by Michelle Dumovich, NC
Sometimes it seems no matter how much food we eat, we want more. But, let’s face it: Eating more is not always great for our health. Food cravings can be especially destructive to our health. Here are a few tips to get them under control.
What are you really hungry for?
The next time you have a food craving, ask yourself this: Are you feeling stressed, sad or maybe just bored? If you answer “yes” to any of these, you might just need an emotional fill. I recommend keeping a daily “mood” journal for a week or two; note your moods whenever you’re hit by an uncontrollable urge to chow down. If stress is your trigger, try exercising. Exercise, especially Pilates, can relieve the emotional pressures building up inside of you. Most, if not all, of my Pilates clients feel emotionally better after a powerful workout. It can uplift the soul and create inner confidence. If your’re feeling sad or lonely, call a friend or family member till the feeling of sadness leaves. Remember, true hunger is when you’re hungry enough to eat a raw tomato. True hunger can easily be satisfied. Emotional hunger will often build bad habits and false desires.
EXIT your energy roller coaster.
As a nutritional consultant, I encourage all my carboholics to stop feeding their bodies with lousy, useless foods. A diet rich in meaningless carbohydrates can produce drops in blood sugar that prompt your hunger cravings. If this does not get under control, you can increase your chances of getting diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. You might feel the nice jolt of energy that doughnut gave you, but by mid-afternoon you will be craving more and more sugar, thinking it will help. To stabilize blood sugar and your appetite, start eating more protein and fiber. Eggs, high-protein/low-sugar shakes, whole-wheat toast or a bowl of fiber-rich cereal with nuts is a great start. Do this in the morning and watch how your energy level will not crash. I encourage all my clients to keep their diets high in lean protein, vegetables (4 cups a day) and fruit (in moderation) and low in carbohydrates. Also, the body requires macro nutrients each day, so do not deprive yourself of carbohydrates—they are your first source of energy. Just make the right, clean choice.
Water, water everywhere.
Just about every place you enter has water available to buy or drink. Sometimes your body might just be thirsty, rather than hungry. Drink a glass of water and wait a few moments before asking yourself if you are still that hungry. Your cravings might subside after that water intake.
Taste buds have a short attention span.
If you give your taste buds a few moments to forget about the urge to chow down uncontrollably, you will notice how quickly your taste buds will forget. Sometime sucking on a mint, brushing your teeth or checking your e-mail can quickly distract the taste buds from binging on the wrong foods. Be patient and do not overreact. In my experience, carboholics will panic when they feel their sugar bottoming out but that’s no way to live each day. Just make a clean choice and train your taste buds not to give in to meaningless chips, cookies or ice cream.
Every day, we are tempted to eat good foods or those that are less nutritionally satisfying. If you do not take control over these cravings you may be headed down an unhealthy path. You have the power to start eating right today. Yes, you will make the occasional bad choice, but that does not have to mean you keep eating unhealthy food choices all day long. Do not deprive yourself; instead, modify your portions. If you follow just one of these simple tips, you are going in the right direction. You have one life, so why not make it as healthy as possible? You can do anything if you want to bad enough. Get motivated and take one day at a time toward eating better. Best of luck and stay dedicated!