How To Reduce Your Appetite

Having a big appetite can be very frustrating, especially if you’re trying cut back on your food intake and lose weight. So why do you have such a big appetite? How do you reduce your appetite?

There are usually 2 main reasons why people have a greater appetite than normal:

  1. You don’t eat enough fiber; and / or
  2. You are leptin resistant.

This isn’t the always the case for people. If neither of these sound like you, it could be worth going to see a doctor and / or dietitian for more specialized advice.

You Don’t Eat Enough Fiber

Fiber breaks down more slowly than other nutrients (even protein and fats). I know you’ve probably heard this before, but high fiber foods really do make you feel fuller for longer. I have actually experienced this first hand.

When I first started counting calories and macros, I was eating low carb and high protein and fats. I didn’t even think about counting fiber. I was hitting my macros but I was absolutely starving. When I looked back, I was only eating around 10g of fiber per day. And for women, it’s recommended that you get a minimum of 22g per day.

After I increased my fiber intake (I now eat around 25-30g daily), I was no longer hungry, even eating at a calorie deficit. I was actually so surprised at the difference it made!

The problem with eating low carb is that all of the fiber is really in the carb heavy foods. Protein is great for your body but has zero fiber, and the same for most fats. Also, lots of processed carbs are also low in fiber. So even if you’re eating high carb and all your carbs are from unhealthy sources, you’ll still have the same problem.

If you are having issues with a big appetite, I highly encourage you to track your fiber intake for 1 week to make sure you’re getting enough. Remember the absolutely minimum for a woman is 22g.

High Fiber Foods

Try incorporating these foods into your daily diet to help boost your fiber intake.

  • Apples– I know a lot of women are scared to eat fruit because of the sugar content. But 1 apple only has about 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber, which is a huge amount!
  • Chia seeds– 1 tablespoon of chia seeds has 5.5 grams of fiber! I always have 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in my smoothie every morning and it keeps me full until lunch.
  • Sprouted bread– bread gets a bad wrap because of the carbohydrate content (and obviously because they are a grain). But 1 piece of a healthy sprouted grain bread  4.1 grams of fiber and only 12 grams of carbs.
  • Oats– 1/3 cup of oats has 5.5 grams of fiber and 34.5 grams of carbs. See how minimal the carbohydrates in bread are!? Having 1/3 cup of oats and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for breakfast is almost half of your daily fiber intake.
  • Pears– these are another really high fiber fruit. One medium pear has 6g of fiber and 100 calories.
  • Avocado– yes avocado is high in fats but also surprisingly high in fiber. 1/4 of an avocado has 2.5g of fiber.
  • Lentils– 1/4 cup of cooked lentils has 4g of fiber.
  • Beans– 1/4 cup cooked black beans has 3.7g of fiber (most other beans are high in fiber too!).
  • Peas– 1/4 cup cooked peas has 2.2g fiber
  • Broccoli– 1/2 cup cooked broccoli has 2.3g fiber.

How Leptin Resistance Causes Hunger & Weight Gain

The Hormone Leptin

Leptin is a hormone that controls when and how full you feel. When you are eating and you start to become full, your fat stores start producing leptin, which then signals your brain to stop eating because you are full.

Leptin Resistance

If you are leptin resistant, it means that your body no longer responds properly to leptin. This happens when you eat a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugar. When you eat these things, your fat stores are continually releasing leptin so your brain stops reacting to it.

As a result, you may never actually feel full and will be hungry all the time.

Symptoms of Leptin Resistance

You may have leptin resistance if you experience the following:

  • Overweight
  • Food cravings and hungry after meals
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Low energy

How To Reverse Leptin Resistance

  • Eat a high protein and high fiber diet.
  • Cut out processed carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Get good quality sleep and 8 hours per night.
  • Minimize stress.

For more information on leptin resistance and how to fix it, please have a read of this blog post by Wellness Mama.

Eating all of your micronutrients

Loading up on micronutrients not only keeps you full but also eliminates your cravings.  When the body is not lacking anywhere, there is no need to create cravings which leads to better food choices and less snacking.  A great way to keep your nutrients in check and reduce cravings and hunger is with daily Shakeology.  This has been my saving grace to end over eating and mindless snacking.

Summary – How To Reduce Appetite

If you do have leptin resistance, you need to get this sorted otherwise it will be difficult for you to manage your appetite and lose weight. Even if you don’t have leptin resistance, it’s still a good idea to reduce your sugar and processed carbs, and increase your fiber and protein intake. And of course good sleep and minimizing stress is extremely important!

Also be sure to include as many of the high fiber foods I mentioned above in your daily diet. Starting your morning off with some oatmeal, chia seeds, berries and yogurt is a great way to get a good dose of fiber in the morning. Apples are a great high fiber snack so if you’re trying to increase your fiber intake, try to have this as a mid morning snack. And then include vegetables and lentils for your main meals.

As I mentioned above, this may not work for everyone. If you have tried these things and it still doesn’t fix your appetite issues, it could be worth going to see a doctor and / or dietitian for more specialized advice.  The worst thing you can do is take a pill that claims to reduce hunger or block your appetite.  Many of these have harmful substances that lead to metabolic issues and a long term fight to regulate your body back to where it should be.


How Fitness Professionals Stay on Track

Fitness professionals may seem like super humans who never struggle with making healthy diet choices, showing up for workouts or pulling off that unforgiving outfit. But … surprise! They’re just like us! They’re busy professionals, wives, moms, friends and community members who have lives—beyond the gym and produce section. 

Fitness professionals are able to stay on track because they arm themselves with effective daily habits. 

Here are some tips shared by Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of Health, Exercise Science and Yoga Studies at San Diego Miramar College, and a yoga teacher, certified health coach, and senior adviser with the American Council on Exercise. 

Pairing: Add a Good New Behavior to an Established Habit
Pairing involves taking a consistent, established habit and adding in a new one until it sticks. Matthews always does squats while she’s brushing her teeth in the morning and at night. “Brushing is a consistent habit and during a two-minute brush, I can do about 30 squats. So that’s 30 squats in the morning and 30 at night,” she says. Because she uses the principle of pairing, you’ll never find her just brushing! Another idea: Try balancing on one foot while you’re washing dishes! 

Park Farther Away and Take the Stairs
Matthews lives by the motto of grabbing any and all opportunities to add more movement into her day. Research supports that these seemingly small habits and actions can add up to big health gains, Matthews says. 

Get a Head Start on Hydration While Balancing the Body’s pH
Even though she’s a professional, Matthews admits that she never liked drinking water. So she found a more enjoyable way to hydrate. Every morning, she drinks a mug of warm water with lemon, which can stimulate digestion and help balance the body’s pH. This warm beverage in the morning helps minimize her coffee and caffeine intake, which is an added bonus. 

Plants Are the Base
Instead of focusing on calories or stressing over what to restrict, Matthews makes plants the base of her diet. Most of her meals are made from veggies, occasionally mixing in some seafood. Making plants the base ensures that she’s eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. 

Take Time to Breathe or Meditate
Matthews doesn’t leave her room in the morning until she’s taken some time to sit still and focus on her breathing—for a minute or 15 minutes. “Meditation isn’t sitting on a mountaintop,” she says. And it doesn’t even require sitting! The focus is to be mindfully aware, be still and listen to the movement of your breath. If you do this in the morning, it can help you start the day in the right place mentally—and it ensures that you actually do it! 

Here are some tips from Arielle Dani Lebovitz, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, CDE, a registered dietitian nutritionist with over 10 years’ experience specializing in health communications, human performance/sports nutrition, diabetes education and children’s nutrition. 

Make Healthy Food Convenient 
Set aside a day to prepare healthy foods that you can just reheat and grab. With unhealthy food choices all around us, it’s easy to choose them out of convenience. “If healthy food is just a grab-and-go option, healthy foods will be the easy choice,” Lebovitz says. 

Write It Down
Don’t just keep your intentions in your head. “Before I go to bed every night I write down three things I want to prioritize and accomplish for the next day,” Lebovitz says. This helps her remain mindful of her goals and how she’ll accomplish them. She jots down anything from doing a 30-minute workout in the morning to adding mushrooms to an egg scramble. 

Here’s some helpful input from Nev Nelson, certified personal trainer, certified health coach, NFHS certified, and tennis player and coach. 

Keep Each Morning the Same
Nelson wakes up early at the same time almost every day (on weekends, one hour later) and does the same thing every morning to establish routine and habit. She changes into her workout clothes at the start of the day and puts in her headphones to get her motivated to work out. 

Eat More Often

Most of us are conditioned to think our food intake has to happen within three square meals per day. Nelson eats more than three times per day. She eats smaller meals every two to three hours, which keeps her metabolism going and prevents her from overeating. We all know skipping a meal can make you ravenous at the next! 

Don’t Journey Alone 
Everyone, even professionals, needs support. Nelson has an exercise group that holds her accountable. Whether it’s an exercise class you love, a running club or even just one good friend who will keep up with your workouts, be sure to surround yourself with people who will help you achieve your wellness gals.

And last, but certainly not least, here are some tips from Emily Ann Callahan, MPH, RD, owner and consultant, EAC Health and Nutrition, LLC. 

Find 30 Minutes per Day
The top excuse for why people don’t work out is lack of time. No matter how busy you are, you can probably find 30 minutes in your day. Callahan aims to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. That’s easy on her gym days. “But on the other days, I try to at least get outside for a 30-minute (or two 15-minute) walks,” Callahan said. Everyone can find 15 minutes! 

BYO Fruits and Vegetables
If Miller knows she’s going somewhere where healthy options might be slim pickings, she packs her own fruits and vegetables. This helps her stay on track with including a fruit and/or vegetable in every meal.

If you would like to join a challenge group and get the ultimate accountability and support you need to succeed, drop us an email and let’s chat!