Your day is going great. You woke up early and exercised, ate a healthy breakfast post workout and you're ready to tackle the day. Your feeling great! Everything is going to plan, But wait…the afternoon quietly sneaks up and your low on energy. Softly, that sweet treat and pick me up is calling. It slowly gets louder and louder. Next minute your licking the cupcake frosting from your finger tips. What just happened? You got clobbered by cravings!
In a recent study conducted at Tufts University, 91% of women said they experienced strong food cravings. These urges are fueled by feel good brain chemicals released when you eat these types of foods. In turn, this creates a rush of euphoria that your brain seeks over and over. In this scenario, will power alone is not enough. What you need is a plan that stops this natural cycle, helping prevent set backs on our weight loss goals and any unwanted weight gain.
So how do you stop yourself from reaching for that sweet treat? The best way to overcome this is to develop strategies that complement your everyday routines helping to manage these urges. Here are a few simple tips that may be helpful in controlling these unwanted desires:
- Eat regularly. Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger. Opt to have meals with a balance amount of protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates.
- Restock your fridge with healthy snack options. If your kitchen is packed with Tim Tams and savoury snacks then that's what you'll reach for. Fruit, nuts, health bars and rice cakes all make good alternatives.
- Choose to eat foods that have a low GI. These will keep you fuller for longer and feeling satisfied. Great options include vegetables, beans, fruit, whole-grain cereals, oats, rye bread and brown rice
- Skip the processed and packaged foods. Take-away and microwave meals are often full of sugar, salt and artificial flavours. Try and eat fresh food as much as possible.
- Change your habits. Craving a coffee first thing in the morning or something sweet before you go to bed are the result of habit. Mix up your routine and you'll soon see your cravings disappear. (See the 'Keep The Chocolate In The Pantry For Good' article by Chris Jovcevski for detailed information about changing habit)
Lastly, go easy on yourself. It may take time to get a handle on your sugar cravings. It's difficult to shift any system but if we fall off the bike, we get back on, learn from our mistakes and get a little better each time.
Ryan Bartlett*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.