Ways To Reduce Cravings
Cravings can be triggered by many things including; sights, sounds, aromas, environment, stress and more. A perfect example of this is a typical trip to your local mall when you walk by the pretzel stand or cinnamon roll shop – sights, sounds, aromas, AND environment – oh my!
Another example common for a lot of people is stress – stress of a deadline, stress when faced with something you dislike (taxes or balancing the check book. Sound familiar?).
Another is boredom.
Since our appetite and our eating habits do not exist in a bubble, things that are part of our daily lives can trigger cravings.
The better we understand our cravings though, the more equipped we are to deal with them constructively.
It’s not realistic to think you will NEVER have sugar, but the reality is that most people are consuming WAY too much added sugar. Sugar is in SO many of the foods we eat and we usually aren’t even aware of it (bread, crackers, sauces, chips - you name it) and it can be quite addictive.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at four ways to deal with your SUGAR CRAVINGS (or other junk food habits)! You’ll also begin to understand why your cravings are not always your fault.
We are inundated every day with foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. Fast food, packaged food and junk food are quick and easy, but we’re paying the price with our health and our waistlines. When we consume these processed, nutrient-void foods, our body knows it’s not getting what it needs, so it craves more….more nutrients…but many times, we are just giving our body more food…empty calories, lacking in nutrients.
So what can we do to reduce cravings?
By adopting the following four practices, you can reduce your cravings for sugar or other unhealthy foods and drinks.
Give these a try for the next week, and then come back to read part two where I give you another four tactics that will have you conquering your cravings for good!
1. Don't Skip Meals
When you can spread out your meals as evenly as possible throughout the day, ensure that your meals are based on whole foods, and add a healthy snack when needed, your blood sugar is likely to be more stable. This mean no more energy crashes which result in a craving for sugar to get your energy level back up.
Often, sugar cravings are our body’s response to needing energy. By eating balanced meals throughout the day, our energy levels stay up, thereby reducing cravings.
2. Don't Bring Temptation Home
If you want to make good choices, only keep good choices in the house.
I like to keep the veggies and fruit at eye level and up front for my kids. When they see healthier choices first, they go for what’s within easy reach. Keeping washed, pre-cut veggies with a pre-made yummy dip means healthy snacks are all ready to eat.
(Want my go-to snacks recipe book? Click here to join my healthy habits email list, and I'll send you all the resources and recipes you need to be inspired!)
Plus, if the junk food, sugary cereals, cookies, cakes, ice cream, chips, etc., are not there, you can’t eat any, right? Stock your kitchen with whole foods that fill you up, satisfy your hunger and give your body the nutrients it needs. This greatly aids in the reduction of cravings, because you don’t feel so hungry.
3. Eat Enough Protein & Healthy Fats
Healthy fat is crucial to providing essential fatty acids, the absorption of vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals and are a source of energizing fuel. To make up for the lack of fat and taste in their products, the food companies added more SUGAR! Low fat foods are not very satiating, which leaves us hungry again a short time later. This leads to consuming more calories, which is not good if your goal is weight loss.
By eating more whole foods that are packed with the nutrients our bodies need, the less junk food we crave. Our bodies need real food – whole food in its natural state - to thrive. Providing our body with what it needs can reduce addictive cravings.
If eliminating junk food from your pantry shelves is a challenge for you because your children or spouse have snacks they “have to have,” try replacing one type of snack at a time.
For example: Maybe instead of Doritos, which are full of artificial ingredients and MSG, transition to something like organic tortilla chips. Be sure you have a great fresh salsa or guacamole for the dip and serve with a plate of fresh cut veggies too!
Starting with small changes and transitioning little by little can avoid a major mutiny. You don’t have to do a major overhaul all at once. This can take some time. It’s good to introduce new foods and see what everyone likes. You never know what may become a new favorite.
Click here to read another one of my blog posts all about how eating fat can actually help you lose fat and reduce cravings.
4. Get A Good Night's Sleep
What does sleep have to do with healthy eating and achieving your ideal weight range? A lot!
Think about the difference of how your entire day goes when you wake up tired vs. how you feel and how your day goes after you get a full night’s rest. It’s typical that we make different food and activity choices throughout the day when we are rested and feel energetic compared to days when we are dragging.
Tiredness, stress and exhaustion all trigger food binges. When we’re tired, we get stressed more easily. Research, published in the American Journal of Human Biology, shows that short or poor quality sleep is linked to obesity by de-regulating appetite and increased energy consumption. Our appetites can increase when we’re tired, which makes sense. Studies show how signals from the brain, which control appetite regulation, are impacted by sleep restriction. Our body craves more energy and we get more energy from food, so we end up eating more, and usually end up making less healthy choices.
One Step At A Time
Let me know in the comments below!
See if you can give all four a try over the next week, and then come back to read part two where I talk about four more tactics that will really have you busting your cravings!
Want more free tips, tricks and resources about conquering cravings? Click here to join my healthy habits email list.