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Can’t Control Your Appetite?

What is the purpose of your appetite?


It is probably safe to assume that the answer to this question would be quite intuitive. We eat when we are hungry. Unlike plants, we do not have the luxury of sunning ourselves while immersed in damp soil and having food energy automatically created. We must consume calories in order to subsist and keep our systems metabolically active and functioning so that we may survive.


Appetite involves reciprocal communication using neural pathways and hormones released by the digestive system and the brain. The gastrointestinal tract produces hunger-promoting hormones such as ghrelin released by the stomach, which signals the brain, and I am paraphrasing here, “I am hungry, feed me now”! These visceral hormones stimulate the brain’s neuroendocrine connection, the hypothalamus, which is the main food-intake control center, to in turn release other hormones (neuropeptide Y) that stimulate appetite and prepares the digestive system to receive food. So, how do you control your appetite?



To eat or not to eat, that is the question!


Appetite and the motivation to eat are not solely governed by a gnawing void. Hunger is also influenced by culture, availability, cognitive and emotional factors. So even though a bowl of healthy oatmeal would satiate your hunger, the fried egg and sausage is what may satisfy your emotional and taste needs.


Hunger signals are dependent on metabolic rate, energy intake, the composition of a previous meal, and even the size and body composition of an individual. Sometimes hunger cues can be suppressed in people suffering from eating disorders or superseded especially in overweight or obese persons.


Obesity adversely impacts hormonal signals that influence appetite and satiety to encourage overeating. As an example, high levels of circulating leptin and insulin cause resistance to satiety signals, promoting hunger and eating. Essentially, even if you are motivated to shed excess pounds, your body may be actively working against your best intentions.


Meal timing and effects on appetite


Meal timing is a great way to help regulate appetite and aid in healthy weight loss. Research shows that timing meals at regular intervals uniformly during the daytime, while also being consistent with our circadian rhythms, may help increase metabolic rate, regulate appetite, and aid in weight loss.


Lose weight without suffering!


Losing weight is no easy feat, especially if the goal is many pounds away. Though it may be one of the best things you can do to improve your health and longevity. Control your appetite along with some of these other ideas. Here are some practical ways to ensure that the process isn’t perilous and that it becomes a lasting change:


  • Meal prepping- it is easier to stay on track and consume healthy foods that are conveniently prepared for snacking such as chopped fruit and vegetables.
  • Preparing healthy, balanced snacks to stave off hunger and poor decision-making.
  • Eating slowly, socially, and screen-free, while taking heed of satiety cues to prevent mindless, overeating.
  • Choose foods you enjoy – avoid eating foods deemed healthy based on that premise alone. If you do not enjoy what you are eating, you will relapse back to what provides comfort.
  • Choose healthier alternatives to your favorite foods such as baked breaded chicken over the fried version.
  • Plate model – make half of your plate vegetables and fruit, a quarter carbohydrate, and a quarter protein.
  • Choose fiber-rich veggies, legumes, and whole grains and protein to regulate and blunt appetite.
  • Do not deprive yourself of enjoyable foods; practice portion control; eat to satiety, not fullness.