Are your weight loss efforts damaged by your uncontrollable food cravings? Do you feel like you do great all day and then lose it at night? This is a common story for so many women. So the question is, what causes food cravings and how can we stop them?
Food cravings are many times behavioral. And then other times, there is a physical reason for your cravings. By figuring out which one it is, you can begin to make changes that will prevent you from damaging your efforts.
Cravings are basically habits that we create out of a routine behavior. For example, you eat dinner and then you sit on the couch and watch TV. Even though you just ate dinner, you are looking for a snack because you enjoy eating in front of the TV. Next thing you know, you ate way more than you should have and the cycle goes on and on.
When you create a sequence of events, and this routine is repeated over and over, a craving will develop, similar to how a dog will know its meal-time every morning at 8am.
So how do we change this behavior?
- Identify the craving and take notice of it
- Replace the behavior with something positive and healthier choices.
Which brings me to the biochemical part. If you are truly hungry, then satisfying that hunger makes sense. Choosing foods that will nourish your body when it needs it and in the proper amounts, is the way to go.
Here are some ways to kill food cravings and get the results you desire.
- Eat real foods. Choose foods that have tons of vitamins and minerals. There are healthy versions of all the bad foods. Such as replacing potato chips with kale chips.
- Eat foods that will satisfy you. For example, if you want something salty and crunchy, eating a Greek yogurt will not do the trick. Roast some chickpeas with chili powder and garlic for the same effect.
- Eat and drink citrus foods to cut cravings. Grapefruits, lemons and lime either in your water or foods throughout the day are proven to reduce sugar cravings. For added convenience, you can use a few drops of citrus essential oils to your water.
- Stay hydrated. Many times people don’t realize they are dehydrated. Drinking a large glass of lemon water before or after a meal will help reduce hunger sensations that may not be real.
- Choose foods that contain a lot of water. For example, oatmeal that is cooked will contain a cup of water. Food that expands in volume with water will help you feel full. Replace your morning toast with oatmeal for example for a higher volume food. Watermelon, as a fruit contains high amounts of water and makes a great snack.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can trigger food cravings and cause endocrine disruptions. If you feel like you are craving often, take a look at your sleep schedule and you may need to make some adjustments.
- Change habits and routines. Simply changing your routine can make all the difference. Habits can be formed or changed in just a few short weeks. Instead of sitting in front of the TV every night and fighting the cravings, take up a new activity, sign up for an online class or learn something new.
*Recognizing areas that need change is the first step toward changing habits.
*Remember, your desire to change has to be greater than your desire to stay the same.
*Make small changes to your lifestyle and eating habits. Before you know it, you will begin to see and feel the positive changes you have made!