Halloween is right around the corner, which means kids over the age of 3 will soon be eating pounds and pounds of sugar. But it’s not just kids who have cravings for foods that are incredibly unhealthy. Plenty of adults go through life craving sweets and processed garbage that pack on the pounds and contribute to the development of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
If you are plagued by food cravings, you know how difficult they can be to get control of. It can actually feel like you are possessed by something stronger than you are. And no matter how good your intentions or how committed you are to sticking with a healthy lifestyle, those donuts or ice cream or cake just won’t take no for an answer.
As intense and uncontrollable as these desires feel (they are certainly stronger than normal hunger pangs), there are things you can do to curb them.
Dehydration often presents as intense cravings for salty and sugary foods. Now you may be thinking, “I drink plenty of water, I can’t be dehydrated.” But this is where people become confused.
Drinking a ton of water each day can actually do more harm than good because you are flushing important electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium right out of your body. When this happens, you develop an imbalance in these critical electrolytes. Here are some symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance:
- Muscle aches, spasms, twitches and weakness
- Frequent headaches
- Feely very thirsty
- Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats
- Digestive issues like cramps, constipation or diarrhea
- Confusion and trouble concentrating
- Bone disorders
- Joint pain
- Blood pressure changes
- Changes in appetite or body weight
- Numbness and pain in joints
- Dizziness, especially when standing up suddenly
Your body will often crave certain foods to help you get these electrolytes back. If you’re craving salty fried foods, it may be that you need a bit more salt in your diet. There are accounts of people upping their salt intake and losing their sugar cravings as well.
The moral of the story is, when the body craves something, there is often a very good reason. The next time you have a strong craving for junk food, drink a glass of water instead. A good rule of thumb when you drink a glass of water, add a pinch of seal salt to it. This will add in necessary minerals that can help keep your electrolytes balanced.
2. Make Caving in Difficult
It’s 10 o’clock at night and you want ice cream so bad you feel like you might punch someone if you don’t eat it. There is ice cream in the freezer. How able will you be to resist?
Now what if there is no ice cream (or cookies or candy etc.) in the house? The harder you make it for you to binge eat the food you’re craving, the more likely you won’t cave to the crave.
3. Don’t Get Too Hungry
Cravings happen at any time, but usually when we’ve allowed ourselves to get too hungry. If you suffer from extreme cravings, it’s never a good idea to skip any meals. It’s also wise to keep some healthy snacks (fruits, nuts, veggie and dip) on hand to stave off hunger.
4. Fight Stress
Let’s face it, we all deal with stress on an almost-daily (if not daily) basis. Stress causes many of us to want to reach for our favorite comfort foods, most of them containing tons of sugar. Sugar is a powerful chemical and it can make us feel very very good. For a short time. And then we crash and feel moody and depressed. And the vicious cycle continues.
It’s not easy, but it’s important that you try and reduce stress as much as possible. This means trying things like meditation, yoga, exercising more and spending time in nature.
5. Eat More Protein
Most people aren’t getting enough protein in their diet. Protein is necessary to not only build your body, but it also helps to keep you feeling full. Studies have also shown that protein can help reduce cravings. And significantly.
Be sure to start your day off with a good breakfast – not loaded with sugary toast, cereal or muffins, but of eggs and meat. Be sure to have quality protein with each meal as well.
If you’ve been thinking about eating in a better way but didn’t quite know how to begin, we have great news.
The Perfect Meal Plan (PMP) takes the guesswork out of healthy eating. Created by a doctor who treats metabolic disorders with nutrition, PMP provides you with recipes as well as organized grocery lists so you can easily shop each week.
And the best part is, all of this convenience costs less than buying a medium-sized pizza. That’s right, for less than $10 each month, you will have a specialist doctor tell you EXACTLY what and how much to eat. You’ll be taken by the hand and led through the grocery store in a matter of minutes. Eating healthy doesn’t get much simpler than this.