(Rewire Me) [image] of sugar cravings
Do you wake up some days and think ‘That’s it, TODAY IS THE DAY! No more unhealthy food, I am a changed person.’ Then before you know it, you have gobbled down a whole chocolate bar and washed it down with an energy drink, ultimately feeling ashamed and disappointed in your lack of self-control.
Why is that? How is it that you can be so determined one moment and completely give in to your cravings the next? Is it really that you have no self-control? Will this mind numbing battle continue on a daily basis?
I have great news for you; it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s all about learning. Knowledge is Power, it’s time to learn how and why you’re feeling these urges, learn solutions and coping strategies too.
It’s important to understand that cravings are both biochemical and psychological; meaning mind over matter can only go so far if your brain is subconsciously telling you to eat processed unhealthy foods!
A Psychological View of Cravings:
You’re upset, tired and moody – we have all been there at some point or another. So we head to the cupboard to pull out the chocolate cookies or the freezer to binge on some ice-cream. Emotional eating is a big part of our lives. Food is not just to give energy. It is also comforting, social, and protective. Food can conveniently provide that big warm hug that will always be there when no one else is.
Food has been working psychologically on you without you even realising it since the day you were born. Do you remember bonding with Mum by drinking her milk? Nowadays we are completely bombarded with food advertising; magazines, Facebook, Instagram, television shows, movies, billboards – it's EVERYWHERE! The problem is the ones with the big advertising bucks are generally the long shelf life, unhealthy and highly processed foods.
When we eat these high sugar or fat foods our body literally undergoes neurological stimulation of the pleasure and touch centres of the brain, predominantly synthesising the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the same rewards system that is excited with sex, social gatherings, cigarettes, hugs and cocaine.
The desire of craving is closely linked to the prefrontal cortex of the brain which facilitates executive decision making e.g. self-control. When overstimulated or damaged this can cause behavioural disinhibition and failure to assess consequences of our actions.
Know the times when you might crave the most:
- In a stressful or depressive state of mind
- Positive associations linking back to a particular memory
- Your environment e.g. social gatherings, movie nights, shopping centres
- Watching television or boredom
- A repetitive or restrictive diet
- Previous episodes of binge eating
- Malabsorption and dehydration
- Insufficient nutrient intake
- Depleted areas of the body requiring high amounts of nutrients
- Imbalanced hormonal and blood glucose levels
A brief anatomical view of hunger:
Before we move on, you need a general idea of how intelligent your digestion system actually is. This might be new to you but nevertheless, will initiate some thought and appreciation of your body.
Our bodies are controlled by an array of complex hormonal and neuronal signals influencing satiety and hunger. These are intricately designed biochemical systems that ensure our body refuels to maintain energy and nutrient levels. The gut, brain, microbiota, adipose tissue and nervous system all play a major role in regulating our food intake for homeostasis, (Crespo, 2014).
Primarily, the hypothalamus is key in controlling food intake regulation. Hormones, eating patterns, climate, exercise and the levels of nutrients that are already present in your blood plasma, are all influenced by the hypothalamus. Within the hypothalamus lies appetite regulatory neurons; these neurons secrete neuropeptide Y (appetite stimulators) and neurons that secrete melanocortins (appetite suppressants) (Paternostro, 2016).
20 Strategies to help overcome food cravings:
- Build a support network, get involved with your friends and family to cook and swap healthy meals, plan to go to a health-food café for lunch – visit us at Wholesomeness - Click here to view menu.
- Plan ahead – this is always they key to huge success, get in control! Don’t let yourself drown in takeaway or convenience shop Try our super healthy home delivered meals here.
- Pack your own snacks; ensure that your snacks and meals have healthy fats, carbs and proteins to lower insulin spikes and provide satiety. What goes up must come down which will only leave you wanting more bad stuff!
- Try to cut down the processed foods, the more that you continue eating them, the more you will crave. Make realistic weekly goals – eventually, you will make new healthy habits.
- Fill yourself up on lots of nourishing vegetables; you won’t have room for the bad. Eat your greens! Try a salad before the main meal. Greens in particular are super packed with nutrients that will help fill the void – try this nourishing superfood pond water available here.
- Stop dieting. It’s so 1980’s. Don’t deny yourself the foods you enjoy, limit them. Enjoy ALL foods in moderation, so you’re not thinking about it every moment of every day. We don’t recommend eating the same foods everyday either. Variety is the spice of life.
- Buy a smaller plate this will help regulate your consumption, subsequently reducing stretch receptors in your gut, eventually, you won’t need to binge for satiety.
- Try a food diary, when do you crave? What emotions do you feel? How often do they occur? What types of foods? Are they similar? How often do you give in? It’s also a great way to start regulating and being mindful of your daily intakes.
- Try watching interesting health documentaries at night to keep you inspired and motivated after a long day.
- Try mindful eating – allow yourself to sit for at least 1 meal per day, enjoy your food, eat slowly and chew properly, it takes around 20 minutes for your body to feel full.
- Get moving! Exercise releases endorphins stimulating the pleasure centres of the brain, so instead of ice cream after dinner – drop and give yourself 20! Or simply go for a walk. After that you may not feel like you need to snack, potentially you may be motivated to do even more.
- Keep hydrated, drink plenty of water – you might be craving or overeating simply because you are thirsty.
- Don’t starve yourself, this is one of the worst things you can do! You will be low on energy and weakened to the point of caving in and making poor choices when you actually do eat food.
- Endeavour to reduce stress – mindfulness, meditation, yoga, running, whatever it is that helps you cope. Do that.
- Sleeeeeeep! Glorious sleep! Statistics show that sleep deprivation can lead to hormonal fluctuations and cravings.
- Reset your body and detoxify – Wholesomeness have an incredible health plan that supplies you with 14 or 30 days of breakfast, lunch & dinner + snacks, no self-control needed! Your saving grace is here. It’s the perfect way to teach your body what it needs and makes a wonderful short term solution to set you on the pathway to perfect health.
- Ask for help – you are not alone. Wholesomeness is here to support you 100% and will be launching an inspiring 6-Week Ultimate Health Plan to get you there. Enquire now!
- Do a cupboard cleanout; get rid of your trigger foods to avoid temptation.
- Always be mindful and listen to your body. Stop, listen to your body try to understand what that craving is all about.
- Remember no-one is perfect (in fact that’s a whole other blog topic), you will have birthday cake one of these days and that’s ok. Get right back up and don’t dwell on it.
Being healthy and becoming the best possible version of you is a journey. It certainly won’t happen overnight but it’s your journey. You have the power to change your life; you have the power to get control back. No-one else can make the decision for you, so get inspired and never give up!
If you have any questions please contact Wholesomeness here, we would love to hear from you.
If you think this post could help someone you know, don’t forget to like and share to inspire others!
Crespo, S. C. (2014, April 24). Peptides and food intake. PubMed. doi:doi: 10.3389/fendo.2014.00058.
Inutsuka, A. a. (2013, March 06). The physiological role of orexin/hypocretin neurons in the regulation of sleep/wakefulness and neuroendocrine functions. Frontiers in Endocrinology. doi:2013.00018
Lobera, I. J. (2012, October 3). Neurophysiological Basis of Food Craving. InTech. doi:DOI: 10.5772/48717
MedScape. [image] of appetite control circuitory system. Unknown. Retrieved July 23, 2016, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/581204
Nakayama, S. (2011). Orexins stimulate the ‘appetite’ of the gut. PubMed. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2011.220962
Paternostro, M. A. (2016). Energy Balance. Lesson 5 - Anatomy & Physiology 3. West Virginia, USA. Retrieved 23 07, 2016
[image] of sugar cravings. Rewire Me. Retrieved August, 26 from: https://www.rewireme.com/wellness/surprising-way-stop-food-cravings/
[image]. Dreamworks. Retrieved August, 26 from:https://au.pinterest.com/alltimemusic15/dreamworks/