applesAs my girlfriend and I gear up to lose weight for the summer, exercise is only one piece of what we need to do for the hot weather.  Watching our food intake is the other essential piece of successfully losing the extra pounds of fat on our body.  The hard part about eating is resisting the temptation to overeat our calories because we simply get so hungry.  Our body is screaming, “Hey!  I need to EAT!  The glucose is gone!  Need FOOD!”  But if we give in, yes we feel better–our blood is restocked with goodness, but we don’t allow our bodies the chance to shift from burning glucose to glycogen and fatty acids.  So eating when we feel the urge gains us very little in the weight loss department, and the key is really to find ways to curb the appetite for a few hours to allow for the slow burn.

I have 3 favorites for doing this.  The first is HOT TEA.  Liquid is a great substitute for food sometimes, and can pack in far fewer calories.  Herbal and Green tea has a wonderful, nutrient-rich effect on the body.  We drink hot beverages slowly–well, because they’re hot–and this allows us to have our comfort snack lingering for a longer period of time around us.  Find a hot beverage you really enjoy drinking and get into the good habit of substituting it for the food calories when you can.

Another great appetite suppressor is a food that’s been in our diets for a long, long time.  In fact, our grandparents used to say eating one a day keeps the doctor away.  Yes, that’s right, APPLES!  Apples come in all varieties and kinds for different palettes.  If you don’t like apples, you probably haven’t had the chance to try all the different types.  They come in all kinds of flavors and sweetness levels.  The fiber in them, called pectin, can lower the amount of sugar absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal and therefore will help prevent the blood sugar “crash” that leaves you craving food during the day.  They are a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack for this very reason.  You can eat an apple and the pectin can keep you full for 1-2 hours–for under 100 calories.  Eating them before meals can also stop you from gorging if you’re super hungry.

My third favorite is really simple, and will cost you about $1.50 over several days: GUM.  Okay, don’t expect 1 piece of gum to get you through an 8-hour day without food, but using a mint flavored gum between meals can take your cravings away and have your mouth chewing for pleasure without consuming calories.  I’ve even gone as far as working 5 pieces of gum over a 4 hour period to keep the edge off.  When you’re piece gets stale, just toss it and get a new one.    As you probably have discovered yourself, we’re not all that inclined to eat when we have a mint flavor in our mouths.  Food tastes odd after eating mint.  The chemical in mint that you’re tasting is actually menthol–and menthol tricks the brain into making your mouth feel cold.   It binds to cold-sensitive receptors in our skin, or on or tongue, making them much more sensitive.  The cold sensation can distract your mouth for a while, and the chewing action can make your mouth feel like it’s doing what it wants to without adding more calories to the diet.

These 3 craving crushers are really great because they’re so easy.  They’re nothing special–and I’m willing to bet you have at least one of them at your disposal on a daily basis.

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