
Natives of southern Africa have for centuries chewed on pieces of this succulent to suppress hunger and thirst while on long hunting trips. Only a handful of human tests have been conducted, but in these studies hoodia has been shown to reduce carbohydrate cravings among people on low-calorie diets. A new study found that a compound in hoodia boosts insulin activity and reduces appetite.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and expands in the gut to form a gel, creating a sense of fullness. That alone can reduce the desire to eat more, but soluble fiber may also work in other ways. It slows the movement of food from the stomach into the intestine, and by doing so it helps stabilize blood sugar. Some of the top soluble fiber supplements include glucomannan, beta-glucan, alginate, inulin and psyllium. Fiber may be combined with other types of supplements.
Non-starchy vegetables, limited healthy fats, lean, quality protein and high-fiber grains make a strong basis for your healthy eating habits. Along with an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise, weight loss diets can become lifestyle habits that help you maintain your ideal weight today and tomorrow. Let Betsy’s help you in your weight loss journey with products that may help support appetite control, as well as other important aspects of your healthy eating plan.
BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, or take prescription or over-the-counter medication.
Article copyright 2022 by Alive Publishing Group, Inc., Delicious Living , and Jack Challem. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-sliced-vegetable-2284166/