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Controlling Your Stomach Muscles: The Secret Behind Curbing Your Appetite

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

It’s slowly but surely approaching “that” time of year again. The time of year that lends itself to “warm”, soothing environments, with friends and loved one nestled beside the fire watching the latest and greatest in hit series or movies (especially the ones you missed over the summer while you were actually out enjoying the sun and heat) while sipping on hot cocoa and nibbling on (buttered) popcorn.

Stop, rewind! It all sounded good until the part about sitting down and noshing….after all that’s the fastest way to put on extra pounds, perhaps even all those you worked so hard at burning during your outdoor (summer) excursions.

What’s ironic is that “snacking” is optional. In fact, eating (at least with regards to how much of it you do and how often) is also “optional”, according to the professionals. In fact, they note that most people often eat during the day out of emotion (boredom, sadness, etc), or simply because “the food is there”, or as a “social” activity.

Experts also identify two types of hunger; stomach hunger, and mouth hunger, the first being a genuine indication of a NEED to eat, and the latter simply a (mental and emotional) response to food, perhaps how it looks and smells, and the worst way to base when to eat and what.

What’s also interesting is that nutrition “gurus” assert that so many of us are out of touch with true hunger, that we really don’t know “when” we are hungry. In fact, our eating habits are more of a daily ritual and obligation than a fulfillment of feeding an authentic hunger. And, they assert that one of the best ways to curb your cravings and get a handle on hunger is by eating three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), at approximately the same time every day…you’ll develop a more altruistic pattern of eating, with genuine hunger surfacing around those times.

Experts also encourage us to pay (closer) attention to our bodies’ hunger signals. They say that it’s those signals that determine what we (choose to) eat, and how much. Experts recommend rating your hunger before meals. Access how hungry you are on a scale of one to ten with one being the least hungry and ten being nearly ravenous. Order or fill your plate accordingly, but don’t forget to re-evaluate halfway through your meal (and that includes possibly leaving room for coffee and dessert). Let your score be the cage on whether to stop (eating) or not.

Experts emphasize that learning to curtail how much you eat and knowing how to read your “hunger” signals, stopping when they tell you to, is imperative to staying fit and trim and eating less. They stress, that feeling full is not synonymous with feeling stuffed. Being satisfied, means no longer feeling hungry, which may often be addressed with a simple and healthful snack…and not a full-blown meal.

It is also important to identify and recognize the triggers that cause you to make “bad” decisions.
If you are eating based on feelings, you may have issues other than food and hunger to contend with, and nutrition experts strongly recommend counseling. If however, you find yourself feasting on whatever is available simple because it looks or smells appetizing, or because it’s readily available, you need to (quickly) remove yourself from “those” environments and/or situations, and/or rid your home of any temptations.

If, on the other hand, you eat our of “habit” and approach food mindlessly without being conscience of when you’ve (your body) has had enough, you need to start “slowing down” and savoring your “meals” and taking note of what you are doing and how you are feeling. Eating mindlessly, we are reminded, often alludes to an empty plate and also an “empty” feeling, frequently feeding feelings of increased “ hunger” and a search for (more) empty calories stashed in your cupboards.

If socializing provokes over-indulgence, professionals recommend making a plan. Perhaps you should eat a healthy low-cal (but filling) snack before leaving the house to curb your hunger and appetite. Try to eliminate or at least harness your alcohol intake, especially since (most) alcohol is high in caloric content, and is often guilty of causing food cravings (especially if you’re on an empty stomach). Another strategy includes sitting next to someone you are not so comfortable about eating (excessively) in front of, or someone you enjoy talking to. The more talking you do, the less you’ll eat. And, ladies, even though you want “equal rights” that shouldn’t apply to some arenas, the dinner table is one of them…so, refrain from eating (or trying to eat) as much as your partner.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Controlling Your Stomach Muscles: The Secret Behind Curbing Your Appetite

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