10 Ways To End Food Cravings

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We really don’t know why some people struggle with a powerful sweet tooth and others don’t. But there are a LOT of ways to address it and manage it better.
Choose a few strategies from today’s article to try and you will make your journey to your ideal weight a lot easier.

For most of us, the problems start in childhood, when we are rewarded with sweets for good behavior, setting up a lifetime association between sugary treats, reward and celebration.

Cravings can be triggered by stress and hormonal changes as we move into adulthood. Many people report problems starting in adolescence.

Cravings can also be triggered by stress hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol, which provide a quick energy boost. Your body then responds to stress with a craving for sugar.

Research confirms this link. Chronic stress in lab rats produces pleasure-seeking behavior, including eating sugary and high fat foods.
There is nothing wrong with indulging in sweets once in awhile, but if you are reaching for them several times per day, then it wreaks havoc with your blood sugar levels and promotes weight gain.
These spikes and dips affect your mood and are associated with developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Here are some ideas to manage cravings:

1. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have it. You’ll only set up resistance. Many people have found a new sense of freedom by resetting their appetite.
2. There are herbs and supplements that can curb sugar cravings considerably. Check with your health food store to see what they recommend.
While many can be used safely, you’ll still need to break the HABIT of reaching for food in stressful situations. It will be easier to do if the physiological craving isn’t there.
3. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be used very effectively to stop food cravings. While you CAN use EFT when the craving strikes in the moment, I recommend that you learn these techniques and use them as a regular practice. They can help reduce anxiety and stressful responses in many situations. It’s just a great tool to have.
4. While many people try to beat sugar cravings with fruit, you have to choose carefully. Some fruits, like pineapple and watermelon are higher on the glycemic index. Berries, apples and pears help keep blood sugar levels stable and also contain more fiber.
5. Distract yourself. This strategy requires that you recognize a craving coming on, and be willing to alter your behavior immediately. If you take a 10-minute walk outside, for instance, you’ll be better able to resist the temptation or the craving may have passed.
Even better – use EFT as you walk.
6. Be proactive about stress. We all have stress, and it will definitely affect your health and wellbeing if it’s not dealt with effectively. Learn to meditate.
Any practice that calms you and relaxes you on a regular basis can help keep the stress in check. Learn EFT, use deep breathing exercises, yoga or progressive relaxation.
7. Include protein in your mid-afternoon snack. If you include nuts, cheese or other lean proteins when the craving hits, you can prevent dips in blood sugar.
8. Manage your energy level. Sugar cravings are often a thin disguise for wanting to relieve fatigue and increase energy. The paradox is that eating sugary treats only makes you more tired, and we know it!
Regular exercise will give you more energy and ward off cravings. It will often calm you down as well. I have never felt a craving on my way out of the gym!
9. Manage your emotions. Cravings can also be triggered by a desire to change your feelings. When the craving strikes, ask yourself how you feel, and what you want the food to do for you.
If you aren’t physiologically hungry, then the answer to that question will often be – “change the way I feel.”
10. Don’t procrastinate. Our bodies can actually manufacture cravings in an attempt to avoid something or to feel better.
How many times have you heard yourself say “well, I’ll just go get something to eat, and then I’ll _______.”

Sometimes we use food to psyche ourselves into doing something we don’t really want to do. In these instances, food is a bribe more than a reward.
The fix – go ahead and DO whatever it is that you don’t want to do. Then reassess your appetite. You may find that the craving has magically disappeared!


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