We’ve all experienced cravings, perhaps yours attack after the last bite of your lunch, or right after dinner. Maybe your monster shows up when you’re watching tv or when you’re working on your laptop. Whether it’s for salty deliciousness or sugary decadence, if you feel like you are a slave your cravings then this blog is for you.
Cravings are a common occurrence for every one, however we tend to see it more in those of you who are in caloric deficits or those who are adhering to stricter dieting guidelines and unfortunately, as women, hormones play a huge roll in our craving cycles.
The good news is that I have a few tips up my sleeve to help you reduce or eliminate your hunger cravings all together.
Nutrient deficiency leads to chronic over eating
When we are deficient in proper nourishment, our bodies will search for minerals, vitamins and macronutrients in other means. Your brain will signal to your body that it needs to eat anything it can get its hands on in order to get nutrients in.
If you want to fix this, you need to ensure that you are eating your micronutrients in abundance. In other words, get those fruits and veggies in! The more nourished you are, the more satiated you will be and the less you will crave.
Focus on sleep
Sleep deprivation will have a similar effect on the body as point number one. When we are over tired our bodies know that highly palatable foods and high sugar foods will provide you will quick surges of energy, so your brain signals for you to eat all the cookies and cake it can find.
To combat this, ensure you’re sleeping 7-9 hours a night. Stress has a similar affect on the body as being sleep deprived, so make sure you are practicing destressing techniques throughout your day such as mediation.
Use the power of sour
The stimulation of sour foods on the taste buds negates the need for sweet. Sipping on lemon water or apple cider vinegar throughout the day is not only great for your digestion and detoxification systems but it will stop you craving sugar too.
Cream of tartar
Yes I know, this sounds strange however, cream of tartar is not only sour but it is rich in potassium too. When we are deficient in potassium we will crave sugar. Mix a teaspoon in some water and drink up.
For females, the time around our cycle can be especially trying when it comes to fighting off the sugar cravings. Women tend to crave chocolate and sugary foods the week leading up to their periods and as it begins. This is normal, however, being a slave to these cravings is not something you have to put up with any longer. Focus on the following to help you stay craving free around your monthlies:
- Sleep – it is essential for hormone health
- Omega 3’s – also essential for proper functioning of hormones
- Add in a magnesium supplement to your diet
- Ensure you’re eating enough healthy fats, especially avocado and salmon as these a perfect for your hormones
- Maca powder helps to stabilize hormones and ease PMS symptoms.
Balance blood sugar
When our blood sugar is bouncing around from high carb meals and excessively frequent eating we will experience cravings as our insulin starts to drop again post eating.
To fix this, ensure you are having healthy fats and protein with each meal to stabilize your blood sugar and increase your satiety. Adding cinnamon to your meals will also help you to stabilize blood sugar. I also like to consume only 3 big meals per day instead of 5 smaller meals to stop this constant insulin spike.
Begin to practice mindfulness and self-awareness so that you can become conscious enough to know the difference between a genuine craving (normally for a healthy food such as steak, berries, nuts etc; looking for a genuine macronutrient) and an emotional, boredom or hormonal craving (normally for processed foods like cake, chocolate, ice-cream).
If you are just having a “negative” craving, try to distract yourself; go for a walk, call a friend, clean the house etc. anything to break that train of thought, you’ll find it will pass soon, where as a genuine craving won’t.
Good gut bacteria
Ensure you are focusing on gut health daily. If your gut has an imbalance between good gut and bad gut bacteria, you will experience cravings constantly as the bad bacteria feed off sugar. These little microbiomes signal to your brain to eat sugar so that they can be fed, clever huh?!
If you focus on gut health and actually avoid sugar, you can kill off these yeast over growths (candida of the gut) by starving them.
“I need something sweet after dinner”, or “I always crave something after my lunch”, how many of you have heard your selves saying that? Well guess what the good news is? You don’t actually need anything. We have simply conditioned ourselves into these habits, and all we have to do is break this cycle.
If you crave something after lunch, go for a walk instead, or do a 5 minute mediation, read a book etc… just something to break the cycle. Consistency is key. Focus on breaking the cycle, in 3 weeks it wont exist anymore.
The more we have sweet foods, the more we will crave it. It is as simple as that. The best way to cure cravings is to avoid sugar and sweet foods all together. Yes, I know, that’s hard. It will be, however, within a week your cravings will be gone as the palate is restored.
You’ll also find that you enjoy the sweetness in foods like tomatoes, capsicum and nuts so much more appealing.
If you are having trouble with your hormones or have any questions about cravings please do not hesitate to contact me or click the link below for more information how hormones play a fundamental role in weight loss and satiety.