We have all faced it at one time or another, a strong food craving where we want to eat everything and anything in site. Why do these cravings come along after we have been doing so well on our diet? There are several reasons why these food cravings come along and there are ways to fight these cravings so you don’t sabotage all your hard work in the gym.
Cravings are physiological, emotional or psychological in nature. Physiological cravings come on slowly and you will experience your stomach growling. These cravings will go away once food is eaten and will hold you over for several hours. Emotional or psychological cravings have no relation to when you last ate. They often come on when we are bored or stresed and are triggered by a feeling or emotion. It is important to notice when you are having a craving and whether it is physiological or the result of stress or anxiety.
There are ways to fight off cravings and to prevent the onset of cravings. One of the best ways to prevent cravings is to make sure you are fueling your body with food every 2 to 3 hours. This tricks your brain in thinking it is full all the time so it delays the onset of any cravings to occur. Making sure you always have healthy snacks around is a great way to prevent cravings from happening and to be prepared when you do get the urge to eat something bad.
Don’t confuse thirst for hunger. A lot of times, cravings come on because we are simply thirsty. Try drinking 16oz of water every time you have a craving come along. Wait 15 minutes and see if the craving has subsided. The water helps to feel you up and make you feel full.
If you are craving sugar, try chewing sugar free gum. Another technique is to brush your teeth or floss. This might sound crazy but it really does work.
The power of distraction helps fight off cravings. Instead of thinking about that chocolate fudge ice cream, get your mind on something else. Call a friend, clean your house, or get outside and enjoy some fresh air. I always tell myself that if the food I am a craving didn’t exist or was not available anymore, I wouldn’t crave it.
My favorite technique for fighting food cravings is to exercise. If I feel I am craving something bad, I start doing crunches or go for a walk. This releases endorphins, the happy hormones, and makes us feel better and also helps with relaxation.
Sometimes cravings come on because we are overly tired. When we deprive our bodies of sleep, we start to crave sugar and carbohydrates. Instead of reaching for sugar in hopes to give you that quick burst of energy, reach for your pillow instead. Giving your body what it really needs (sleep) is more effective.
Now that you know why cravings come along, use these strategies to fight against fat. You will develop your own strategies as well along the journey.
Jodi Tiahrt is a fitness model and competitor who as competed in over 40 fitness,figure, bikini, and sports model competitions with 36 first placetitles. She is also a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, pilatesinsturctor and fitness pole dance instructor with Bachelors of Science Degree in biology (Pre Med) with minors in chemistry and health science.