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How to control hunger pangs

Skipping meals or not eating on time leads to overeating in the next meal. Do not stock your house with indulgent foods that will tempt you. Read on for more tips.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 26, 2010 16:10 IST
Dr Anjali Mukerjee

Most dieters are put off simply by the thought of going hungry. Hunger is the most difficult thought to contend with when one begins a diet. Most books say that if you eat as they direct, you wouldn’t get hungry. What a lovely thought, but more often than not, it is not true. No dieter can be promised that he will never get hungry.



Ayurvedic wisdom


According to Ayurveda, different body types have different rates of metabolism. The

Kapha

constitution means a person has low appetite and a slow rate of digestion. Those with the

Pitta

constitution have very large appetites and strong digestive capacity. Those with a

Vata

constitution have irregular and unpredictable digestive capacity. Those who have all three

doshas

in balance have average digestive power.



A fundamental rule is to eat food that is easy to digest. By doing this, the system is not overloaded, and undigested food does not stay in the body. According to Ayurveda, until the age of 40, the digestive system is strong and able to digest wheat. After 40, it begins to get sluggish. Hence, it is best to reduce intake of wheat, fried food and heavy red meat like pork and beef, after the age of 40. After 55, it is practically impossible to digest wheat unless you are exercising heavily.



Diet How to control hunger


A high-fibre meal helps the dieter to stop eating sooner than he/ she normally would. The process of chewing and swallowing sends the first signals of satiety to the brain. Since the same amount of food takes longer to consume, the stomach feels full faster. Fibre also helps to normalise the insulin level by delaying the absorption of carbohydrates to a great extent.

Those who are overweight tend to produce more insulin, because they eat refined sugars like pastries, pizzas, white bread, white rice, etc. These foods trigger the production of insulin, which in turn leads to weight gain. Avoid such simple sugars. Drink a glass of lime juice 20 minutes before your meal.

Black coffee or tea also stimulates the release of the CCK hormone, which sends satiety signals to the brain.

The amino acid tryptophan found in peanuts, bananas, beef, mutton, almonds, egg yolk, milk and cheese is responsible for suppressing appetite. It stimulates the production of serotonin, which in turn causes the brain to release “stop eating” messages.

Avoid overeating
Hunger is the body’s need for food. Appetite is triggered by the mind. For example, the whiff of a cake being baked whets your appetite even if you’re not hungry.

Establish a regular eating pattern. Skipping meals or not eating on time leads to overeating in the next meal.

Do not stock your house with indulgent foods that will tempt you.

Change the way you cope with stress. If stress makes you overeat try going for a brisk walk, talking to a supportive friend or going for a massage that will help you destress.

Binging has become a major pastime among most people. This is one of the major causes of premature aging. What is most important for the dieter is to firmly believe that the pleasure of being trim and healthy is far greater than the pleasure of eating unwisely. Once you truly believe this, half of the battle of the bulge has been won.