It doesn't take extreme measures or diet pills to control your appetite--there are natural ways to increase control over what you eat. Making changes to the way you think about food, what you eat, how you sleep and what your drink can help you suppress your appetite.
Eat More Often
Eating more often will help you avoid feeling overly hungry, which puts you at risk of giving in to a tempting food. Eat a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours to keep your energy levels up and your hunger at bay. Stay away from unhealthy, high-fat or high-sugar foods; these are quickly digested and will cause dips in blood sugar that will leave you feeling hungry. Choose small snacks and meals that contain high amounts of fiber and/or lean protein, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.
Get More Sleep
Sleep provides you with a source of energy that is free from calories. In addition, more sleep can change your hormonal balance, decreasing your appetite. According to a study published in the December 2004 issue of PLoS Medicine, people who get less sleep have lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin--hormones that increase your appetite. Getting at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night will reduce your need to eat as much the next day.
Mild dehydration is often mistaken for hunger, causing people to eat food when they're really thirsty. Drink a glass of water when you feel hungry, and wait 20 minutes before eating anything. Consume a light healthy snack, if you still feel hungry after 20 minutes. By carrying water with you at all times, you can keep your hydration levels up all day. Drinking a glass of water before meals and with meals will also help you eat less.
Stay the Course
When you feel tempted to eat something, wait. Tell yourself you will get something to eat in 15 minutes. After 15 minutes have passed, the desire to eat something will likely have subsided unless you are truly hungry. If you are still hungry, have a small snack loaded with fiber, such as oatmeal.
Stick to Produce
Fruits and vegetables have natural appetite-suppressing properties. Consuming a piece or fruit or a vegetable when you feel hungry can help you feel full. Fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber and water, which together to help fill you up. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, fiber-rich foods can fill you up and decrease your hunger. In addition, fruits and vegetables are low in calories; therefore, eating them will not cause unwanted weight gain. Snack on fruits, such as apples with the skin, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. Try vegetables like broccoli, artichokes, cauliflower or carrots.