Amy’s Secrets to tricking those appetite hormones and making to make weight loss more achievable!
I think we can all agree that the cold weather can make us turn to food to warm us up. Hot chips, creamy pasta’s, burgers, meat pies, hot chocolates and toast with peanut butter are common comforting foods for winter. These options can be quite energy dense and when eaten in large amounts can contribute to that insulation we develop or our ‘winter coat’. Although we are often rugged up wearing baggy, lose fitting clothes we know spring has just arrived and invites to the Spring Racing carnival and weddings may be starting to come in the mail. As we shop for a new outfit or search through our current wardrobe we may no longer appreciate that winter coat!
During the cooler months we can often drink less water leading to dehydration. We may then misinterpret our want for food when our body is just craving the water in the food. So ask yourself are you really hungry or are you just thirsty?
Below is my secrets to preventing weight gain or to help your achieve your weight loss goals by tricking those appetite hormones!
Choose satisfying foods. Satisfying foods have 4 characteristics.
- They have high water content.
If you had a small handful of sultanas or a large bag of fresh grapes, which one would you fill up on first? If choosing the sultanas, that handful may be gone in 10 seconds and then you look for something else to satisfy your hunger. If you choose the grapes you may have 2 or 3 handfuls and be satisfied, and then move on or get back to work. Although they have around the same energy content, grapes (containing water) will take longer to eat, fill up more volume in your stomach giving your brain a chance to get the signal that you have food (and energy) coming in and you can stop eating now. Apply this rule by choosing fresh fruit as a snack and for breakfast choosing porridge or Amy’s Grains as opposed to a more energy dense muesli (with the dried fruit and nuts).
- Contain Fibre.
Not only do some types of fibre pass through our digestive system almost ‘untouched’ and acting like ‘free food’, it slows down the digestion (lowers the G.I rating) of foods containing fibre. This means your food has added ‘free bulk’ but also the carbohydrate in the food will be released over a longer period keeping you fuller, longer! Fibre is found in the whole grains as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Have a low GI.
Glycaemic Index or “GI” is a measure of how quickly the carbohydrate in food is broken down to sugar and released into the blood steam. High GI Foods (GI of 70 and above) are broken down fast and result in a sudden rise in blood sugar levels then a rapid fall. The result is a quick spike in insulin production and then soon feeling hungry again. Choosing Low GI foods (GI of 55 or less) take longer for our body to break down, have a slower rise (or peak) and a more sustained release of carbohydrate. The result is less insulin produced and feeling satisfied longer. This means more strength turning down the 3pm chocolate bar or removing the ‘need’ for something sweet for the ‘pick me up’ to get you through the last hour in the office!
- Contain Protein.
Protein requirements are easily met in most Australians everyday diets. Individual protein requirements are often over estimated where people believe more protein is better and will just turn to muscle. Unfortunately this is untrue and if your total energy intake is greater than your requirements will lead to weight gain. Despite this fact we know that protein does help with ‘satiety’ or making us feel full. It also costs us more energy to digest or break down protein containing foods. So it makes sense that weight loss products would pack a lot of cheap protein powder into their foods and shakes to help us feel full on less calories. I am not advising you to eat or drink excessive protein but making sure your main meals all contain a good source of protein will help keep you satisfied. Think about when you eat a high protein food like steak, its satisfying right? This doesn’t mean it should displace the other food groups. Enjoy your lean protein but for lunch and dinner serve it with half a plate of salad or vegetables (high water and fibre content and low in calories) and a quarter of the plate a low GI carbohydrate. Quinoa, long grain brown rice, freekah sweet potato or a multigrain wrap are great convenient sources of low GI carbohydrates!
Follow these rules and like many of my clients tell me “I feel like I am eating so much food and loosing weight!”
Read more about nutrition and weight management in Amy’s E BOOK ‘Fit Fabulous Foodie’. Her book also contains a weight loss meal plan and plenty of healthy, satisfying, tasty and easy to prepare meals and snacks that will see you spring into spring!
See www.amysgrains.com.au to download.
Dietitian, Sports Dietitian, Personal Trainer, Author and athlete!
In Sydney check out the Fitness Show headed to NSW this October. For more information visit www.fitness-show.com.au.