Curb Your Cravings

By   |   February 22, 2011   |   Fitness

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Ever get a hankering for something that wonΓÇÖt go away, no matter what you do?

DonΓÇÖt take it personallyΓǪ we all do! It is in our genetic makeup to crave foods. In fact, it is actually thought that food cravings are acquired in the womb. Contrary to people in the health industry have believed for some time, studies are showing that food cravings are not the bodyΓÇÖs way of telling you that you need a certain nutrient — unless of course you think cookies and French fries are nutritious foods! So what is the best way to handle them without blowing your diet? Here are some tips to help you combat those urges.

1. Eat Regularly. Have you eaten enough today? Make sure that you are consuming enough to keep you full. Basic hunger can easily turn into craving junk foods simply because your body in calories. Feed yourself!

2. Drink Water. Are you hydrated? Dehydration can lead to cravings because the thirst and hunger signals sometimes overlap. Be sure to drink half your body weight in water everyday. Here is a quick and easy way to determine how much water you should aim for each day: Take your weight in pounds and divide by two. Then convert the answer into ounces and divide by eight to calculate glasses per day.

i.e.: 130lbs/ 2 = 65 oz; 65oz/8oz = about eight glasses of water per day

3. Eat a Varied Diet. While it is important to eat a varied diet of different types of foods to ensure that you are getting all of your required nutrients, it is also important to do this to vary the different tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and savory. Doing this should decrease the frequency and intensity of your typical cravings.

4. Be Aware. What is going on when you have these cravings? It is important to be aware of your surroundings and feelings when you have cravings. This can give you insight into why it is happening since giving in to this craving stimulates dopamine, which provides a feeling of pleasure and enjoyment. Sensory memories are formed in relation to food so it isnΓÇÖt a surprise that you may be craving that thing that has good feelings around it for you (think MomΓÇÖs irresistible chocolate cake!). Think about the situation and see if you can do something else to get your brain back on track.

5. Indulge. While it is good to delay gratification most of the time, it is also good to give in every once in a while. Studies show that people who have their food of choice from time to time can adhere to diets much better and have more positive feelings about food overall. Relax and enjoy!

photo credit: nuchylee/

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