Constant cravings – tips to avoid overeating

Published May 13, 2014

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Do you get cravings for chocolate, an intense desire for salty potato chips or an overwhelming yearning for a cheese‐laden pizza? Well you’re certainly not alone, in fact, surveys show that the majority of people experience cravings routinely, and more so women than men.1 While giving into the occasional craving is ok, if it leads to overindulgence and feelings of guilt, then it might be time to curb the habit.

Tips for handling constant cravings and regaining control:

  • Eat regularly and opt for low GI foods– Blood sugar imbalance has been linked to food cravings.2 To keep your blood sugar levels in check, eat regularly and choose foods with a low‐glycemic index. These types of foods are absorbed more slowly by the body, helping control appetite and delay feelings of hunger. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat and fish, eggs, whole grains, beans and lentils. The nutrient chromium can also help regulate fluctuating blood sugar levels in healthy people.
  • Get some stress‐relief – Food cravings, especially for carbohydrates, can sometimes arise to satisfy our emotional needs when we’re stressed or anxious. These types of foods have been found to boost our levels of serotonin, which has a calming effect on the body.1 As an alternative,try relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep‐breathing, meditation or tai chi.
  • Ensure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs ‐ Constant cravings can sometimes be our body’s way of letting us know that we’re missing out on valuable nutrients. For example, a craving for chocolate might indicate that you’re not consuming enough magnesium; an urge for a burger might mean your body needs more iron and a desire for cheese or pizza might mean a fatty acid deficiency.3 Along with consuming a balanced diet, a daily multivitamin might help fill in any nutritional gaps.
  • Drink more water – Sometimes we misinterpret our body’s signals of thirst for hunger, so ensure you’re getting the recommended eight glasses of water each day.
  • Try distraction methods – Food cravings are typically short‐lived, so even though the desire for chocolate, cakes or chips seems overwhelming at the time, they will diminish, especially if you can distract yourself from these types of thoughts. Try going for a walk or chatting to a friend on the phone.
  • Switch to healthier versions of your cravings – Resisting the desire for the foods you crave can sometimes make matters worse so opt for healthier alternatives such as organic dark chocolate or homemade popcorn using less salt and butter. If nothing else will satisfy your craving but the real thing, have it, but eat a reasonable sized portion only, and do it mindfully; sit in a calm environment and really enjoy each bite so it can do its job in satisfying your craving.

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