The physical need to eat is known as hunger, whereas the desire to eat is known as appetite. Many people find it difficult to differentiate between needing to eat and wanting to eat.
You can learn to control your appetite, which will definitely assist you with your weight loss efforts and long term weight maintenance. Appetite control will require a degree of self control combined with effort to change eating behaviours such as habit eating and comfort eating.
If you eat out of habit rather than hunger – try these tips to control your habit eating
- Don’t eat it all -Try leaving a small amount of food on the plate to practice not eating in response to the sight of food. If you find you can’t resist eating when food is around, avoid putting serving dishes on the table and don’t store unhealthy foods at home. Once your meal is over scrape your plates directly into the rubbish bin.
- Are you thirsty? Often people mistake thirst for hunger – break the habit of reaching for a snack and reach for a low calorie drink instead.
- Eat Slowly – During a meal it takes twenty minutes for your body to register that it is full. Be sure to eat slowly to allow your body time to register when it is no longer hungry. This will prevent you from pandering to your appetite and adding unnecessary calories.
- Identify your food eating triggers – watching TV, driving in the car, a time of day – most people can identify what it is that triggers them to eat even when they are not hungry. Before you reach for food ask yourself how hungry you are and if you are not hungry implement a distraction strategy to avoid reaching for food. Go for a walk, get up and stretch, call a friend – if you are not physically hungry do something other than eat.