Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Mind over Platter: How I lost 100 lbs, curb hunger with mental appetite suppressants

I put on a lot of weight after a series of difficult life events and have since lost 100 pounds. I slimmed down from size 18/20 to 3/4. You're probably not surprised to read that hardest part was constantly feeling hungry. Here are weight loss tips to curb hunger and "psych" yourself up to feel satisfied. I call these mental appetite suppressants my "mind over platter" regimen. 

1) Get used to feeling a little hungry all the time. There's no magic bean that to completely curb hunger. Caffeine products like green tea can be appetite suppressants but they can also make you hungrier. I would avoid chemical appetite suppressants (drugs) like Covid. The good news is that feeling a little hungry can actually help with weight loss. 

2) Think of hunger as an ally instead of enemy. Hunger is an alarm clock. Learn to decipher what it's signally. Are you working too hard and in need of a break? Perhaps some fresh air would take your mind off food, so go for a walk. Maybe you really do need to eat. Starving yourself doesn't make you lose weight. Food deprivation can actually make you gain weight because you "cheat on yourself" to compensate for feeling deprived. Maybe you're just thirsty (the body confuses hunger and thirst). You could also be lonely and "hungry" for companionship, love, human interaction or a hug.

3) Weight loss happens when you learn to be satisfied with less. The best appetite suppressants are new eating habits that put food in its proper place. Practice portion control--eat 3-4 ounce servings of meat, not 10-12. Fill at least half your plate with fruit and vegetables. Swap nuts and seeds for meat. Talk yourself out of eating junk, rather than convincing yourself you deserve it. Junk food is no treat if it makes you fat, sick and tired. Eat mindfully--don't eat till you are full, just satisfied. Weight loss happens when you stop eating when you are still a little hungry. Plus you'll feel fuller if you let your food settle.

4) Curb hunger by appreciating what you have. Maybe this sounds schmaltzy, but when you feel hungry, consider the many children who know real starvation. Keep their photos on the fridge and offer up your hunger as prayers (duas, kaddish, puja, incantation, good karma) for these children. Send money you saved eating less, to missions. During Lent, I'm trying to practice an attitude of gratitude for every mouthful, instead of mindlessly stuffing my face with food she don't need and feeling sorry for myself when I can't have more.

5) Understand why you eat. Many folks eat when they are sad, depressed, tired or lonely. And those comfort foods (which are really just junk food) lead to obesity

and make people more depressed. When you feel hungry, pause and ask yourself if you're really tired, bored, lonely, angry or sad. Are you filling your stomach and ignoring other gaps? Could you be satisfied with less food and "fill up on" other things, like quality time with family?

6) Distract yourself  from focusing on food. Curb hunger with active activity (not passive: no texting, video games or watching TV). You get hungrier staring at a screen and it's easier to mindlessly eat. Get outside, Garden. Volunteer, Walk the dog, kids and husband. Do housework. Make crafts with the children. Go out with friends for coffee. Romp with the kids in a pile of leaves. Take a nap or start a project. Run a tub of hot water and read. These are awesomely therapeutic appetite suppressants!

Are you seeing the mind over platter pattern here? Weight loss is 48 percent eating different, 50 percent thinking different and two percent hardcore chutzpah! It's not as simple as finding foods to fill you up. You have to change how you think about yourself, what you eat, how you eat and what role food fills in your life. And if obesity is a problem, don't despair. It's harder to curb hunger when your stomach is bigger and needs more to fill. As it shrinks, so will that ravenous appetite. Weight loss won't happen overnight, but it will happen. Mind over platter works if you work it--that's a guarantee! 

Best wishes with weight loss! 

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