If you’ve found that munching sugary snacks just makes you crave more sugary snacks then you’re not alone. Every day we face the very objects of our cravings. Chocolate, pasta, bread, French fries, gravies, mashed potatoes, candy, cakes, cookies and more. The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we over-consume, something that’s easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. But, there are strategies you can use at any time of the year to help banish those cravings. Whether you want to lose weight or just eat a healthier diet, there will be foods you feel you just can’t do without, but must to achieve your goals. When you use each of these strategies in your daily routine, you’ll soon find that your cravings diminish and the weight just seems to fall away without going hungry or feeling deprived.
1. Remember you ARE human.
Plan to give in once in a while to a small portion of your favourite food. If you are craving chocolate, don’t eat the cheap stuff. Instead go for the gourmet for better taste and greater satisfaction with the indulgence. You won’t eat as much and you’ll enjoy it more. Do not indulge while checking email or engaged in an intense conversation. Be aware of the food you’re eating and enjoy every last morsel.
2. The foods you choose will increase or decrease your hunger pangs and cravings.
The more carbohydrates you eat the more your blood sugar will fluctuate. This increases both your hunger and cravings for sugar. Artificial sweeteners spike your blood sugar higher than white sugar and increase the amount of fat your body produces. On the other hand, healthy fats will increase your satisfaction with the meals you eat, reduce your cravings and help you to lose weight.
3. Just say no!
Each time you say no to your cravings write it down or make a check mark. The first 2 or 3 days without sugar will be the worst; after that it gets easier. Once you’ve said no to your cravings about 15 times you’ll be surprised at how easy it has become. During this process you can use pictures of what you want to enjoy with better health to inspire and motivate you. Also think about whether the memory of the doughnut you want to eat today will be more rewarding than how good you’ll feel when you don’t eat it.
4. Red wine vinegar is for more than your salad dressing.
Red wine vinegar is high in acetic acid which has some significant health benefits. When you are trying to curb your cravings 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar in an eight ounce of glass of water before dinner can stabilize your blood sugar, reduce your cravings and helps you feel more satisfied after eating.
5. Consider a possible zinc deficiency.
The mineral zinc plays a key role in the production, storage and release of insulin in the body. When your insulin works efficiently, then your blood sugar levels are stabilized. When your blood sugar levels go down your cravings and hunger increase. When you blood sugar rises, even when you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, this also affects your hunger levels which rise. You can do a simple taste test to see if you are deficient in zinc. The amount used is 1 gram of zinc per liter of purified water. Essentially you can crush and dissolve a 30 mg tablet in 1 ounce of water. Have nothing to eat or drink for up to one hour before the test. Take a sip and hold it in your mouth for 10 seconds. If you taste nothing or have a slight metallic taste that increases over the 10 seconds you have some degree of deficiency. If you have an immediate strong and unpleasant taste you are not deficient.
6. Eight hours of sleep a night will increase your will power.
Sometimes you just have to say “No” to your cravings. When that time comes, it helps that your will power is operating at the highest level possible. When you are exhausted from your daily activities, saying ‘no’ is more difficult.
7. Understand why you want that chocolate bar or large bowl of pasta.
Many of us are stress eaters. In other words, we eat for emotional reasons and not because we’re hungry or because our body needs the nutrition. If you can begin to tell the difference between eating for hunger and eating for emotional reasons, you can employ a few strategies to curb the cravings when you are stressed out or on an emotional roller coaster. For instance, drinking 16 ounces of water to fill your stomach, writing in your journal about the distress or using a distraction technique, such as playing a video game for 10 minutes or going for a walk outside, can reduce the potential that you’ll eventually give in to that candy bar.
You probably will need more than one strategy to stop your cravings and hunger. Test for zinc deficiency, get enough rest, drink a glass of water with red wine vinegar, choose the right foods to eat and once in a while give yourself a small treat. As you figure out what works, your success rate will improve and you’ll feel better than ever!