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Nothing hurts your health, fitness and weight loss goals more than severe food cravings.
Here is my..
Craving Control list of 10 things you can do to help control your cravings.
1) Eat less Carbohydrates and more Protein
Carbohydrates are the fastest digesting of the three primary nutrients. Consuming too many carbohydrates for extended periods of time can also lead to insulin resistance which is known to cause severe sugar cravings.
A study has shown that overweight men increasing their protein intake by 25% resulted in a 60% reduction in cravings. The desire to snack at night was also halved!
Read More: Insulin Resistance
2) Drink More Water
People often think they’re hungry when they are actually just thirsty. Drinking a large glass of water or cup of tea can often mitigate hunger cravings within a few minutes. Being dehydrated can also lead to increased appetite and lower your craving control among many other negative impacts on your health.
Read More: Why you should drink more water
3) Plan Your Meals
Whether you are following a certain diet plan or not, knowing what and when you are going to be eating is extremely beneficial. If you don’t plan well enough you may end up overeating. This is important if you are incorporating fasting in your eating plan too. Some people think if they are intermittent fasting they don’t have to about how much food to eat. This is untrue as the quantity and especially quality of food always matters.
4) Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods
Sugary and processed foods cause your brain to produce endorphins such as dopamine. They stimulate your brains sense of reward. Other activities such as running, weight lifting, sexual intercourse and achieving goals will produce the same endorphins. However over consuming sugar to seek out that reward will eventually lead to a resistance for it. So more and more needs to be produced to achieve the same result.
This means that more and more sugar needs to be eaten. It also means all of those other activities will not be as satisfying as they once were!
Cravings are a temporary thing and will pass. Over time (usually just a few days) without eating sugary foods those cravings will die down and get easier to control. However giving in to temptation will ruin your hard work for Craving Control!
5) Sleep More
A common side effect of inadequate sleep is craving for sugar and fat. Sleep is incredibly important for craving control. You should aim to have 8 hours of quality sleep each night!
6) Ditch the Alcohol
Alcohol is the worst possible thing to consume when struggling with craving control. It weakens your willpower making you much more susceptible to giving into temptation.
There is also a direct link between sugar and alcohol in the brain. The part in your brain that deals with addiction doesn’t quite know the difference between alcohol and sugar. Anyone with sugar addiction issues knows that one little piece of chocolate or one single lolly can send you into a sugar eating binge. That one small piece of chocolate turns on a switch in your brain that leads to uncontrollable binging. That same switch can be turned on with alcohol!
7) Stress Less
A high amount of stress in your lifestyle is a recipe for disaster for your craving control. Binge eating is common for people under extreme stress. The body craves the dopamine produced from sugar consumption. Higher stress levels also raise cortisol in your blood. Cortisol is the stress hormone and is one factor linked to weight gain.
Here are some things you can do for high stress levels:
Practise deep breathing techniques and learn to breath slower and deeper throughout your daily life.
Listen to soothing calm music and avoid fast paced and heavy music
Limit how much TV you watch
Avoid reading or watching the news, there is too much negativity
Read more books
Limit your time on social media such as Facebook and Instagram
Walk everyday in the sun for 30 minutes
Get more sunlight (Vitamin D)
8) Eat More Vegetables
Eat more vegetables every day, particularly leafy green vegetables such as spinach. They are rich with vitamins and minerals needed for healthy body function. A deficiency in certain vitamins can lead to increased appetite and food cravings.
9) Chew More
Chewing your food more is so much more important for your digestion than most people realise. The act of chewing alone causes your body to release digestive enzymes in the stomach to break down the food.
The stomach will be able to digest the food much easier if it is broken down in your mouth before swallowed. It also takes time for your body to register if you have eaten enough food. The slower you chew the more satiated you are with your meals.
Not chewing properly can cause digestive issues such as indigestion, heartburn, constipation and even headaches and fatigue.
This is something I am terrible at because I can eat a whole meal in under 5 minutes. I need to count how many times I chew my food. Between 10 to 20 times (depending on the food) before swallowing otherwise I always eat too fast.
10) Shop on a full tummy
When grocery shopping, make sure you have just eaten a proper healthy meal full of vitamins and minerals. If you shop while you are satiated you are much less likely to crave sweets. Don’t buy any junk food because if it’s in your house you know you’ll eat it.
If you shop on an empty stomach while you’re hungry you are very likely to give into temptation while walking past the sweets isle.