Losing weight is downright difficult for many. Luckily, there are many ways to structure a diet or meal plans that makes losing that stubborn weight a little easier. Even with a customized program, it is common to struggle to adhere to nutrition programs and many people often succumb to our food cravings. Once this happens it can usually lead to more foods that are disastrous to our waistline. The majority of the time, willpower isn’t the answer to the strong food cravings as most of the urges are fueled by dopamine. This feel-good brain chemical is released when we eat certain foods like sugar and alcohol. Dopamine creates a rush of euphoria that our brain craves; making it very difficult to ignore.
Understanding your hunger is the name of the game when handling pesky cravings. Eating less calories or burning more calories than consumed is the easy answer to weight loss, however both can create hunger that can lead to powerful cravings. I’ve been there! If this is something that has happened to you then check out my personal secrets to reducing food cravings.
Cortisol is a hormone that signals our brains to find comfort foods when we are under stress. Nine times out of ten these foods are loaded with sugar and fats! These comfort foods can actually blunt cortisol release and reduce our stress for the time being. We grab these foods in response to negative feelings like after a stressful day at work or after fighting with a spouse. This action creates a powerful response in our brains signalling the stress has subsided. These foods are then embedded in our memory centers and we will continually reach for the high sugar and fats foods during any stressful times. Here are some lifestyle tips that can help reduce stress:
Sleep: Unfortunately, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get out of whack and only gets worse with time. Start to prioritize sleep in your life and aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
Call a friend: Take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle, and there’s no time that this is more evident than when you’re under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice can make all the difference in controlling stress. Don’t call one of these people: FIVE PERSONALITIES THAT WILL KILL YOU FITNESS
Listen to music: Take a break and listen to relaxing classical music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol.
Eat right: Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. Unfortunately, it’s when we have the most work that we forget to eat well and resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Try to avoid fast foods and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good, and fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress.
Fresh drinking water. That’s right: water is a powerful appetite suppressant and if you drink an 8-ounce glass of water when you first start feeling hungry, you will find that it suppresses your appetite in nearly every case. If you just drink a full glass of water and have the discipline to wait 10 minutes, you will find that your appetite is either completely gone or dramatically reduced.
Eat a large apple.
An apple will fill you up for quite a while, and that will stop you from eating far more calorie-dense foods. When we are really hungry we grab fast, convenient food, and processed foods (cookies, chips) and eat away until 100s of calories have been consumed. Eating a large apple full of water and fiber will fill us up much more than the processed foods we may reach for. There are calories in an apple but we will eat less food that satisfies our appetite and they give us phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Eat green vegetables.
Lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, bokchoy are all green leafy vegetables that are great to eat when hunger strikes. Most meal plans don’t count these foods toward the calorie count so eat these freely to help feel full. Our bodies work hard to digest the fibrous greens burning calories while taking in a minimal amount of calories.
My chocolate pudding.
Yes, I said Chocolate pudding! Easy and fast recipe that is high in quality protein and low in calories that will curb hunger with a great chocolate taste. Mix one scoop of SunWarrior Blend Chocolate Protein powder in a mixer with ½ cup to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. Scoop into a bowl and enjoy the chocolate protein that will curb cravings while feeling full.
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