If you are trying to lose weight, you probably know what a battle it can be. You might lose 5 or 10 pounds on a crash diet, but then you might gain it all back, plus some! Of course, even if you aren’t on a crash diet and are just trying to control your portions to maintain your weight, it can still be a battle when you are feeling hungry all the time.
Why It Takes Effort to Lose Weight
Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to gain weight than it is to lose weight for most people. The reason is simple. The more you eat, the more your stomach will stretch out. So, your stomach will get used to holding more food to feel full and this becomes ‘normal’.
After all, people are creatures of habit. Our bodies get used to things being a certain way and they expect things to continue to be that way. That’s why you may find yourself feeling hungry all the time when you are first starting your weight loss journey – your body is simply used to consuming more food!
Breaking that cycle can be difficult. If you eat less, your stomach won’t feel full. Your brain will keep giving you signals to eat and your stomach will keep making rumbling noises. It’s then very easy to give in and succumb to the urge to eat more than you should.
The best way for you to solve that problem is to learn how to stop feeling hungry, even if you are eating less and slowly shrinking your stomach’s capacity. The secret is to look for foods that are healthy and filling.
By doing this you can train your body to eat less by consuming smaller portions of those foods. In time this will ‘train’ your body to expect less food and it should keep those nasty hunger pangs at bay!
Charting Your Experiences
One way to learn how to eat less is by charting your experiences with food. You can quite easily figure out which foods give you a lasting full feeling and try to avoid the foods that leave you feeling hungry. If you eat foods that make you feel full, you’ll eat less often, reducing your daily calorie intake. So, you will start to lose weight.
Luckily, a researcher by the name of Dr. Susanne Holt has already done quite a bit of that work for you. She created a food chart called the Satiety Index to help people determine the full (sated) feeling they will get from 38 fairly common foods. The chart is shown below:
The Creation of the Satiety Index – Part 1
The Satiety Index was created using data retrieved by a simple study, which Dr. Holt conducted at the University of Sydney. She tested several student volunteers in two different ways. For Part 1, she had the students eat certain foods in 240 calorie portions. Each of the test foods was placed under a cover and prepared in similar sizes and shapes so that the results wouldn’t be skewed by appearances.
The second research phase involved having each volunteer wait two hours before eating again. Then they were given access to a buffet of foods. Dr. Holt and her team carefully watched each of the participants over the next 2 hours to see which foods they ate and how much of each food they ate.
They also asked the volunteers to judge their own level of fullness every 15 minutes, based on a scale starting with 100. The number 100 represented white bread. Numbers higher than white bread were more filling, while lower numbers were foods that did not fill the volunteers up as much.
How the Satiety Index Can Help You
The Satiety Index can help you in a variety of ways, when you are trying to learn how to eat less. First of all, it will tell you the ‘satisfaction effect’ of the 38 foods on the list. Second, looking at those numbers can help you to understand the concept of satiety and its trends. For instance, you’ll notice that a lot of vegetables are much more filling than breads, while some meats offer middle-of-the road numbers.
Looking at the Satiety Index chart can also give you guidance around charting your own favorite foods. You can roughly estimate how full each of the foods you eat fairly often make you feel, and write that information down. Then you can refer to it, as well as the Satiety Index, when you are planning your meals.
As you can see, you don’t have to starve your body in order to lose weight. You just have to retrain it by eating the right foods. Now that you know how to eat less by using the Satiety Index and applying it to as many of the foods you eat as possible, your weight loss goals will be much easier to reach.
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