Managing Your Food Cravings to Maintain Your Weight

Managing Your Food Cravings to Maintain Your Weight

We all have food cravings, whether it is a strong urge to eat something sweet or greasy fast food. We have all been there! However, we need to understand the reason for these cravings and how to minimize or stop them altogether to lead a healthier lifestyle.

When we are hungry, our body tells our brain that it needs fuel to perform daily functions. On the other hand, cravings are a type of emotional support feeling where you are eating to fill a void or a feeling of comfort. Cravings are a desire for specific food, which can be categorized into sugar, salt, carb, or fat food groups.

However, the issue with cravings is that they make weight gain easier, as the foods often desired are deficient in required nutrition, vitamins, and fiber.

What Causes Cravings?

Cravings are directly related to brain signals, behaviors, and access to unhealthy food. When you give in to your cravings, the brain temporarily releases hormones that may make you happy, satisfied, or pleasurable. But as said, those are temporary feelings that are mistaken to be factors that may make you happy; hence, we keep giving into their cravings. With increased stress, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise owing to a hectic schedule, cravings are growing at an unprecedented rate.

Hence, we need to understand our feelings and decide if hunger or craving makes us want to eat. We need to question ourselves whether we are eating because we are bored or feeling sad or if are we eating because we need energy. Here are a few ways in which you can manage your cravings:

  • Eat your required calories: Obsessing over calories or restricting your calorie intake will only result in food cravings and the body asking for more calories which in turn results in overeating. Look at your body weight, decide how much your calorie intake should be, and start eating the same. Once the body starts getting the right number of calories, you can slowly work around your food portions and the type of food you are eating.
  • Avoid crash diets: Starting a new diet every other month is basically restraining your body from getting all the necessary nutrition it needs. The result? Increased cravings and emotional stress. With diets, you can see temporary results, but you are keeping your body from getting the right amount of nutrition, protein, and essential carbs – which can make you feel deprived and hungry all the time. So, focus on eating a balanced diet for effective weight management, consuming the required calories in moderation of the food groups.
  • Eat food that fills and fuels you up: Eating a filling meal is the best way to keep the cravings at bay. All three macronutrients — fat, carbs, and protein — are important for keeping you feeling full but high-protein diets are the best. Protein is the most filling macronutrient that even research has suggested is the best way to go about when choosing the right kind of food for fueling your body with the required nutrients.
  • Enjoy your food: A balanced, nutritious meal is best enjoyed by all. Hence, eating foods that are rich in protein paired with fiber-rich carbs and healthy fats, in fact even snacking on such foods, is a great way to enjoy your food. Healthy food gives you the satisfaction that the meal is both nutritious and filling, and this will automatically stop or reduce your cravings.
  • Manage stress: Stress is directly linked to increased food cravings as it causes our hormones to fluctuate and leads us to crave foods that offer temporary satisfaction like greasy pizza or highly processed fast foods including burgers and salty fries. This can also lead to obesity because the more stressed you are the more you crave processed foods. Instead of binging on food loaded with empty calories, try to do some breathing exercises to relieve stress or just take a break and go for a walk or sit at your window and enjoy some screen-free time.
  • Get enough sleep: And we cannot stress this enough, sleep is extremely important. Sleep is needed to relax not only our body but also the mind, aiding in the proper digestion of food and boosting our metabolism rate. Sleep helps our body wind down. Lack of sleep triggers increased levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which leads to increased appetite. So, next time you want to binge-watch your favorite show, remember the adverse effects it can have on your body, mind, and health.
  • Drink the right amount of water: Stay hydrated. When we drink enough water, our body not only functions in the right way, but hunger or appetite is subdued as water makes us full (or rather offers the feeling). Less water equals cravings (which are false signals being sent by the brain to say that we are hungry).
  • Reduce certain carbs: Highly refined carbs can increase your chances of getting cravings because they are not filling you up or offering a balanced nutritional plate but rather giving a false feeling of happiness.

In the end, we can say that managing your cravings and gaining control over your weight is not an overnight process, but it requires patience and most importantly being kind to yourself. Celebrate and love yourself every day and enjoy the small victories along the way. Take the first step towards a healthier you today! Reach out to a certified weight loss consultant and get personalized support and guidance for effective health and weight management.

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