Most of us are “regular” people. We don’t eat the perfect dietall the time and have our struggles with food, same as everyoneelse. But having an awareness of this fact and knowing a littlebit about our health and food nutrition can help when it comes tomaking wise decisions.
Many people struggle with food “cravings.” Studies tell us thatit’s fairly common for food cravings to happen at certain times,quite often at around bedtime. Your guard may be down, you mayhave had an unusually hard day, and off you go on yournot-so-merry way to find that tasty treat. Fatigue and stressoften combine to take their toll on the best of intentions.
When food cravings are unconstrained, what starts out as abedtime snack quickly turns into a full blown feedingfrenzy…not something most of us fully understand or appreciate.We head to kitchen and every other place where food can hide,clearing a path as we go.
Most food cravings are not about satisfying a nutritional need orimbalance. They seem to be more emotionally related, or Godforbid, are caused by plain old gluttony. Exactly why weover-indulge is not completely understood, however our knowledgeabout this subject continues to grow.
Listed below are some thoughts and ideas about food cravings:
– If the food isn’t available, you can’t eat it! Empty the cookiejar and keep it that way! Keep healthy food choices on-hand.
– Recognize the feelings and emotions that lead-up to a foodcraving. Do you have food cravings when youre bored, lonely, orstressed? If you can identify a trigger, you can deal with theemotion thats making you desire a certain food. Try to deal withthe triggers in the best way you can.
– Sometimes, even recognizing that a craving is about to happendoesn’t seem to help. Don’t beat yourself-up. There is alwaystomorrow. Call a friend, make good use of your support networkand share your feelings with someone.
– Get enough sleep. When youre tired, youre more likely tocrave things.
– Never give-up. When you “slip”, press-in, bear-down, get agrip, do whatever is necessary to re-gain control. Try topractice restraint most of the time, but don’t get legalistic andun-balanced in your weight loss approach. Think moderation andnot abstinence at all times!
– Understand that self-control and discipline by themselves,won’t cut it! If you depend totally on yourself for control, youwill fail. Forming caring and supportive relationships isrequired. If you do not currently have a support network, startbuilding one TODAY.
– Exercise. It increases feel-good endorphins that cut down onyour cravings. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physicalactivity every day.
– Use moderation. Instead of stuffing yourself with every kind offood hoping that your craving will go away, eat 100 to 200calories of your “craved” food.
– Substitute with low-fat foods and complex carbs. If yourehungry for chocolate, eat non-fat chocolate yogurt. Try fig barsor raisins for a sweet craving.
– Never skip a meal. Eat every three to five hours. Try sixsmaller meals or regular meals with nutritious snacks.
– Understand that hunger craving are oftentimes stress related.Practice other ways to treat chronic stress a walk in the park,spiritual connections, a cozy fireplace, baths…all thesestimulate neurochemicals that activate regions of the brain thatstimulate pleasure. Relaxation techniques may work by reducingthe psychological drives on stress output, which can be the rootcauses of stress. Bottom line, substitute pleasurable experiencesfor comfort foods.
– Beware of certain medications. They can stimulate appetite.Drugs used for the treatment of depression and bipolar disordercan be appetite stimulants. Other drugs, both prescription andover the counter, may influence appetite as well. If you are on amedication, and troubled by food cravings, discuss this with yourdoctor or pharmacist. You may be able to find an alternative thatdoesn’t send your cravings out of control.
– Distract Yourself. What’s that old expression…idle hands arethe devils workshop? Get busy. Do anything other than cave-in toyour desire for food, and keep doing it until the cravingssubside.
– One final thought, take a look inside your refrigerator andkitchen cabinets and do some general “house cleaning.” Throw-outall that unhealthy stuff that is waiting to sabotage your diet,and start shopping more wisely. A little forethought and carefulplanning will go a long way for improving your chances ofsuccess.
Eat wisely, be happy, and live long!
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.