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I have a big problem with out-of-control appetite at night and need help on how to
suppress my appetite naturally without pills and lose weight. I'm a 40 year old woman
and have recently started shift work. I often find myself getting extremely hungry
around night shifts and craving for sweet foods all the time. I am very careful with
what I eat during the day (low salt and low fat) but I have gained about 5 lbs since
I took up this job. I am looking for answers to these questions – what can I do to
control my appetite at night? Any foods that naturally suppress appetite or help
control cravings for sugary snacks? Thank you. – Sheila, Kentucky.
Doing shift work can play havoc with our health and body weight. For some people,
sleep deprivation, indigestion and junk food eating habits while working the night
shift may contribute to weight gain.
However, it's possible to eat well and not gain weight with shift work. The approach
to healthy weight loss is simple – burning more calories than you consume. You'll
lose the extra weight you put on by controlling your food cravings at night and increasing
your physical activities during the day.
What Foods Control Appetite Naturally?
1. To make you feel fuller for longer and curb your appetite, snacks that are high
in protein with a bit of fiber and fat are excellent choices. Have a small apple
with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, or hard-boiled eggs, or a protein shake.
2. Water is the one of the best appetite control food. It's cheap and fills you up
quickly without adding calories, thereby prevents overeating. Next time you want
a snack, drink a glass of water (8 oz) instead. It'll lessen your appetite for food
within 10 minutes.
If you like a bit of flavor, add 1-2 lemon or lime slices. You can also choose reduced
fat, MSG free vegetable or chicken broth to help kill your cravings for refined carbs.
3. Green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and kale also
make powerful natural appetite suppressants. Not only low in calories and high in
many Vitamins and minerals, vegetables also provide you with dietary fiber. When
fiber absorbs water, it'll expand in your stomach, thus reducing the urge to snack
Chew on negative calorie veggies – fresh carrots or celery sticks, or enjoy broccoli
and cauliflower with low-fat ranch dressing.
4. Apples are also effective natural appetite control food. You get a few carbs (good)
and calories, but the fiber found in apples fill up your tummy quickly so you won't
feel the urge to snack. Additionally, the natural sweetness of apples will help you
stop craving for sugar.
Speaking of apples, some people say that apple cider vinegar (ACV) works wonderfully
as a natural appetite suppressant and help weight loss. It's believed that pectin,
which is the water soluble fiber found in ACV as well as apples, swells up on contact
with water and fills the stomach. It has also been suggested that ACV not only reduces
sugar cravings but also cravings for high sodium, high fat foods.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink before each
If you absolutely must have your favorite snack food, my suggestion is to go for
100-calorie packs, or divide a regular-sized package up into smaller portions. This
way, it helps you to control your portion sizes so that you're less likely to overeat
How Do You Control Food Cravings?
Food cravings are often triggered by emotions, so being aware of the relationship
between your state of mind and your desire for food is a critical step in appetite
reduction. Take a minute to determine if your urge to eat is caused by true hunger
or an emotional trigger.
If you find yourself craving for sugary foods such as chocolates, candies and cookies
when you are tired or stressed at work, I suggest you focus on your emotions rather
than raiding the vending machine for unhealthy snacks. Instead of snacking to reduce
stress, get away from your desk and go for a quick walk, or do some stretching exercises.
You'll burn calories and feel refreshed. If you can't leave your office, then take
a few deep breaths and slowly exhale. It'll distract you from mindless snacking and
allow you to refocus on your work.
If you feel like you have to eat something at late night shifts, make sure you choose
easily digestible, light and healthy foods that will boost your energy level and
keep you going throughout your waking hours. Satisfy your sugar cravings with low
fat yogurt, a small fruit such as apple or banana, or a protein shake. Craving for
crunchy snacks? Munch on fat free popcorn or pretzels. Drink a glass of water as
dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Try to avoid greasy, spicy and heavy foods,
and limit caffeine intake.
Generally speaking, food cravings go away fairly quickly, usually within 5-10 minutes.
So it may be more beneficial to wait and see if your cravings subside before you
reach for a snack.