I gained weight after two stillbirths, taking Paxil (Mayo Clinic links this antidepessant to weight gain) starting early menopause at 40. Now pushing 50, I’ve lost 100 pounds, dropped 14 BMI points and nine sizes. The hardest part of diet is coping with constant hunger pangs. Here’s how I I learned to feel full, curb hunger using what I call “mind over platter.”
* Get used to being a little hungry. To curb hunger, you have expected a list of feel-full foods. The truth is, there is no magic bean that stops hunger. You’ve probably read of appetite suppressants that claim to. The only ones I know of are drugs. I didn’t use them and don’t recommend them. WebMD describes appetite suppressant drug side effects. Think of hunger as an ally instead of enemy.
* Learn to be satisfied with less. Teach yourself new eating habits. Practice portion control. Talk yourself out of eating junk, rather than convincing yourself you deserve it. Eat mindfully. I don’t get full, per se, but I am content.
* Appreciate what you have. Maybe this sounds schmaltzy, but when I feel hungry, I think of the many children who know real starvation. I keep their photos on my fridge and offer up my “sufferings” (limited as they are) as prayers for these children. I send money I saved eating less, to missions. I’m practicing an attitude of gratitude for every mouthful, instead of mindlessly stuffing my face with food I don’t need and feeling sorry for myself when I can’t have more.
* Understand why you eat. Are you hungry? Or filling your stomach and ignoring other gaps? Are you lonely, bored, tired, sad? Could you be satisfied with less food? Perhaps you’re just thirsty?
* Distract yourself. Do something to take your mind off food– something active, not passive (texting, video games and watching TV). I get hungrier staring at a screen. Get outside, Garden. Volunteer, Walk. Do housework. Craft. Go out with friends for coffee. Play with kids. Nap. Start a project. Read. Engage.
* Mind over platter. Are you seeing the pattern here? Weight loss is 50 percent eating different and 50 percent thinking different. So it’s not as simple as finding foods to fill you up. You have to change how you think about yourself, what you eat, how you eat, what role food fills in your life.
I had a lot more trouble with hunger when my stomach was bigger. Now I fill up faster. So hang in there; satisfaction is on the way!