How to Handle Food Cravings

How to Curb the Cravings

  • Make your cravings wait for 10 minutes. Within that 10 minutes, go for a walk, take a hot shower, call a friend, etc. By then, the craving probably will have passed.
  • Don't buy food you're likely to crave (and binge on). Or if you must, buy it in individual servings packages.
  • Drink a glass of water or eat a piece of fruit. You'll probably feel too full to want anything else.
  • Keep low-fat snacks - like pretzels, popcorn, cut-up vegetables, and fruit handy. If they're not, it will be much easier to dig into a bag of chips or cookies.

Blame it on your Brain?

What and how we eat may not be strictly a question of willpower. There often are other forces influencing our appetites - and they are called brain chemicals.

One of these chemicals is serotonin. When our brains are producing adequate supplies of this chemical, our appetites (and food cravings) tend to be "quiet." On the other hand, when serotonin levels drop, our "food desires" tend to increase.

But there are also brain chemicals whose presence may actually increase food cravings. When they are blocked or inactivated in people, their binge-eating behavior subsides.

Source: University of Michigan study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol.62, No.1

3 Reasons to "Bag" Sugar

Sugar-filled foods are among the most-craved items in our diet. But consider these not-so-sweet facts next time your sugar-craving kicks in:

  • Sugary foods fill you up with "empty" calories. That means you're probably not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains - foods which contain the much-needed nutrients our bodies require to fight off disease.
  • Too much sugar in foods that are high in calories makes you gain weight, and too much weight can contribute to disorders like diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
  • Too much sugar can make you feel tired, shaky, weak, faint, headachy, confused, and mentally dull.

A Better Use for Sugar

  • To see if your bathroom scale is accurate, weigh an unopened five-pound bag of sugar.
  • Need motivation to continue losing excess weight? After you've lost five pounds, life a five pound bag or sugar to get a tangible idea of how much weight you have lost.

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