Many people struggle with food cravings. Studies tell us that it’s fairly common for food cravings to happen at certain times, quite often at around bedtime. Your guard may be down, you may have had an unusually hard day, and off you go on your
not-so-merry way to find that tasty treat. Fatigue and stress often combine to take their toll on the best of intentions.
When food cravings are unconstrained, what starts out as a bedtime snack quickly turns into a full blown feeding frenzy…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.
Some food cravings are biologically related. For example, disruption in your adrenal glands can cause you to crave salty or sweet foods (depending on your level of adrenal depletion). Most food cravings though are not about satisfying a nutritional need or imbalance. Much of the food we eat today is designed to become addictive. Packaged foods are often laden with extra sugar, salts and hydrogenated fats. They cause people to want more!
Here are 9 Tips for Stopping Food Cravings:
1. Evaluate your home.
If the food isn’t available, you can’t eat it! Empty the cookie jar and keep it that way! Keep healthy food choices on-hand. Take a look inside your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets and do some general “house cleaning.” Throw-out all that unhealthy stuff that is waiting to sabotage you, and start shopping more wisely. A little forethought and careful planning will go a long way for improving your chances of success.
2. Low-fat foods can make you feel hungry.
The problem with low-fat foods is that they are not satisfying. Fat has long been vilified by dietitians and even the government. Fat, however, is an essential macro-nutrient and out bodies require healthy fat. Great choices are olive oil, coconut oil and butter from grass-fed cows.
3. Avoid packaged foods.
Avoid almost all packaged foods. Most packaged foods are filled with added sugars which lead to more food-cravings. If you must eat packaged foods, become a label-critic! Avoid foods with added sugars in any form, including synthetic sweeteners. A great rule of thumb is that if it has more than 5 ingredients, it’s probably not a good choice.
4. Eliminate sugar.
Eating sugar is a great way to cause your body to crave even more sugar. It can be a vicious cycle. Start eliminating sugars in your diet to lessen the cravings. Note that the cravings might get worse before they get better but they will subside over time as you consume less and less sugar.
5. Recognize the feelings and emotions.
Recognize the feelings and emotions that lead up to your food craving. Do you have food cravings when you’re bored, lonely, or
stressed? If you can identify a trigger, you can deal with the emotion that’s making you desire a certain food. Try to deal with
the triggers in the best way you can.
6. Turn off the tv!
Food commercials are often a great trigger to make you want a specific type of food that is not good for you. If that is the case for you, skip the commercials or even better, skip tv altogether!
People often have cravings when they have an underlying health issue. For example, if the nutrition from your food isn’t being absorbed properly (such as is the case with Celiac disease), it may cause you to crave more food.
Adrenal issues also cause major cravings! See The Adrenal Reset Diet as a great resource that will also aid with food cravings.
8. Figure out alternatives.
Have a plan in place of what to do when food cravings hit. Whether it is a healthy food alternative or distracting yourself with an activity, a plan can really help.
9. Get enough sleep.
When you’re tired, you’re more likely to crave foods, especially sugary foods.
10. Self-control and discipline sometimes don’t cut it!
If you depend totally on yourself for control, you could still fail. Forming caring and supportive relationships is required. If you do not currently have a support network, start building one today.
It increases feel-good endorphins that cut down on your cravings. Try Burst Training as a really effective exercise regime.
12. Evaluate your stress level.
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 these stimulate neurochemicals that activate regions of the brain that stimulate pleasure. Relaxation techniques may work by reducing the psychological drives on stress output, which can be the root causes of stress. Bottom line, substitute pleasurable experiences for comfort foods.
13. Investigate your medications.
Beware of certain medications. They can stimulate appetite. Drugs 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 a
medication, and troubled by food cravings, begin researching this possibility and then discuss this with a trusted clinician.