Understanding your food cravings Part (2)
The last post Why Can’t I stop eating Chocolate? we had a look into the culprits behind our food cravings.
This week we talk about how to take charge of your life without turning to food! When you’re so busy taking care of others and just doing what’s exspected of you, food can feel like your best escape.
Learn how to break the vicious cycle of Physiological, Psychological, Emotional, Lifestyle and Behavioural Habits and end yo-yo dieting. It is not about willpower if you’re like so many, you may count on willpower alone to end the struggle over food. Your willpower will break down… eventually. If deprivation and berating yourself are the means to an end, is that really the end you’re looking for?
Discover the way that leads to the end you really want. Taking care of yourself in a way that feels better than food ever could, and feeling the freedom that truly liberates you, body, mind and soul.
Dealing with Physiological: The body talk.
One of the reasons we crave a food because our bodies are screaming out for nutrients, such as vitamins or protein and water. Our bodies are depleted, and cravings ensure that its needs are met. These are physically based cravings.
These are some ways we can attempt to overcome physiological causes of food cravings, they include:
- Eating a well balance diet. Include as much variety as possible to ensure that we are more likely to be getting all the nutrients our body needs.
- Take a good vitamin and mineral supplements. If you feel that your balanced diet is still not delivering the nutrients you require, consider taking vitamin or mineral supplements.
- Never skip meals. If you skip meals, this will lead to your blood sugar levels going abnormally low, this will lead to an unstoppable desire to eat lots of food .
- Avoid refined foods, especially sugar. When you eat sugar, your brain releases opioids, a natural chemical that leads to feelings of pleasure and happiness. Scientific research into drug addiction has shown that heroin and morphine stimulate your brain in the same way as does sugar. Sugar and other specific foods help in developing a physical cravings, sugar causes a physical cravings for sugar.
- Exercise moderation in all foods we eat. Overeating high starch foods may cause a greater insulin release and may lead you to crave and overeat when it comes to your next meal.
- Drink plenty of water. Sometimes hunger is a signal that we’re thirsty. Drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes
- Avoid certain sensory triggers. For instance, avoid walking past certain fast food outlets on your way home that you know will tempt you.
- Get these foods out of your life. Those who are addictive have to learn to shy away from foods that cause them cravings. Studies have shown that when people who are hooked on specific foods through a biochemical process of physical craving and— need to do the work of eliminating these specific foods from their body and then her life.
- Balance your hormones. Hormones play a main role in food cravings. Serotonin is the hormone responsible for releasing happiness and can greatly affect your mood. Therefore, those who are typically serotonin-deficient, will turn to food to increase serotonin levels. High levels of serotonin help control appetite, satisfy cravings, and provide a feeling of well-being and inner calm.
- Increase your Serotonin. If you think you may be serotonin-deficient and want to increase your serotonin levels.
- Stop the negative talk! Calming and positive thoughts lead to an increase in serotonin
- Stress Less. When stress is increase, this leads to an increase in cortisol, which leads to deposits of abdominal fat and makes it more difficult to lost weight or keep it off.
- Attend to your gut imbalances. Serotonin is made in a healthy gut. The gut contains 100 million neurons – more than the spinal cord. Major neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, norephinephrine and nitric oxide are in the gut.
- Get some sunlight. 10 minutes a day helps regulate hormones such as melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin helps the body sleep while serotonin effects mood. Too much or too little melatonin or serotonin can lead to decreased energy, depression and fatigue
- Have fun. Go dancing,watch a funny movie.
- Get a good night sleep. Do you sleep enough? 7 – 9 hours of sleep is vital to your health. Sleep deprivation ↓ leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, and ↑ grehlin, a hormone that makes people want to eat.
- Exercise everyday. Exercise will boost serotonin levels, Lowers cortisol, dopamine and norepinephrine, which leads to appetite suppression, stabilizes moods, which reduces cravings. Exercise also naturally raises endorphins and control NPY (neuropeptide Y) that lowers anxiety and carbohydrate cravings and increases feelings of contentment.
Psychological: It is all in our head.
Some strategies for dealing with mental causes of cravings include:
- Find ways to distract yourself. Engage your mind elsewhere. Call a friend, go for a walk, sweep the floor, do some gardening. I turn up the radio and dance, find creative ways to distract yourself.
- Avoid TV adds. Our mind simply responding to mental triggers such as fast food advertising and magazines.
- Have a large glass of water or seltzer with lemon and wait 10 minutes. Not only will the drink give you the sensation of being fuller, I will help you to know if you’ve been mistaking thirst for hunger.
- Take responsibility for your actions. At the core of your being, an acceptance of your own personal biochemistry is critical. Once you take on personal responsibility for your biochemistry, you take charge of your cravings and compulsive eating.
- Stop. Before you give in to your craving, remind yourself of your goals.
- Simply brushing your teeth or use a tongue scrapper or distracting yourself from thinking about food. This also helps remove any food and bacteria that can cause cravings.
Dealing with Emotional : The Gut feelings.
Underlying emotional issues can often be very complex and therefore not easy to overcome. Having said that, some strategies for dealing with emotional related food cravings include:
- Being aware of times when you are managing your emotions with food. I feel it’s important to be honest with ourselves about our emotions. We need to face the emotion and then move on.
- Keeping a food diary. Emotional eaters must become aware of their motivations for wanting to eat. A great way to be more aware of your emotions surrounding food is to keep a journal and record how you feel before you eat. Write down what you eat, how much you eat, when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal negative eating patterns and triggers to avoid.
- Addressing any emotional issues as soon as possible. When we recognize, what the emotional issue you’re been struggling with. Dig deeper ask questions like What makes me so frustrated or anger? What do I feel I’m missing out on? and Why am I taking my anger out on myself?. Usually the answers appear right away.
- Challenge the Food Police. Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake..
- Manage stress. Explore using different relaxation techniques like exercise, EFT, mindfulness techniques, deep breathing, yoga, Pilates, aromatherapy, massage or meditation to help us cope with stress. Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Two out of three people eat more under stress. Plus, we don’t usually overeat vegetables when we’re stressed. (Did you notice that “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards?)
- Not a good idea using food as a reward. Many times, people make the mistake of rewarding themselves with an indulgent treat for sticking to a healthy eating plan for a designated amount of time. Using foods as a reward for eating healthy is counterproductive to the task at hand. Instead, allow yourself to indulge in special treats every so often for no reason at all. This will help you keep healthy eating in perspective and recognize indulgences as just that.
Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short-term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem.
Dealing with Lifestyle: Behavioural
In addition to the above, ways to deal with some lifestyle related causes of food cravings include:
- Recognize your eating habits. Being aware of any behavioral or unconscious eating patterns like’ cleaning your plate’ or having desert even though you are full. Opening the fridge in between meals, Refrain from lingering at your table, turn off the lights in your kitchen at night and avoid hanging out there.
- Avoid skipping meals. This will lead to your blood sugar levels going abnormally low and intense cravings start. This also this causes an increase in ghrelin (a neurotransmitter that sets up an irresistible urge to eat) and also lowers neuropeptide Y, which increases carbohydrate cravings.
- Eat consciously – Avoid eating in front of the TV or while busy with other activities. Eat slowly so your brain can get the message that your stomach is full.
- Eat healthy Fats. As you eat more dietary fat, this will increase endorphins (the body’s natural “high”, which gives pain relief and pleasure).
- Drink alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to lowered levels of the brain chemical serotonin. When serotonin is low, the usual result is carbohydrate cravings,
- Keeping healthy snacks around the house or office.
- Figuring out what works for us and repeating that behaviour.
- Again watching less TV and other Influences.
- Keeping food records in a food diary.
- Practicing portion control
- Avoiding very low calorie diets. As you lower calories to lose weight, you starve your brain first and that depletes serotonin.
is a philosophy is that there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. Everybody is a unique individual with highly individualized nutritional requirements. Which helps us to achieve optimal biochemical balance, most people need the assistance of a professional to design a food plan. A food plan that provides structure, designed to re-balance your own personal biochemistry. Eating should provide the nutrients to create energy, physical well-being, mental alertness, and spiritual growth. Most people receiving this type of nutritional support achieve lasting success. if you would like to know more email me firstname.lastname@example.org
In my next blog I look forward to sharing with you my 10 tips to help reclaim your power over food.