Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. If you’re someone who’s struggled with taking control of food cravings, then you understand just how difficult they can be to ignore.
How many of us stick to the perfect diet all the time? We all have our struggles with food to a greater or lesser extent. If we can recognize this problem, while making a point of knowing a little bit about our health and proper food nutrition, we are much more likely to make wiser decisions about our choices of food.
Many people struggle with food cravings and research tells us that it is fairly common for food cravings to occur at certain times, which quite often happens to be around bedtime. Fatigue and stress often combine to take their toll on the best of intentions, so rest assured you are not alone.
When food cravings are out of control, what started out as a bedtime snack quickly turns into a feeding frenzy. We head to the kitchen and every other possible place where food can hide, quickly clearing a path as we go.
Most food cravings are not about satisfying a nutritional need or imbalance. They seem to be more emotionally related or triggered by something. Exactly why we overindulge is not completely understood, however our knowledge about this subject continues to grow.
Controlling Food Cravings
As experts on fitness, the Ultimate Phitness team understands that finding balance when it comes to food can be challenging. Keep reading to find out more about the tips that we have for dealing with cravings.
If the food isn’t available, you can’t eat it. Empty the cookie jar and keep it that way! Keep healthy food choices available.
It’s important to recognize the feelings and emotions that lead to a food craving. Do you have food cravings when you’re bored and feeling lonely, or is it stress that is the trigger? If you can identify the trigger which leads to that craving, then you are half way to winning the battle because you will be able to deal with the emotion behind the craving.
Sometimes even recognizing that a craving is about to happen doesn’t seem to help, but please do not feel guilty because there is always tomorrow. Why not call one of your friends and share how you were feeling at that time? It’s a very good idea to make use of your support network.
Self control and discipline by themselves will not cut it! If you depend totally on yourself for control, you’re missing out. Forming caring and supportive relationships is really essential, so if you do not currently have a support network, start building one today!
Get enough sleep. When you are feeling really tired, you are more likely to crave things. Getting the right amount of sleep is a great way to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success.
Never give up. When you end up eating what you’re craving, do not despair and do whatever is necessary to regain control. Try to practice restraint most of the time, but do not get obsessed and unbalanced in your weight loss approach. Think moderation and not total abstinence!
Exercise. This will increase the feel good endorphins that will help cut down on your cravings. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Making time for yourself is a great way to prioritize healthy habits.
An early morning brisk walk will do wonders for the soul and will help set you up for the rest of the day!
Use moderation. Instead of stuffing yourself with every kind of food hoping that your cravings will disappear, eat 100 to 200 calories of whatever it is that you happen to be craving at that particular moment in time.
Substitute with low fat foods and complex carbs. If you’re hungry for chocolate, eat nonfat chocolate yogurt or mousse, or try fig bars or raisins for a sweet craving instead. You will be amazed at how this will help you control your cravings.
You must try to never skip a meal. It is much wiser to eat something, if even only an apple, every three to five hours. Try six smaller meals, or regular meals with nutritious snacks in between.
Remember that hunger cravings are very frequently stress related. Practice other ways to cope with stress, such as a walk in the park, spiritual connections, a cozy fireplace, or even taking a bath. All of these stimulate neurochemicals that activate regions of the brain which increases a feeling of wellbeing. Relaxation techniques really can be beneficial in reducing the levels of stress which you may be experiencing.
The bottom line is to try and substitute pleasurable experiences for comfort foods.
Beware of certain medications that can stimulate your appetite. Certain drugs that are used for the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder can be appetite stimulants. Other drugs, both prescription and over the counter, may influence appetite as well. If you are on medication and troubled by food cravings, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.
Distract yourself. Get busy! Do anything other than thinking about your desire for food and keep doing it until the cravings subside.
One final thought for you. Take a look inside your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets and do some general “house cleaning.” Throw away all that unhealthy stuff that is waiting to sabotage your diet and start shopping more wisely. A little forethought and careful planning will go a long way when improving your chances of success.
Remember that control is the key, eat healthily and in moderation at all times, but do not forget that at the end of the day you are only human. If you do give in to temptation, don’t beat yourself up about it, tomorrow is another day!
If you’re looking for ways to curb your cravings, and would benefit from learning more about our personalized nutrition and fitness plans, reach out to us today!