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How to Curb the Cravings

We’re now in the midst of summer and we’re seeing a lot of patients for weight loss. We do have a lot of great weight loss programs including diet and exercise counseling, appetite suppressants and even body sculpting. But the big issue that continues once folks lose the weight, is how to maintain a healthy weight. The elephant in the room I’m talking about is emotional eating. How do you know if you’re an emotional eater? Most people usually know if they eat under stress or turn to foods to feel better. However, if you want to know for sure, try these simple techniques next time you’re craving food:

  • Drink a glass of water, not soda, at your next hunger attack. High fructose corn syrup found in many drinks like soda, juices, and energy drinks suppresses our satiety signal (“feeling full” signal) so we still feel hungry. Think about it – some people can drink an entire Big Gulp and still not feel full! Try drinking 1 glass of water and you’ll start to feel full. Water stimulates satiety and improves your metabolism. Plus we often confuse hunger for thirst.
  • After drinking that glass of water, still feel hungry? Ask yourself: Are you willing to eat fruits and veggies to curb your hunger? If your answer is a resounding No, then you’re likely hungry because it’s “emotional” hunger! Emotional hunger is eating under the influence of emotions, namely stress and boredom.
  • If you are now realize you’re an emotional eater, you must change your mindset. Don’t feel deprived when you make the choice to turn down junk food. Rather, feel empowered that you made the healthy choice! It’s all about choosing to eat healthy. Never blame your circumstances, environment or even your genetics. You’ve gotten to this point in your life by the choices you make.

Here are some other easy tips for kicking cravings to the curb:

Remember to eat small, healthy meals/snacks through the day to balance your blood sugar which will increase metabolism. Wouldn’t it be nice to burn fat while you’re at work? So keep healthy snacks options readily available during emotional cravings. Good examples are: Water, green tea or herbal tea, raw almonds, plain yogurt, cheese slices, hardboiled egg, piece of fruit, veggies, and even a couple pieces of dark chocolate.

My last bit of advice is don’t rely on willpower. It’s been proven that will power can get used up and simply exhausting to use all day. This is why at the end of the day, it’s so much easier to give in to bad eating decisions. Plus at the end of a long and stressful day, we often give ourselves the excuse, “I deserve to eat what I like.” In reality you’re feeding a junk food addiction – it been proven that bad foods like chocolate and sugar can alter dopamine, our feel good brain chemical. If there is junk food in the house and you’re the one buying it, then make the smarter choice to buy healthy snacks instead.

So when you have that afternoon sugar craving, it’s a sign you’re having emotional hunger. In other words, when you need your “sugar fix,” it means you need to address your emotional eating addiction! This is a huge part of the reason why many of us struggle to lose weight. It’s nice to find a physiological reason like thyroid or other hormonal imbalances (which do play a part), but the vast majority of reasons why we gain weight is because of a lifelong history of unhealthy eating choices.