How to Deal with Food Cravings
Don’t let emotional eating sabotage your fitness goals! Erin Stern shares 7 tips to combat cravings.
Cravings can strike for a variety of reasons. Lack of sleep can cause an increase in the hunger hormone ghrelin. This is why it’s so important to get enough sleep each night. If you’re dieting or running a caloric deficit, your body may crave calories. The body doesn’t know that we’re working to get leaner – it just thinks it’s starving! Women’s hormonal changes can bring about cravings too. About a week or two before the beginning of a cycle, hormones fluctuate and can affect blood sugar levels and serotonin levels. Carbohydrate cravings are common during this time. Knowing what causes cravings can help us combat them. This way, there’s less chance of veering off-course and a greater chance that we’ll continue to reach those goals! Try out these 7 techniques to stop the cravings and feel healthy.
Increase the volume of your food and drinks. The easiest way to do this is to add leafy green veggies, clear broths, and more water. If you find water a bit boring (like I do at times), I recommend seltzer water. The bubbles have a way of filling you up, and a few drops of stevia can make it more exciting and easier to drink!
Fiber can also fill you up and reduce cravings. In addition to adding more vegetables to your plate, an easy trick is to add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut flour to your oatmeal or cream of rice in the morning. The additional fiber can help you feel satisfied at least until your next scheduled meal. Certain fruits also contain good amounts of fiber, so opt for fruits with edible skin and berries, rather than bananas.
Healthy fats can improve feelings of satiety and can promote feelings of well-being by boosting serotonin, or the feel-good hormone. Add cold water fish, cook with coconut oil, toss some avocado into your salads, and consider supplementing with fish oil if you don’t get eat cold water fish. By adding a little bit of fat to your diet, you can avoid a mega-meal melt down.
When cravings strike, it can feel like the body demands that food immediately. This is because ghrelin drives the desire. I’ve even heard of people refer to ghrelin as “ghremlin,” which both makes it easier to remember and easier to deal with! Ghrelin hits in waves and usually only lasts 5-10 minutes. So, when a craving strikes, tell yourself you can have whatever it is that you want in 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the desire for the food has passed. Victory achieved!
5. Remember your “why”
Have you written down your main goals for getting in and staying shape? This is your “why”, your spark – your motivation for hitting the gym every day and for eating clean. With your why written down and kept in a visible place, it’s a bit easier to battle cravings. Take a moment and write down your main goals and keep them somewhere that you can refer to them when you may get off-track. Most of the time, this is enough to keep you going!
6. Supplement glutamine and magnesium
Both glutamine and magnesium can quiet the part of the brain that yearns for carbohydrates. By eating leafy greens, you’ll also boost magnesium levels. I think people often crave chocolate because of vitamin deficiencies! Glutamine can also help improve gut health and improve recovery. If you’re taking PEAK ATP, you’re already getting a recovery boost!
7. Distract yourself
Distract yourself by hitting the gym, picking up a book, getting out of the house, and occupy your hands. A lot of times, boredom is disguised as cravings. Get busy and the feelings of wanting food will dissipate.
With a little planning and by adjusting your meals, you can kick food cravings to the curb! Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard and eat right, y’all!
Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia | TEAM PEAK athlete