For many of our medical weight loss clients, putting together an appropriate eating plan is simple enough. But then those pesky cravings kick in! For some they are mild, while for others a certain food becomes almost an obsession. Because cravings can eventually wear you down and put your goals at risk, it’s important to learn about them. What do cravings mean, and what can you do about those feelings?
Hormones are often the root cause of food cravings. Hormones can become unbalanced for a number of reasons, such as stress or disruptions to your sleep schedule. And because hormones regulate appetite, you might find yourself craving salty, sweet, or fatty foods when your hormones are out of whack. These steps can help you to regulate your hormones and decrease those bothersome cravings.
Eat in the morning. Cravings often begin when you’re short on energy and your blood sugar drops too low. While we don’t recommend eating when you’re not hungry at all, you also don’t want to wait until too late in the day. Eat a breakfast that combines complex carbohydrates from healthy sources with protein and a small amount of healthy fats. These foods will give you energy while staving off blood pressure swings that trigger cravings later in the day.
Get enough sleep. When you’re overly tired, your body responds by requesting energy from you. And that request usually involves sugar. Make sure you’re getting 8 or 9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Resolve your stress. Yes, it is easier said than done. But because stress impacts your hormone balance, resolving the sources of your stress will help you to control cravings. What works for one person might not work for another, so experiment with tactics like journaling, practicing yoga, listening to calming music, altering your daily schedule, or meditation. If stress is severe and chronic, it will impact other areas of your health, so visiting a qualified counselor should be considered.
Exercise regularly. It seems counter-intuitive, but regular exercise can actually reduce hunger. That might be because it addresses stress, or because it helps you sleep better, or even because it prevents boredom.
As you might have noticed, all of these factors tend to influence one another as well. Balance your life by addressing these four things, and you can balance your appetite as well. You will probably find that you have much more success with your medical weight loss plan. And remember, you can always call us for more assistance.