What Provokes Food Cravings and How to Stick to a Healthy Lifestyle
When you’re determined to change your lifestyle habits for the sake of becoming healthier, you’re likely to face many challenges. Most people make a rookie mistake by making a sudden dramatic change in their dieting so their bodies go through a lot of stress. It’s fairly logical: if just yesterday you ate a whole jar of Nutella and now you’re chewing on a carrot – you can expect it to be a bit nerve-wracking. We all know those pesky food cravings that are so hard to bear. In order to control these hunger attacks, you have to understand their triggers and mechanisms. Get to know your enemy so you can conquer him: here’s everything you need to know about food cravings.
Strict diets don’t help
Sugar is very notorious in the fitness-focused community but the truth is – you need a certain amount of sugar in your bloodstream for healthy body function. Many decide to go on unhealthy and rigorous diets in order to achieve fast results. Most of these strict diets bring a heavy amount of stress to the body and will probably trigger a yo-yo effect the moment you start eating other types of foods. Studies have shown low blood sugar caused by unbalanced nutrition or skipping meals triggers food cravings. Your body sends you these signals and gives you the munchies because it needs a quick sugar-fix due to the sudden drop of sugar levels.
Make smarter food choices for a healthy lifestyle
Excessive sugar disables your body to get rid of toxins and so they pile up. Take baby steps in detoxifying and start consuming lemon water in the morning: it really does miracles. Skip sugary drinks and drink water or green tea instead: it’s a good way to cut down calories.
When it comes to cravings, provide your body with nutrients it seeks but in a healthier form – such as non-starchy vegetables (e.g. baby corn, spinach, carrots). Turn to complex carbohydrates as they provide you with the optimal dose of fiber (25-35 grams per day) while simple ones (e.g. processed sugar, white bread, soda) are plain sugar. Simple carbs push your body into an acidic state and you should use nutrition to bring it back to alkaline. Dairy products contain a hunger hormone called ghrelin that induces sweet cravings. Medium-intensity exercise combined with balanced nutrition will help you get a lean physique and become healthier and stronger as you build muscle mass. Use a convenient body measurement tracker so you can follow your progress. Don’t turn to scales as numbers don’t mean a thing: you may weigh more because of the increased muscle mass.
Break the habit of emotional overeating
Did you know brain on sugar is similar to the brain on drugs? Science backed data says it’s true: sugar is very addictive and long-term consumption makes it hard to get back on track. Sugary food provides us with the much needed high when we feel depressed or sad. Low serotonin levels are to blame when we grab the chocolate to enjoy the rush. Emotional overeating is a response to negative emotions. Long-term overeating of this kind can lead to excessive body fat, poor self-image, and low body confidence.
Here are a few differences between emotional and physical hunger: emotional occurs suddenly, while physical one comes on gradually. Emotional hunger demands high sugar foods while physical one is more versatile when it comes to food choices that sound appealing. After indulging emotional hunger, you’re likely to feel ashamed or bad about losing control, while these feelings don’t occur when you satisfy your real hunger. Next time you feel it coming over you, try raising your serotonin levels in other ways such as with a nice physical activity or by taking a nap.
Take time to de-stress
If you expose yourself perpetually to stressful situations, there is a good chance your adrenal glands will get stimulated to release cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone”. Harvard Study explained a strong correlation between stress and overeating: high cortisol levels in combination with high insulin levels inhibit the bad habit of seeking comfort in food. Find your way to unwind: be it meditation, swimming, or reconnecting with nature. Take time to disconnect from everything and focus on yourself. Deep breathing exercises are a great way to lower your blood pressure and free yourself from anxiety. Learn to listen to your body and devote at least half an hour per day to focus on its needs. Stay away from short-term gratification: don’t cure the symptom, handle the cause.
Healthy dieting doesn’t have to be tasteless nor does a fitness lifestyle have to be tiring. With just a little bit of effort, you can conquer your food cravings and become more mindful about your nutrition and habits.