Almost everyone has a food craving from time to time. Unfortunately, many of these cravings are for foods that are high in calories, sugar and fat.
Dealing with cravings can be difficult and it is important to determine if the source is physiologically or psychologically driven. Your body may actually be telling you of something it needs or your brain may be playing tricks on you.
Physiologic cravings can be triggered by poor protein intake, intake of too many or the wrong kind carbohydrates that then cause fluctuations in blood sugar level, or inadequate calorie intake to name a few. Psychological cravings may be due to things like stress, being over-tired or even emotional ties to the holiday season so it is important to determine the route cause if possible. Keep a detailed food diary of not only what you are eating, but how much, when and how you are feeling. It may shed some insight the cause of the cravings. Contact the bariatric program for assistance.
Here are some other tips to consider when dealing with food cravings.
1. Change your scenery
Sometimes, just being in a different environment can eliminate a craving. Even the mere sight of food may trigger the brain to crave certain foods. Some people are genetically "wired" to go extra lengths to fulfill cravings, so avoiding the food craved is key.
2. Drink water
Cravings can often be quenched by hydration. Drink a tall glass of water and then wait 15 minutes. Be sure you are getting in at least 80 ounces of water a day.
You work hard to stay healthy and that includes exercising on a regular basis. Why would you want to undo all of your hard work by giving in to a food craving? Resist a craving by going for a walk or working out with a short exercise video. You’ll overcome the craving and do something great for your body.
4. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates
When you consume sugar, your blood sugar spikes triggering insulin to be released which then triggers appetite. After the insulin response, your blood sugar quickly falls which in turn sends a signal to your brain to eat. The instinct is to rebound by eating more sugar. Try eating well-balanced meals and snacks high in protein.
5. Don’t starve yourself
Eating five to six meals a day is recommended to keep your metabolism up, but it also helps with cravings. When you skip meals or eat too few calories, you are setting yourself up for trouble because the lower your blood sugar drops the weaker your will become and you’ll likely to make impulsive decisions about food and end up eating the foods you crave.
6. Identify your weaknesses
If you have a weakness for chocolate, avoid it by not having any in the house or having a healthier alternative like high protein chocolate pudding available.
7. Stay strong
Remind yourself of how far you have come, view photographs of your progress, call a friend or support group member to engage in other strategies that will help get you through the craving.