Heidi

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Mom, desperately trying to get the health thing right! I started this blog so that I can pass along all the great things that I learn everyday on damage control for our wonderful bodies. It is tough to keep up sometimes with all the things going on in our daily lives so hopefully some of the helpful hints that I provide can make your life easier and healthier. I welcome your comments and tips as well! I am a vegetarian, animal rights advocate and avid animal rescuer.
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2008-06-17

Got Food Cravings? Try These Tips To Conquer Them


Food cravings-we all have them but below is some great advice that I am recycling from my early blog days (sorry, but both kids have fevers so my original post will have to be here hopefully tomorrow) to help you conquer them.

As I have mentioned before, I love food, love to eat and constantly crave chocolate, Diet Pepsi (of course), Mexican food, anything really fattening, sweet or starchy (notice no cravings for anything truly healthy-ironic isn't it!). Now on the other hand it is important for me to be healthy and maintain a weight that I am comfortable with and unfortunately what I crave is not necessarily what my body needs (why, why, why?). I have found some ways that we can help ourselves with those cravings and do some damage control for our bodies. I believe that moderation is the key to success to anything in life -so I say- don't deny yourself but why not try to minimize those unhealthy cravings so you feel better.

WHY WE HAVE FOOD CRAVINGS

**CUES IN THE ENVIRONMENT-The time of day may trigger a desire eat if it coincides with mealtime or usually later in the afternoon . "By far the greatest number of cravings occur late in the day," says Marcia Levin Pelchat, Ph.D., of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, an institute that does research on taste and food preferences. "That's when our blood glucose drops, making us sluggish and in need of a lift" All it takes now is a cue -- a fast-food billboard on your way home or a co-worker's candy bar -- to bring on a major craving. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0846/is_5_22/ai_95540550

**WHEN WE ARE STRESSED OUT, BORED OR UPSET-Bad moods frequently give rise to cravings: We imagine that if we eat a cookie or a chocolate bar, we'll feel better -- and often we do. Carbohydrates sweet or starchy foods -- increase the secretion of the brain chemical serotonin, which in turn can improve mood.

**BEFORE YOUR PERIOD- Research shows that many of our cravings for chocolate and carbohydrate-rich foods are particularly intense in the days leading up to menstruation. Experts theorize that women may overeat carbs in an attempt to raise serotonin levels to counter the bad moods and mild depression related to PMS.Info found here.

HOW TO CONQUER FOOD CRAVINGS

**EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS DURING THE DAY-If you skip meals (ex. breakfast) or go too long without eating, your blood sugar levels will fall too low, which is a perfect recipe for food cravings, overeating and even binges. Allowing 3-4 hours between meals/snacks is a sensible maximum for women, although 3 hours is better. Men typically can safely wait 4-5 hours. And you don't need to eat much: even a single oat-cake can be enough between meals to keep eating urges at bay. As well as maintaining stable blood glucose levels, regular eating helps your metabolism to burn calories at an efficient rate. Finally, studies show that regular eating helps to reduce cravings associated with Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). I hate to say this but I don't think that I can go 3-4 hours without something. I am a snacker so maybe just some smaller healthy little meals would work too (for those of you who read this blog often-need I say nuts would be a good snack).

**REDUCE YOUR INTAKE OF DRINKS THAT ACT AS STIMULANTS-According to some experts, stimulants (ex. sugar, caffeine in tea/coffee, caffeinated soft drinks-all things I of course enjoy)can cause fluctuations in blood sugar, and should be avoided or at least consumed in moderation. Switch to herbal teas, spring water and diluted pure fruit juices.

**RECONDITION YOUR BODY NOT TO HAVE THEM AT ALL-Ohmg! Did I really write that???? Not to have them at all???? What would life be like without the occasional pizza, the brownies, cookies, chocolate and of course the highly revered by me Diet Pepsi craving??? This is why I am a health wannabee because the thought of life without those dear yet junky foods sounds sad and lonely (please tell me there are others out there in this world who feel the same so I don't feel so pathetic). Okay, let me say it in a way that sounds more doable to my ears (and those in the health nut wannabe's club ears)-Recondition your body to have them in moderation. How about that? Sounds better, don't you think? Apparently,when it comes to cravings, it is like a wave-the urge goes up, it crests, then it goes back down. The trick, then, is to surf the craving crest and get past it. Do things that distract you from thoughts of eating. If you normally go to the convenience store and get Laffy Taffy and chocolate in the morning then instead pick up the phone and call a friend, go for a walk, read my blog, whatever it takes (within reason). ref-Whole Foods Market March/April issue.

I also found this list here by Dr. Colleen Huber that tells you when you crave something (ex-chocolate) then you really need (magnesium) so try (Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits). There are tons of different foods she has listed and what you can replace those cravings with in a healthier way.


26 comments:

ShAé - ShAé said...
This would be wonderful if I could master it. ;-)
Paul Eilers said...
Yes, I too get food cravings right before my period. :)

Also, I read another way to minimize food cravings is to simply chew gum.

How does chewing gum suppress hunger? When you eat, your taste buds are stimulated by the food. But the cool thing is exposure to the tastes and smells of food also lessens how good it tastes. That, in turn, is one of the cues that signal your brain that you're full, so cravings go away.

Chewing gum may have this same effect - but without all the calories!

Cool,huh?
Me too Shae-Shae
Paul-I love your sense of humor-I laughed and laughed. Good luck with your period cravings you silly!
Barry said...
You know, I never have those cravings before my period - :P

Of course we crave chocolate - it is required for life!
john b said...
Cravings are one of my biggest challenges! Thanks for the tips!
wildcatsthree said...
You offer some great tips here - I love your site. Hope your kids are feeling better soon.
Chris
Jenaisle said...
When I am depressed, I gain weight, because I overcome my depression by eating..and most of the food you mentioned are Yummy....I can't leave without sweets-cakes-chocolates or pastries... so what I do is to limit my intake.

Extremely helpful tips for those who are like me.
Robin said...
Hi Heidi,
I hope your kids are feeling better. Your posts are always interesting and very helpful information to us. I like how you talk to us. You have a great personality! I have those cravings also. Sometimes the taste of the junk food is just to good to pass up. I will try to follow your advice. Thanks for sharing and have a great day! :-)
Hope your children are feeling better soon!!

Great tips...I have an issue with food...often have cravings...will keep the craving guide handy...the next time I'm craving chips I'll try a little mustard or turnip greens...some how I don't think that will work for me...:0) l0l

In all seriousness...great post...anything is worth a try as far as I'm concerned..what ever works at the time is perfect...

The gum chewing thing sounds as though it might help but I can't chew gum as I get carried away and chew with my mouth open...terrible site...:0)

Cheers

Cheers
Laura said...
Hey Heidi! Great post. I'm with you, as far as being a 'health wannabee'. I want to eat healthy but the thought of giving up junk food entirely is much harder to put into practice. Thanks for the tips!
Thanks again, good tips; now to put them into practice!
Petula Wright said...
Hmmm... my only real craving is chocolate, but I do pretty good at eating it in moderation. However, you gave me something to think about about what I may be missing nutrition wise when I have this craving. Besides my "entitlement" :-) to it for my stressful times now I have to look at it in a different way. Thanks!
tashabud said...
Paul and Barry are both hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing so hard either. Anyway, your post is excellent. Thanks for all the sensible tips. I'll try to put them into practice little at a time. Sweets and pastries are my downfall. Thanks again for visiting my site and hope your kids will be feeling better soon.
Angel said...
This was just what I needed to read today. Thank you!

Hope your kids are feeling better soon.
Take care:)
clockworkpink2 said...
You have some really great tips! I'm typing this as I'm eating charleston chews. Ehhh I don't do that too often.
Bridget said...
Great post, I am wannabe to because I can't give up the cup of coffee in the morning and the pre-period chocolate and carb cravings. I don't drink sodas though & I am not a daily craver so maybe it all balances out. :)
Denis Kanygin said...
All food cravings have a reason behind them.

Here is a great link that I stumbled across that explains exactly why our body is craving those foods and what to do to fix it - article from Dr. Colleen Huber
Excellent tips. I struggle with giving into my food cravings all the time. Thanks for sharing.
Sogeshirtsguy said...
I would need to go study under monks to get rid of my caffeine addiction.
Grey Yogi said...
Namaste...

Lots of great information here...
Thanks for sharing your wisdom...

In yoga... one of the things we have noticed about cravings... is that it seems to also closely relate to what type of food you last ate... ie: carb, fat, etc. and what type of food you may be craving. It is not my area of expertise by any means, but it seems like sometimes too much fat... might trigger a craving for some type of carb...

Ever heard of or noticed this?

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to post in spite of the complications...

Michael
Great post and very informative. I'm going to pass this info on to my friends.

Happy day to you,
☼ Rocki
Tom Parker said...
Great post Heidi. I've got to agree that eating regular, small meals and getting a good nights sleep has really helped to minimise any cravings I have had.

I've also found that instead of giving into your cravings everytime if you let yourself have them occassionally e.g. I will have one can of coke per week, that can of coke becomes a lot more satisifying.
hparis said...
I don't know about the food replacement theory... there's just something soooooo chocolate about chocolate. I'm a texture person when it comes to some foods, that's why I don't like nuts or other garbage polluting the melt in my mouth chocolate.

My hypoglycemia issues keep me from hitting the sweets and refined carbs too often, as they make me queasy and lethargic.

When I'm sticking to my plan, I find I don't really crave them at all, but once I fall off the wagon and get started on them, I go into this compulsive insatiable feeding frenzy and end up getting sick. Then I kick myself in the butt for getting started to begin with... Like now, for instance, I'm going through a detox / withdrawal stage.
Kevin Paquet said...
thanks for the great tips, I'll gonna make use of them.
The Healthy Mom said...
You posted some very interesting information here, Heidi. Thank you so much this has inspired me to try to eat more healthy foods. I too find myself craving sweets especially right around that certain time of month just like the research shows. I know it is hard to resist the cravings but we should try to curb them. I keep plenty of fruit around my house. If my kids or I are craving those yummy,yet tempting sweets like chocolate or candy I grab a piece of fresh fruit. That always does the trick and my kids love it too! Thanks for sharing this information. I enjoy reading your blog.

Cascia @ Healthy Moms
Hi,
I am sad because when I view your post, I was unable to see the pic or the movie which was uploaded. mmm, It is ok, You have given excellent information about food cravings, Specially the areas "WHY WE HAVE FOOD CRAVINGS", "HOW TO CONQUER FOOD CRAVINGS" and the links provided for reference are really well.

Thanks,
Jim (Natural Cure Mom)

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