If you’re anything like us, there have been many times in your life where you’ve felt irrationally hungry. Maybe it’s after consuming an entire burger and fries at McDonald’s. Or perhaps it’s because you’ve been trying to stick to that healthy diet, and all you want is a big old bag of chips or an extra big slice of cake.
Either way, when you think you’re hungry, it’s hard to focus on anything else.
That’s why we’re so completely pumped about this latest study out of Harvard, which indicates that humans could actually short-circuit their hunger by targeting a specific area of the brain. By doing so, we’d stop feeling so darned hungry. Goodbye over-eating and painful diets!
Harvard Medical School investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center teamed up with researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for the study, which used mice. In it, they found that when a melanocortin 4 receptor-regulated (MC4R) circuit was targeted in the rodents, it promoted fullness and took away the sensation of hunger.
Of course these are all early stages and more testing needs to be done before these findings could be translated into a new wave weight-loss drug. Still, as they always tell dieters, where there’s a will there’s a way. Right?
For now, here are some other tips on how to curb your hunger when it’s getting a little out of hand.
1. Drink water
We know, you’ve heard it before. But consuming 8-10 glasses of water a day is a must for any average person. And as we know, often when we feel hungry we’re actually just dehydrated. So the next time hunger strikes, gulp down a big glass of agua and then wait 20 minutes. If you’re still starving, maybe then you can reach for that snack.
2. Stop eating mindlessly
TV dinners sure are fun, aren’t they? And isn’t it way easier to just eat lunch at your desk when you’ve got a full day of work ahead of you? You’re doing more harm than good by doing either of those things. Rather than mowing down on that bowl of pasta while paying attention to something else, focus on each and every bite. Visualize it going into your stomach, which, by the way, is roughly the size of your fist.
3. Eat slower
This is another one most of us are really guilty of. Especially when we’ve got to dash out to an appointment, get the kids off to a practice or trod back to work before break’s over. But we become full quicker than our brains can process that we’re full. By slowing down the fork, you’ll be able to recognize when you’re full a heck of a lot quicker.
4. Add a bit of protein to every meal
No need to go overboard here, and by protein we don’t necessarily mean a hunk of meat, either. Look for lean and plant-based proteins, and pair them with your snack. For example slice up a pear or apple and dip them in a bit of almond or peanut butter. Or pair some whole grain crackers with hummus or low-fat cheese. Quinoa, hempseed, chia and beans are other great sources of complete protein.
5. Drink soup broth with meals
It’s low fat, low calorie and if you buy or make the right one, it can be low in sodium as well. Getting into the habit of drinking a cup of broth with your meal isn’t just warm and comforting, but it will make you feel fuller quicker as well.
6. Trick your brain
While we wait for science to help us curb those hunger pangs, why not start with some brain tricks of our own? Use a smaller plate or bowl to feel like you’re eating more. And stay away from dishes that are red, yellow, orange or green. They’re scientifically proven to make us hungrier!