The Diet Detective: 10 Smart Ways to Control Your Appetite

Trying to lose a few pounds? A large part of eating too much is about our appetite; if we could only get that under control the weight would simply fall off. Here are a few strategies.

1. Water

Can water help you stay full? Well, I know after I drink several glasses of water I get filled up and eat less. In fact, some studies support this notion. Water can help you lose weight by keeping you feeling full and helping to reduce your consumption of other high-calorie drinks (and foods).

A recent study found that over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals three times per day lost about 5 pounds more than other dieters. Try drinking about two 8-oz. glasses before each meal.

2. Nuts

There are many different types of nuts with a plethora of health benefits. In addition to their other benefits, nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts, Brazil nuts, etc.) can help fend off hunger. They're high in fiber and protein—both hunger fighters. Just make sure to limit your portions to about 1 oz., because nuts are high in calories, too.

3. Naturally Occurring Fiber

Foods that are naturally high in fiber (e.g., 100 percent whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes) fill you up because they take up room in your stomach and slow digestion.

Why only "naturally occurring" fiber? According to the journal Nutrition Review, inulin (often added to foods as fiber) may help you go to the bathroom in the same way natural fiber does, but it doesn't have the same effect on slowing down stomach-emptying (making you feel full longer) or helping to lower cholesterol.

4. Sleep

When you're tired, you're less likely to make the healthiest food choices. And many sleep-deprived people believe, they "deserve" to eat something sugary and fatty. Finally, a few studies have demonstrated that lack of sleep leads to an increase in the hormone ghrelin (which tells the body to eat) and a decrease in the hormone leptin (which tells your body to stop eating).

Studies show that you need roughly 7 and a half to 8 and a half hours of sleep to get the benefits for diet and exercise. You should have a regular bedtime seven days per week. Also, check your mattress and box spring. When was the last time you replaced them?

Make sure your room temperature is comfortable. Get rid of the TV in the bedroom. And make your sleep environment quiet—aesthetically and in terms of noise.

5. Watch a Comedy

According to an article in the journal Appetite, watching a comedy can reduce your appetite. In the study, one group watched a 7.5-minute clip of an animated comedy with a plate of cookies in front of them, while the control group did not watch the film. The comedy group ate about one medium chocolate chip cookie less than the control group.

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