Conquer Your Cravings
Most of us know that we should be eating less junk food, yet we still give in to cravings.
Understanding a few key things about why cravings develop can arm you against them in the future.
A RECIPE FOR ADDICTION
A lot of science goes into finding the perfect combination of food ingredients and additives to make junk food addictive. These foods spike hormones and chemicals in the body that bring a huge sense of satisfaction. This makes processed foods very difficult to resist.
What to do:
– Set aside a time to rid your house of these addictive foods. These foods are designed to make you want more. It will be difficult to stop craving them if you’re still exposing yourself to them. Processed foods like chips, chocolate, ice cream and baked goods are especially problematic.
– Read a book called “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” By Michael Moss to learn more and get inspired.
A QUICK PICK-ME-UP
It’s common to feel so burnt out by the end of the day that all you want are chips and cookies to set you right again. Taking steps to manage your stress, sleep and blood sugar can curb those burn-out cravings.
What to do:
– Eat foods with healthy fats, fiber, minerals, vitamins and protein at each meal. Don’t go long spells without eating. This way, your blood sugar won’t spike and crash leading to cravings later in the day. Ask your naturopathic doctor to create a meal plan for you if you need help balancing your diet throughout the day.
– Track the time of day when cravings usually hit. Is it before a meeting, after work, after dinner, while watching TV? Do a 10-minute meditation/ breathing exercise around that time. How-to guides are easily found on Youtube or in your app store. For example, if you know that cravings hit in the evening as soon as your TV session starts, do a quick mindfulness exercise beforehand. This will provide your brain with the calm it needs so that it’s less reliant on getting that calmness from food.
– Ask your naturopath about herbs/supplements to support stress management and sleep.
GUILT AND DISCOURAGEMENT
Guilt is one of the most powerful generators of cravings. Guilt about eating a “bad” food can make you feel like your day of healthy eating is ruined. Then, you might be tempted to throw aside healthy eating for the rest of the day. This can lead to a day or night of excessive caloric intake. There is even emerging research hinting that guilt can worsen cravings and have a negative impact on metabolism.
What to do:
– If you’ve given into a craving – so be it. Health is a lifelong process. Think big picture and know that you always have the chance to make your very next decision a healthy one.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected]!