When I crave food it's usually something I shouldn't be eating, like fried cheese sticks or potato chips. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who declares a craving for apples or zucchini. So how do you change your way of thinking so that you crave the nutritious stuff and not the junk? Keep reading.
1. Some Foods Make Cravings Worse
When you eat certain foods, you prime your body to want more of them. Some foods trick your body into thinking it's getting something it's not, which can also drive a craving. For example, some research shows that drinking diet soda makes your body think it's getting something sugary, but when it realizes that it's not, you start to crave sweets. Foods with a high glycemic index give you a quick dose of energy, but you crash soon after, making you feel hungry and causing cravings for unhealthy foods. Eating red meat can suppress the hormone leptin, which tells your body you're full.
2. Other Foods Control Cravings
Good news! There are some foods you can be eating to help keep cravings at bay. These foods help promote the production of hormones that suppress hunger and fluids to keep you from thinking you're hungry when you're really thirsty, Try eating barley, eggs and red peppers. You probably want to drink more water every day too.
3. You've Lost Some Weight
When you lose some weight, your body naturally kicks in the appetite promoting hormones to help you get back to your previous weight. That might leave you feeling hungry all the time, which means your appetite could get out of control. Losing small amounts of weight at a time instead a bunch all at once will help.
4. You Need to Exercise More
You might think that a good workout will make you hungry, but research actually shows that the opposite is true. Studies show that women who exercised actually experienced a drop in the hunger hormone, leptin. If you're exercising, you will need the calories to support it, but exercising itself can actually help you get a handle on your appetite and help you quit eating so much.
5. You Might Have an Imbalance in Gut Bacteria
Your intestinal tract is home to a plethora of good bacteria and bad bacteria. Research shows that in overweight people, that balance is skewed, which can drive appetite. When you eat the right foods, you promote a healthy weight and ensure that the good bacteria reigns. Start eating more fermented foods, such as yogurt, kombucha and sauerkraut to help optimize your gut bacteria.
6. When It's That Time of the Month
When you're getting close to having your period, your body produces more hunger hormones, making you feel really hungry. Estrogen may act as an appetite suppressant, which is why you have a better handle on your eating habits mid-cycle. Knowing what's coming can help you make a plan for making better choices during your menstrual cycle.
7. What if You're Always Starving?
There are many lifestyle choices that can crank up your appetite and make you prone to eating the wrong foods. By making some simple tweaks to your routine, you can combat your cravings and get back on track. Make sure you are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, take breaks to ease stress and make exercise a priority if you're on certain meds, some of which can cause weight gain.
What do you crave the most? What changes will you make to stop those cravings?