Food cravings are the bane of every dieter. At A New Me Weight Loss, our hCG diet plan is designed to battle hunger and help you stay on track. However, psychological hunger pangs—or cravings—can still strike in your first few days. One of the most powerful things you can do to eliminate your cravings is to understand what causes them. Here’s an inside look at how cravings take hold.
Basics of Cravings
First things first—cravings are not hunger. Instead, cravings are sparked by a complex set of circumstances and chemicals that cause you to have an intense desire to eat a certain food. Everyone experiences cravings, but not everyone experiences them the same way. Women tend to have cravings more than men. There are also gender differences in the things men and women are most likely to crave. Women usually crave sweets, while men often crave salty foods. There are geographic variations in food cravings as well. For instance, American women report chocolate cravings most often than others, while Egyptian women tend to crave more substantial foods, like eggplant stuffed with meat. The one constant about cravings is that they are almost universally for sugary and high-calorie foods.
Causes of Cravings
Cravings are largely tied to mood. If you’re feeling down, it’s natural to crave fatty or sugary items, because they release opioids into the bloodstream that cause feelings of euphoria. These cravings can increase when you’re dieting because serotonin levels often drop slightly when you restrict food intake. Your cravings could be your body’s way of asking for a mood booster. Hormones also play a huge role in the craving of certain foods, as do bad habits.
How Can You Stop Them
1. Are you stressed out? When you are stressed out or feeling depressed, your body naturally releases a hormone that signals to your brain to seek out a reward. Sweet foods and comfort foods are typically associated with a tasty, euphoric feeling so your brain is programmed to want a boost when it is feeling depleted. To stop these cravings you first must address what exactly the craving desires. After indicating which types of foods you can’t seem to go another second without having, a simple question is in order. “What’s next?” After knowing what types of poison you want to ingest, you’ll want to know how much damage this particular food will inflict. Usually by this time the craving will be diminished.
2. Healthy alternative
In a research from the University of Toronto, eaters who are on restricted diets are more likely to experience cravings. Making certain foods off limits can be a recipe for disaster and actually put more attention on ‘what not to eat’. Finding a healthier alternative to what your cravings are can trick your body into thinking that it got what it needed. Ex. if you are craving sweets, eat greek yogurt with fresh fruit. It is healthy, but also has that sweetness to curb that craving…you may even end up preferring it!
3. Kill bad habits
Believe it or not, innocent routines such as snacking on chips and dip when you get home from work creates strong associations. Your brain subconsciously remembers these routines and begins to respond to these habits. Next time you would normally have your snack, think the word STOP and imagine a healthy snack. After a few times of doing this your body will begin to dismiss the craving. In my house there is ALWAYS a dozen eggs that are hard boiled. Those are the first line of defense.
At A New Me Weight Loss, we can help you beat your cravings and achieve your weight loss goal. Our hCG diet plan encourages fat burning to keep your hunger in check. We also have supplements to help maintain a healthy nutrient balance to keep cravings in line. Contact us for more information about our hCG diet plan or other questions on how you can diminish your cravings! Cravings will never leave, they just change, and creating a strong protocol to head off the bad choices and make good ones will help you not get blindsided.