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One Small Change

Take Control of Your Appetite

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If you’re looking for an easy, effective way to lose weight that doesn’t involve weird diets, sketchy supplements or infomercial gadgets, then you’ve stumbled onto the right blog.

In the midst of this month’s One Small Change experiment, where I’ve been trying to stay fully hydrated by drinking the recommended daily amount of fluid, I’ve experienced something revolutionary. In fact, if it weren’t so damn simple and unpatentable, it would no doubt make me enough money to retire to South Beach.

One of the reasons why there are so many overweight Americans is because our hunger reflex is out of whack. Just like our thirst reflex, which can’t be trusted to accurately signal when we’re dehydrated, our appetite indicator can be equally misleading. In fact, according to Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., R.D., the director of nutrition and applied clinical research at Miami Research Associates, people often think they’re hungry when they’re really thirsty. They snack when they need to swig.

“Your hydration status changes the concentration of your blood,” he explains, “and that alters certain neurological processes. Feelings of hunger and thirst result from various hormones and receptors in our body communicating with our brain.” Anything that disrupts those signals or the body’s usual fine balance, such as being under-hydrated, will result in faulty feedback and misinterpretation.

So here’s what’s been happening: Whenever I get the urge to eat, no matter what time of day or night it is, I drink 8 ounces or more of water and wait 10 minutes. If I’m still hungry after that, then I conclude it’s probably a legitimate physical need and chow guilt-free. If not, then I’ve saved myself a bunch of calories and feel pretty smart in the process.

I’ve been doing this now for the past week and, frankly, have been surprised at how often my food cravings disappear after those 10 minutes. Even a glass of water before meals dampens my appetite to the point where I don’t eat as much afterwards.

It appears that water works in a number of ways, not only by creating a temporary sensation of fullness in the stomach, but also by re-setting the body’s self-monitoring system so that it can more accurately detect and signal things like appetite. Plus, water is a more healthful, calorie-free substitute for those who’ve taken to putting things in their mouth out of habit.

As a writer who works from home and is in constant search of distraction, I can attest to the dangers of that. Many times, I snack not because I’m hungry but because I don’t want to face the next sentence. It’s similar, I guess, to ex-smokers sucking on lollipops or mints in order to pacify their oral fixation.

So as you can see, this just might be the best weight-loss method ever invented. It’s totally natural and free. If you’re intrigued, try it yourself for a week. Not only will you be better hydrated and healthier but you also just might see some pounds start to trickle off.

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About The Author

Joe Kita – Joe Kita is a noted writer, editor, motivational speaker and teacher. He authors the blog "One Small Change" for CorePerformance.com.

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Tags: Calories, Beverages, Snacks, Weight Loss, Hydration