Have you been following a diet, being good and tracking well toward your goal weight, when all of a sudden you are struck by a craving? Are you thinking, I deserve a reward, just a small treat? Perhaps some candy, a cupcake maybe, a few cookies, or maybe a chocolate bar? Hours later you have managed to open the floodgates, a simple taste of sugar paves the way for eating not just one treat but numerous! Your diet has officially been thrown out the window, all because your cravings got the better of you!
Once you have taken that first bite, a trigger of hormones involved in regulating blood sugar (insulin), regulating mood (serotonin), and regulating appetite (ghrelin) get turned on. And they don’t shut off that easy! As you begin to come down off your sugar high, you can begin to start craving again, not to mention feel hungry and unsatisfied. Regardless, there are a few tricks you can use to try and satisfy your cravings and help keep your hands out of the cookie jar!
Smash the Urge
By continually resisting your urge to give in to your craving, you could end up bingeing big time. Evaluate your diet and determine if you are missing something. Do you have enough fibrous carbs, or enough satiating protein? Are your calories too low?
Purge Your Cupboards
Having bad foods in close proximity will only lead to bad things when a craving hits! Before you even start a diet, get rid of all temptations. Keep healthy alternatives in the cupboards and fridge like nuts, seeds, non-fat yogurt, fruit, veggie sticks or even cottage cheese.
Between meals, or when cravings begin to get the better of you, grab a stick of gum. Research has shown that people who chewed gum between meals ate fewer snacks and reduced 40 calories off their in-between meal consumption, compared with their snack consumption when they didn’t chew gum.
If you are not eating at regular intervals throughout the day, you could be causing your blood sugar levels to drop, and when this happens your food cravings will go up. Make sure to eat every three hours, and be sure your meals consist of fiber-rich carbohydrates, essential fats, and of course high-quality protein.
Go to the Gym
Probably not the answer you want to hear, but when you exercise you not only take your mind off of your craving, you also cause the release of endorphins that actually counteract the feelings of hunger. When a craving hits, get active, pronto! If you are not keen on going back to the gym, go for a run or a walk outside.
Try a Supplement
There are a few supplements out there that can help you reduce your cravings. Cinnamon bark and alpha lipoic acid have been shown to effectively assist in managing blood sugar, while 5-HTP has been shown to be effective for increasing serotonin in the brain and subsequently reducing cravings for sugar.
Get Back on Track
If you do end up giving into that delectable treat, don’t beat yourself up or give up on your progress. Just get back on the diet and don’t look back! Stay on track by giving yourself goals to accomplish along the way. Maybe you don’t want to compete, but looking as good as a bikini model is a pretty good goal! Stay focused; every meal is a chance to make it right!