Just a few days ago, I was sitting in front of my TV watching the Bachelor (my guilty pleasure, don't judge me!) and all of a sudden I had an urge for a nestle skippy pop. You probably don’t know what this is, but as a kid my friends and I would take pops cereal, one at a time, dip it in skippy peanut butter, and top it off with a chocolate chip. Ahh so nostalgic for me! Why was I all of a sudden craving something I hadn’t had in years?
Well, Im not sure, but what I do know is that I haven’t had a craving in a long time, wooohooo….. but during my weight loss journey these kinds of cravings happened all of the time! As my journey continued I noticed they were happening less and less. I did keep a journal when I was in the process of losing the weight, and when this recent craving came on, I went back to reflect! Since it has been some time since I have lost the weight (Im gonna toot my own horn and say Woohoooo for keeping it off, ASK ME HOW YOU CAN DO THIS TOO) I had to re-evaluate my old journal and combine the strategies I used then, and the ones I use now to reduce cravings. So, I wanna share with you those exact strategies so you can start to cut down on cravings too, and not feel like a slave to sugar and/or salt like I used to!
- Don’t drink your calories: liquid calories drive your appetite, so save your calories for food. Try unsweetened beverages. I love fruity iced teas!
- Keep your blood sugar stable. I talked all about ways to do this through food on social last week. Swings in blood sugar is a main driver of cravings. When you eat carbs, always pair it with some form of protein. This will help the spike in your blood sugar. Dont start your morning with pure carbs (incuding oatmeal and fruit) add a form of protein to it!
- Don't deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy: depriving yourself completely of the foods you love will only make you crave them more. Allow yourself the occasional treat, guilt free (you may have to go cold turkey at first (and then add them back in occasionally) which will take the cravings away faster. Balance people!
- Slowly start adding in more nutritious foods so the more unhealthy ones get crowded out: sugar is like a drug: the more we have it, the more cravings we get. Fill your day with tons of veggies!
- Eat a variety of foods and prioritize certain ones including: -Omega 3: important for controlling insulin function (think wild salmon and nuts) Vit D: your appetite control is impaired by low levels. (also fatty fish, mushrooms and egg yolks) -Some supplements to help cravings: L-Glutamine, ALA, and chromium.
- Have small frequent fiber rich meals throughout the day: normally I tell clients to be intuitive and eat when they feel hungry. However, if you struggle with cravings, eating smaller, more frequent meals can benefit you when it comes to reducing cravings. Think protein and fat. Protein will keep you full for a long period of time, and fat will keep you satisfied! (nuts, hard-boiled eggs, turkey slices with avocado)
- Avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed. Eating right before bed can drive up insulin levels, and we know that high insulin leads to gaining weight, specifically in the belly. Belly fat actually drives cravings.
- Nourish your gut. An unhealthy gut can cause intense cravings. Take a probiotic daily and eat fermented foods daily including kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt.
- Good Stress management: anything stressful can trigger hormones that bring on cravings. I recommend taking 3 big deep breaths before you head to the refrigerator, and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling right now?” “What is it that I need.” A lot of the time you’ll find you are eating because of stress.
- Know if you are allergic to any foods. The body is weird and will actually crave the very foods we are sensitive to.
- Sleep: I know it has been said a ton, but if we don’t get sound sleep, it activates the hormone ghrelin, which is your appetite hormone.
- Stay away from artificial sweeteners. These work just the same as sugar. It tricks your brain into thinking it is getting sugar, and can actually make you crave more. If you do use them, stevia is the best choice.
- Gum: this is a tricky one. For some peeps, the constant chewing helps them, but for most of us it tricks your brain into thinking food is coming, and can actually make us hungrier.
I hope you try some of these strategies!! If you do, I would love love love to hear from you and see which ones are workin for ya! If you are having a hard time finding a good balance like I used to, please REACH OUT and let’s talk about it!