Battling Our Cravings

Are your favorite shortbread cookies whispering sweet nothings from the kitchen counter? Is the half-eaten pint of Chunky Monkey screaming your name every time you open your freezer? Do the chocolate croissants call to you every morning when you pick up your coffee, seducing you with their sinfully delicious scent? Obviously, it's not the actual food that's pestering you... it's the cravings!

What Causes Us To Crave Food?

All in all, there are several reasons why we crave certain foods. For instance, one reason for these "longing sensations" has to do with the brain, namely, the regions associated with pleasure, memory, and reward. Emotions also play a significant role in craving food, especially in those who turn to food for comfort.

For some individuals, the cravings are linked to endorphin release. After a pleasurable eating experience, endorphins are released into the body, mirroring an addiction, creating a "high" of sorts. Yet another reason for food cravings points to an imbalance of hormones, such as serotonin and leptin. Although some scientific research shows a possible connection between cravings and a lack of certain nutrients, this theory is still unclear.

Tackle Food Cravings With These 4 Tips

1) Drink Plenty Of Water

When you stay hydrated, you keep the food craving monsters at bay, since dehydration and thirst make you feel hungry. Control your hunger and stay nicely hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. If you get bored of the same 'ol wet stuff, try adding a little flavor with a squeeze of lemon or liven things up by opting for herbal tea.

2) Avoid Processed Carbs And Sugary Foods

To prevent blood sugar crashes and leptin surges that increase your appetite, avoid sweets and processed carbs as if they were the plague. Instead, choose healthy protein and fiber-filled snacks to help you avoid the cravings monsters, like a handful of sunflower seeds or almonds, or a small bowl of oatmeal.

3) Exercise And Get Lots Of Rest (When Possible)

When looking for a way to feel happy and relaxed, skip the tempting cookies and fries, and go for a walk instead. If you're in need of something truly rejuvenating, then climb into bed early, and let those cute, fuzzy sheep lull you into a restful sleep. Believe it or not, these two habits produce endorphins, and the results are better than the best-tasting fudge in the universe. Plus, a little exercise is a good way to boost your serotonin levels, which is something that will help you omit those extra carbs and sugar.

4) Turn 21 Days Of Avoiding Trigger Foods Into A Healthy Habit

Create a healthy habit by avoiding trigger foods for 21 days. During this period, you'll get used to grabbing healthier food options, such as raw cashews, veggies with hummus, guacamole, fresh berries, or low-glycemic smoothies. Over time, your taste buds will adapt, and faster than you can say Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey, you'll have created a new habit that includes healthy, wholesome foods.

Above all else, relax and don't be so hard on yourself. With a little work, your cravings will eventually fade, and you will be thrilled with all the new, healthier habits you've formed.

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