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We’ve all dealt with our share of stress in the past year, and hopefully you’ve developed healthy coping mechanisms. But many of us are still reaching for comfort food to relieve our anxiety, which can backfire in several ways. The stress hormone cortisol causes you to crave sugary or starchy foods, which only “help” temporarily. After a quick burst of dopamine and blood sugar, you’re right back where you started.
These tips might help you stick to your weight loss plan and stay healthier in the long run.
Identify the trigger. Next time you find yourself craving less-than-healthy snacks, pause to analyze your feelings. What’s bothering you? What can you do about it? Is there a healthier way to address this stress factor, or is it time to let go of things you can’t control?
Remember your “why”. Why are you following a weight loss plan in the first place? Take five minutes to visualize the results you seek, and remind yourself why getting healthy is important to you.
Invent a new routine. Over many years, reaching for comfort food became a habit for a lot of us. Now is the time to dedicate yourself to developing a new routine to cope with stress. Remember, it can take about two months for a new practice to become habit.
Walk away. Put on your walking shoes and literally walk away from temptation. Even a 15-minute walk can offer a dopamine burst if you raise your heart rate, and the distraction will help you cope with stress without snacking.
Clear away the temptation. Keeping the objects of your cravings in the house is probably begging for trouble. If you have to go through the extra steps of getting dressed and heading to the store, you’re less likely to follow through on urges for unhealthy foods. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, so that you aren’t tempted to stock these items in the pantry.
Focus on texture. In many cases, substituting a similar item to the one you’re craving will suffice. Instead of ice cream, reach for cool, creamy yogurt. For a crunchy, salty snack, try a handful of roasted almonds or kale chips.
And if you’re still struggling with your weight loss plan and cravings, give us a call. We can schedule an appointment to discuss your goals, and help you align your habits with your values.