How to Curb your Cravings
Cravings. Those pesky, often uncontrollable desires we have to divulge in our favourite treat whether it be the sweet savoury taste of chocolate or the mouth-watering zip of sweet chili heat doritos. Don’t you just wish those darn cravings would subside? Why do you get cravings in the first place? Since the time of our ancestors, our bodies have learned to eat fat and high calorie fruits. Fat has provided us with excess fuel in times when food is scarce. When looking for berries, the sweet ones were thought to be safe, as sour berries were more likely to be poisonous. Researchers have found that we get the most enjoyment out of foods such as cookies and French fries due to the endorphin rush we receive. This endorphin rush makes us feel pleasure and unfortunately, causes us to over consume foods. Furthermore, research has found that women are more likely to suffer from cravings versus men. Women also have a harder time saying no when cravings are present.
Our brains can actually change over time if we continuously give into those pesky cravings. Processed foods combining our three favourite cravings (sugar, fat and salt) are more readily available and more likely to be consumed. Processed foods can have enhanced impact on our brain’s response to cravings, increasing our endorphin rush. For example, foods that contain a high amount of refined sugar cause a substantial spike in our blood glucose causing this enhanced endorphin rush. However, this pleasurable effect is not long-lasting, causing us to consume more. In addition, processed foods in comparison to whole foods can be eaten more quickly and easily. Processed foods do not take extra time and effort to chew and swallow and also are not as nutrient dense (contain less protein and fibre). Cravings are also hard to forget! If you give in to your cravings, you`ll continue to crave that same food for two to three days after.
Now enough of the scientific background if cravings. Want to know how to help curb your cravings?
HOW TO CURB YOUR CRAVINGS:
- Avoid Triggers: Realize what you’re doing and where you are when cravings strike. Are you in front of the television? Did you just walk in to the kitchen? Change that trigger. Instead of reaching for the snack, maybe grab a glass of water when sitting in front of the television.
- Stick to a schedule: eat at only designated meal times or snack times. Avoid eating when not in your scheduled time.
- Get some satisfaction: everything in moderation! Don’t completely deprive yourself of your favourite foods all throughout the week! Once and a while it’s okay to have a handful of chips. If you keep depriving yourself, you’ll increase your likelihood of binging and over-consuming foods.
- Give your meal a happy ending: Teach yourself an “enough” signal that lets you know when you’ve finished eating for the day. Nutrition and psychiatry professor Roberts, for example, likes to finish dinner with a cup of decaf tea: “I enjoy it, and then I know eating is done for the day,” she says.
“Emergency Appetite Control Foods”
- Drink Fresh Water: Drink water and then wait for 10 minutes. This works to help control your cravings the majority of the time.
- Eat Green Vegetables (i.e. lettuce, cabbage, bokchoy, and other leafy vegetables): These vegetables are low in calories, yet help you feel full. Eat them plain or cook them up! Whatever works best for you!
- Instant Banana Pudding Recipe: Add a quart of soy milk to the blender, then a couple of scoops of unsweetened banana-flavored simply natural spirutein soy protein powder. If you were to blend this up, you’d have a banana-flavored soy protein shake. But we’re not done yet: while the blender is running, put in about 1/2 tablespoon of guar gum powder, plus another 1/2 tablespoon of xanthan gum powder. These are thickeners. Within seconds, your blender will start whining and the whole mixture will attain the consistency of pudding. Now just pour it into a bowl and eat it like banana pudding! The mixture has near-zero carbs, no sugars, and is high in soy protein. Plus, it tastes great and fills you up fast. This is my favorite choice for a late-night appetite emergency
- Eat Pickles: These are also low in calories yet fill up your stomach. Choose pickles with no sugar added and artificial colouring
- Eat Apples: Good because they contain bulky fibre which fills your stomach and makes you feel full!
WHEN A CRAVING HITS:
- Wait 10 Minutes: When you have a craving, wait 10 minutes. If you still have the craving, then have a very small amount. Wait another 10 minutes before indulging further.
- Eat Something Smarter: Instead of having a bowl of ice cream, Fitness magazine recommends eating non-fat greek yogurt with nuts and honey.
- Be Prepared with the Healthy Substitutes: Chips and cookies are SO easy to grab because they require no preparation. Help yourself by having healthy, whole foods such as veggies cut up and ready to eat
- Give yourself a massage: massages are a good distraction technique and causes you to feel more relaxed.