Thursday, March 13, 2008

How to Control Your Cravings

You Can't Stop the Cravings!

Controlling your cravings is probably one of the most difficult ordeal when you're on a diet. It's a true test on your will power. And the chances are that you will lose the "will power" game - another reason not to go on diet.

It's All About Blood Sugar

Cravings are all about blood sugar. If you eat consistently throughout the day, your blood sugar levels are like to be consistent as well. When you starve yourself for hours, your hunger and cravings will call. And you will answer by surrendering yourself to over eating and binge eating when you get that chance.

When you suddenly eat a lot, particularly simple carb or sugar, the fast-rising blood sugar triggers your pancreas to release a flood of insulin, a hormone that not only lowers blood sugar but also signals your body to store fat. Insulin tends to spike up and then sends blood sugar crashing. This reinforces the binge, because it makes you crave sugar and starch again.

How to Keep Your Blood Sugar in Check

The most effective way to keep you blood sugar in check is to avoid foods that are made with added sugar such as soda, some fruit juices, baked goods. In addition, minimize foods that contain high amounts of starch such as pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, or any other flour-based foods. You should limit yourself to 30 to 40 grams (g) of total carbohydrates at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and 10 to 20 g at any given snack.

More Effective Strategies ...

Here are 8 strategies to help you control your cravings:

1. Eat regularly
Eat approximately every 3 hours. This allows you to eat smaller meals without becoming hungry.

2. Have protein and fat at every meal
This slows down the digestion of carbohydrates, which helps prevent spikes in blood sugar.

3. Eat more whole grain
Shop carefully for carbs. Make sure any bread, pasta, or rice that you eat is 100 percent whole grain. Because whole grains contain fiber, their effect on your blood sugar is reduced.

4. Eat breakfast
Since you sleep for 6 to 8 hours without any food intake, your body is essentially running empty in the morning. Your body demands all sorts of vital nutrients to function normally. If you skip breakfast and by the time you get to work at 8 or 9 o'clock, you'll desperately seek sugar that is easy to find. The most convenient foods are often the same ones you should be avoiding. These convenient foods are in the vending machines or on your eye-level shelves in the supermarkets. They're usually packed with sugar (candy bars, soda), or other fast-digesting carbohydrates (cookies, chips).

5. Watch your food environment
In my earlier article on New Year's Resolutions, watching your environment is one of my TOP 10 strageties. If you want to stay healthy and fit, you really need to watch your food environment in your home, at work, and in your car. Clean out your cupboard and fridge. Restock them with healthy foods and snacks such as almonds and other nuts, cheese, fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna, chicken, and salmon. Keep healthy snacks at work and in your car. So when it's time to eat, you won't run to the vending machines for pricey sugary snacks. You won't drive through the fast-food joints when you're on the go.

6. Sense the hunger signal
Have a craving for sweets, even though you ate just an hour ago? When the hunger strikes, everything in sight is so tantalizing and irresistible. Your WILL POWER just doesn't do anyting good at all. You can replace your old habit of eating more sweets for a quick pick-me-up with a new healthy habit of doing 15 pushups, 15 squats and one-pint water.

7. Take a sensible approach
Before you put money in the vending machines or drive-thru, think about whether it's moving you one step closer to your goals or one step away from them. Think abut the consequences. Rethink about your goals and commitments. The changes are in 8 or 9 out of 10 times, you'll make a better and wiser decision.

8. Find more motivation
If your diet's only purpose is to help you finally achieve six-pack abs, it may be hard to stick with for the long haul. An easy fix is to find additional incentives to motivate yourself. Think about improving your overall health, reducing healthcare cost, better life quality.

8 1/2. Natural remedy
This tip cannot be counted as a full strategy. If you have tried all of the above strategies and still want something more or different, you can try sniffing peppermint essential oil to help you curb appetite. Click here to learn more about the science and research study.

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