Guilty Pleasures…

Step away from the chocolates…Watching what we eat has been a way of life for as long as I can remember…What to eat, when to eat, how many calories, how much fat…how much sodium…how much is too much? There so many things to take into account…but tell me please, how do you concentrate on these things when your body is telling you that it is HUNGRY? Everyone has experienced the occasional self-indulgent binge; it’s part of life. Is giving in to your cravings causing you to gain unwanted weight and/or preventing you from losing the weight you want to shed? This happens to me all the time. The harder you try to watch what you eat and be careful, the more difficult it is to see the pounds come off.

This article will examine the nature of cravings and empower you with knowledge and tools that have an adverse effect sabotaging on your weight. Although our human compulsion to eat is at first purely instinctive, many of the signals we use to identify hunger we learn and develop over time, based on the influences of our circumstances and the other people around us. Some purely are just bad habits. Unlike how it was for our ancient, forest-dwelling ancestors, in modern civilization we have access to food around the clock, every day. Put that together with these misleading signals of ours and we find it dreadfully easy to succumb to the desire to eat, even though our body doesn’t require any additional calories or nutrients at that time. We eat because we think we are hungry, and in turn, we gain weight. For women, our hormones are up and down and our appetites can go nuts! For many women their menstrual cycle causes cravings. I can go from sweets to salt in a matter of minutes, whereas any other time of the month I would not think of mixing the two.

In many regards, there is very little that distinguishes compulsive overeating from other forms of substance abuse, and from addictive behavior in general. As with substance abuse and generally addictive behavior, stress, boredom, disappointment, anxiety, loneliness, insecurity, depression, and other negative emotional states all crave relief in some way. Beyond drugs and alcohol, one of the other ways many people have found to assuage those ill feeling and find the relief they crave is through the comfort of certain foods, or even simply through the comfort provided by very the act of eating.

The ruthlessness of this response to stress is that, usually, giving in to the craving results in the person feeling worse, not better, heaping guilt and shame atop whatever negative feelings they were already experiencing to begin with. As with all known forms of addictive behavior, there may often be a “trigger”, or an event that provokes the craving. Listen to your cravings closely, and not only because, in part, many times those cravings will be displaced desires for some form of mental or emotional fulfillment. Listen to them also in part because every once in a while, a craving is an honest-to-goodness cue from your body that a particular nutrient is lacking at that moment and sorely needed. When you have a craving that you may consider absurd (in other words, for something other than fats and sugars), consider that your body may be telling you that it needs some nutrient which that food contains.

Remove temptations. That’s right…get rid of those things that tease your taste buds. Go through your refrigerator and food pantry. Get rid of the cakes, ice cream, cookies, etc. When you go food shopping, make a conscious effort not to buy sweets. A good habit to get into is to take a walk instead of eating dessert. If, after 10 minutes, you still want sweets, gargle with an antiseptic mouth wash or brush your teeth. The aftertaste doesn’t mix well with sweets and you’ll probably lose your craving quickly.

Increase your protein intake. Often our bodies will exhibit cravings for sweets when what they really need is more protein. Eat more protein and fat, both of which make you feel full and satisfied. Have small, frequent meals to help keep your blood sugar level stable and eliminate your body’s need for a quick sugar fix. Avoid skipping meals (especially breakfast). Take a daily multivitamin. Some nutrients help keep blood sugar stable, so ensure you get those by supplementing your diet appropriately.

Feed your body fruits and veggies…carrot sticks, celery, cut up an apple, make a salad. Eat yogurt and granola bars Replace sweets and sugar with healthy fruits. The sugars in fruits are digested differently than the empty calories of white sugar that are in most candy and processed foods. The fiber in fruit also slows the absorption of the sugars so you don’t get as high a sugar rush (and as low a crash). Read labels. You might be very surprised to learn how much sugar there is in a lot of the foods that you eat.

Being aware of sugar content can help you avoid high-sugar foods and kick the addiction. Stay away from the naughty foods…and lose the guilty look, instead substitute the bad foods, you know, those guilty pleasures with healthy foods, fruits and veggies! It’s not easy to change your appetite…so take it slow!

Some advice… Don’t set targets that you know you can’t achieve. Take the process slowly and you’ll see the results gradually – don’t expect a quick fix. Consult your doctor before starting a drastic diet change – even though it’s for the better, your body needs to have a thorough check-over before you start! Don’t become obsessed with your weight and continue to enjoy your time here If you give into your craving don’t give up – just keep persevering and eventually you will control your cravings!





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