How to cheat your appetite: the best ways to combat snacking and overeating

Recently, a nutrition scheme based on interval fasting has been very popular among young people (and not only). Its essence lies in the fact that at certain hours of the day a person can eat almost anything he wants, and at other hours - only drink water or other low-calorie liquids.

It is convenient primarily because there is no need to count and weigh anything. Just choose the time of nutrition and fasting, and adhere to this regime. But there are drawbacks to this weight loss scheme, for example, the desire to have a snack in between meals.

How to deal with it, as well as ways to avoid overeating, read our material.

How to cheat your appetite: the best ways to combat snacking and overeating

According to the International Food Information Council Foundation opinion poll, in 2018-2019, interval fasting (we talked about it in more detail in this article) took first place in the ranking of the most popular diets among Americans aged 18-34 years. This diet scheme has even surpassed the popularity of the paleo, Mediterranean and low-carb diets proven over the years. And such success is quite understandable, because eating by the hour is much easier than calculating calories, proteins, carbohydrates and fats, making up your diet in advance and limiting yourself in some way.

How to cheat your appetite: the best ways to combat snacking and overeating

One of the first to talk about the effectiveness of interval fasting was Canadian nephrologist Jason Fung. And he did not just talk, but wrote a series of books about it, which immediately resonated in the hearts of adherents of proper nutrition. According to Fung, the most important thing is not what a person eats, but when he does it.

In his opinion, this is due to the fact that in the modern world people are constantly surrounded by some temptations: food is in vending machines, in coffee shops, at vendors on the street; supermarkets are literally stuffed to overflowing with various "goodies", and it is very difficult to get out of them without buying anything harmful.

Previously, shops did not abound with so much food. And people ate, as a rule, at home and at a certain time, and, not like now, in fast food shops, cafes and restaurants.

How to cheat your appetite: the best ways to combat snacking and overeating

How to avoid temptations and not overeat? Here are some tips from leading experts in this field.

Jason Fung first of all recommends not to be led by advertising. According to the nephrologist, all statements about the need to "eat a little, but often" are just the result of marketing campaigns by snack manufacturers. Fung is sure that they prompted nutritionists to draw such conclusions. Of course, for a generous reward.

How to cheat your appetite: the best ways to combat snacking and overeating

Neuroscientist Alex Korb believes that first of all it is necessary to deal with the causes of overeating. According to the researcher, activity in two parts of the brain — the insular lobe and the basal ganglia - pushes a person to consume excess foods. The first affects a person's ability to be aware of the state of the body, the second is related to the control of habits and behavior.

So, as Korb says, often a person does not distinguish between the signals sent to him by internal organs. Therefore, when a signal "something is wrong in the stomach area" comes to the insular lobe, a person often thinks that he is hungry and begins to satisfy his appetite. Over the years, he develops an algorithm of actions: he received a signal, so he needs to eat. To overcome this urge to unconsciously overeat, you need to connect the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for planning, managing mental and motor activity. In other words, it helps to think rationally and correctly evaluate body signals.

How to cheat your appetite: the best ways to combat snacking and overeating

To "turn on" the prefrontal cortex, Korb advises to calm down and distract yourself. It can be light physical activity (warm-up, yoga or a walk in the fresh air), work, concentration on a task. The main thing is to distract your attention from food and the desire to eat something. There is one way to deceive the insular lobe and basal ganglia - to drink water! You can also "occupy your mouth", for example, with carrots or nuts.Another interesting technique that helps to combat overeating is a visual reminder of the food eaten early. Studies have shown that if you leave a plate with the remnants of a recent meal on the table, people will eat 20% less. Other studies also claim that the amount eaten is influenced by the variety of options on the menu (the more dishes, the more a person will eat) and the availability of food (the harder it is to get it, the less a person will eat).

How to cheat your appetite: the best ways to combat snacking and overeating

Another very important point when eating is not to be distracted by TV, reading or listening to music. Scientists have found that in this case, a person does not concentrate on food and, accordingly, remembers this process poorly, which is why he soon has a desire to eat again.

To avoid this, try to focus as much as possible on the dish on your plate: on color, taste, consistency, details, and so on. The more detailed your memories of the last meal are, the easier it will be to postpone the next one.

All these recommendations differ, but they have something in common. All of them indicate that you need to eat thoughtfully, but special attention should be paid not to specific foods and diets, but to the process of eating itself.

Keywords: Hunger | Fasting | Diet | Healthy eating | Nutrition | Tips

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