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Avoid these 3 Appetite-Suppressing Pitfalls

Although I was only gone for less than 5 full days during a personal retreat in northern Michigan, I was amazed by the fluctuations in my own appetite. I had a couple days where I was fully nourished by my surroundings and didn’t seem to need much in terms of meal size. And then there was another day where my metabolism was burning intensely and I couldn’t seem to get enough physical nourishment. Many women have an interesting relationship with their own appetite, most preferring to have a smaller appetite rather than a larger one. There is an assumption that a smaller appetite (or eating less) MUST lead to a smaller weight. I will tell you from both personal and professional experience, efforts to control one’s natural appetite is not the magic bullet. If it worked, it would have worked, and everyone would be maintaining a naturally thin weight without any bouts of rebelling or overeating. There are a few sneaky habits women use when it comes to appetite management that aren’t really working that I’d like to share with you. Chewing gum: Many chew gum in an effort to stave off hunger or provide a false sweetness. Unfortunately sugar alcohols can cause bloating and indigestion and can mimic sweetness, encouraging the eater to crave more sugar anyways. Drinking calorie free, “diet” beverages or copious amounts of “health” beverages like kombucha tea: Diet sodas bring the same complications as sugar-free gum. Even the healthful kombucha tea can be over-done. Again, the eater may be trying to drink things in an effort to trick the appetite by filling up with volume, but not substance. Grazing: Never really sitting down to have a meal, the eater picks at foods here and there throughout the day. For some this looks like having some sort of bar here, some nuts over there, some guacamole with chips here, a hard-boiled egg there… Grazing can occur due to misconceptions around helpful metabolic strategies, one’s own perception of “not enough time,” boredom, fear of natural hunger, discomfort being present without slight sedation/grounding with food, fear of appetite and weight gain/trying to stave off hunger or “save calories.” Helpful Remedies 1.) Tend to hormones rather than calories. Calorie manipulation as an indicator for sustainable long-term weight loss is an old dietary strategy. Sure you can fast or restrict your way down to a lower weight. Let me assure you, this is temporary. If the body is not balanced hormonally, if the system is clogged, eating less is not a long-term solution. Unclogging the drain means eating real, natural, organic, whole foods. Eating WHOLE foods regulates appetite – The body no longer needs to seek out the missing parts of denatured or processed foods. 2.) Eat well, early in the day. In Ayurveda it is said that metabolism burns like the sun, hottest in the middle of the day (lunch-time). Eating a breakfast on a daily basis as well as a beautiful, dinner-like lunch helps regulate the body’s natural appetite. Plus energy burning is highest in the first half of the day. 3.) Eat when you eat. A joke from a teacher: “Do you eat when you eat, or are you out to lunch?” The irony is for those that are chronically worried about what they eat, is they never really eat their food. The mind takes over and labels nutritional “goodness” or “badness” or begins planning something else altogether. Eating does not register and this can lead to more cravings. 4.) Hydrate. Often the most effective things are the most simple. Water, a deeply healing natural resource, can do wonders in re-connecting with natural appetite. Many eat when they are actually thirsty. Drinking ample water throughout the day helps regulate all metabolic functions, hydrates the body, and refreshes the skin. 5.) Turn summer grazing into Tapas-style dining. If you find yourself picking at foods in an effort to delay hunger, or manipulate weight, please bring the sacredness back to the meal. Sit down when you eat. If you enjoy a mish-mash of foods, artfully arrange them on a large plate and create a tapas-style meal from your assortment. 6.) Honor appetite for food as appetite for life. If the heart remains unfulfilled or unexpressed, no amount of food or lack thereof will give you what you are looking for. It’s your turn: What is ONE strategy you can employ this summer when it comes to appetite? Own it and name it here. I know you are closer than you think to a healthier, happier relationship with your body. With love, Laura

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