A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Weight control without going hungry

Glass of water on tablePromotions for ways to lose or control weight run the gamut from fasting and special diets to maintaining a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.

When you’ve decided it’s time to make a change, what’s most important about the method you choose to help you lose weight is that you:

  • Talk with your doctor. Make sure you haven’t overlooked health concerns or problems that could occur because a particular approach isn’t healthy for you.
  • Feel good and have energy to do activities you enjoy while you’re losing or controlling your body weight.

“Using successful weight loss and portion control methods shouldn’t make you feel out of sorts or tired,” said Jaimee Gregor, a Marshfield Clinic registered dietitian. “Your body’s energy stores can be affected when you eat too little or not enough of the right balance of foods, leaving you feeling light-headed or even nauseous.”

Stick to healthy basics

Gregor offers some natural, easy ways to reduce food intake and control hunger while you lose or control your body weight:

  • Drink a glass of water before each meal.
  • Choose natural foods such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Include low-fat dairy and lean meat proteins.
  • Be aware of shakes or juicing that can cause you to consume more calories than you normally would eat at a meal.
  • Watch the timing of your meals.

“I recommend eating within two hours of waking and then spacing meals four to five hours apart,” Gregor said. “If you have to go more than six hours between meals, have a healthy snack so you don’t eat too much at your next meal.”

Remember to include exercise with your approach, she said.

“Exercise at the time of day when you’re most likely to do it. If you’re not a morning runner don’t make that your time to run. It’s easy to make excuses when your exercise time isn’t realistic or the exercise you’ve chosen to do isn’t an activity you enjoy.”

Technology can help

Consider using a calorie-counting app.

“A calorie-counting app can put calorie tracking at your fingertips,” Gregor said. “You can visibly see what you’ve eaten and how much. This can prevent you from shorting yourself to the point you end up snacking more. By using this technology, I always know whether I can have seconds for supper or a late-night snack.”

How hungry are you? This hunger scale can help you decide if you’re ready to eat.

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