Strategies To Help With Urges and Cravings by Jennifer Nicole Lee
We all experience this phenomenon, of which many times cannot be explained. I am speaking of the strong desire for food, the urge to eat, and the unquenchable appetite which can be boiled down to one word: CRAVING! It's human nature and we all have dealt with the forceful passion to eat foods that are on our "DO NOT TOUCH" list.
I am boggled by the question and yearn to answer, "How do we get a hold and a firm control on our cravings? Can we think differently, behave differently, or even exercise and eat differently to place a harness on our sometimes out of control appetites? How can we hold off this human urge to eat things we should not really be even thinking of? What triggers cravings and how can we fight them and win?"
The great news is that there are indeed things you can do to manage cravings, even if you can't stop yourself from thinking about the foods you love.
Unlike the every day normal hunger that we all feel every day, cravings—are the strong yearnings for certain foods—seem to be linked to our mind's reward system. Emotions, situations, or pleasant associations (your mom rewarded you with vanilla ice cream and a handful of animal crackers if you did all of your chores when you were little) can trigger a craving.
It's true that when you eat a food you long for, your brain releases dopamine, a natural chemical related to pleasure. Even the powerful senses such as our sense of smell and sight can trigger a full on craving episode.
So what to do the next time you start longing for an entire meat lovers pizza or a banana split when you're already stuffed from lunch? My following "stay-sleek strategies" will boost your ability to just say no and keep your sense of peace about food. My tactics are especially important for those who are preparing for a photo shoot, a competition, or a special event.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #1: Your Before Photo!
This is your personal rewind button, and you don't want to push this button at all!
In order for you to know where you are going, you must know where you are currently at. And no matter what your fitness level is now and what your weight is, I urge all of my clients to take their "Before Photo." This photo is a powerful visual that will remind you of your weakness and what you need to address and work on. Also I suggest you place it somewhere you will see it everyday reminding you of your soon to be past!
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #2: A Little Goes A Long Way:
Now this is our kind of news: Recent research from a major University revealed that surrendering to a craving is sometimes the best course of action—as long as you can practice PC, short for portion control.
In a study of 32 overweight women, all averaged an 8 percent weight loss after 12 months, but those who were most successful gave in to their cravings occasionally. When they did indulge, they ate small amounts—just enough to be satisfied.
The main point here is practicing restraint and moderation, not deprivation. When you forbid a food, it only becomes that much more attractive and appealing, and you become likely to overeat.
So when you need to feed the chocolate monster, reach for a prepackaged snack, such as those cool "100 Calorie Packs" of Doritos and call it a day. You'll be much less likely to break down and attack an entire plate of nachos with the works.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #3: Daydream!
Being told to think of something else when you're in the grip of a powerful craving is about as helpful as being told to stay alert when you're fainting. But there is one way that this info can help and can work: Researchers at a major University in Australia found that occupying your senses with a vivid non-food daydream just might suppress your urge.
Your short-term memory has limited storage. To conjure any image—nachos or that spring break in Cancun—you need to pull them out of your long-term memory, the way an iPod cues up one song at a time from the gazillion it has in storage. But short-term memory has only so much room; it can't play "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and "Holiday" at the same time. "The idea is to keep your short-term memory busy by fantasizing about something else.
This technique has worked for my www.clubjnl.com weight loss clients. When they were asked to drum up remembered smells and sights—the scent of freshly cut grass or a log fire, and images such as the Good Year Blimp or the Eiffel Tower—their cravings for cookies (which was right in front of them) were reduced by about 30 percent.
Their minds couldn't handle the craving and the new sensory imagery at the same time, so the craving got discarded. How about this one: Try thinking about what your guy or girl looks like in nothing but a towel—you might forget all about that cookie.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #4: Become A Concoction Queen Or King!
No one has ever made a longing for a slice of double cheese and pepperoni pizza disappear by gnawing on carrot sticks. But that doesn't mean healthy substitutions never work. It's all about satisfying your appetite and pleasing the palate. The secret is to get the flavor and texture that you want with the least caloric damage.
If you can't stop thinking about that slice of pecan pie, try baking a sweet potato, blending in some dry oatmeal, pecans, a touch of cinnamon and brown sugar. Viola! A healthy version of a piece of "pecan pie" with all the nutrient benefits and none of the sugar!
Just be creative. My weak spot is for nachos, so instead of going to town, I use baked chips with low fat cheese and reduced fat sour cream. I also use fat free refried beans. It's just as good as the real thing, and maybe even better because you are saving so many calories when you get creative.
Sometimes you have to reinvent your favorite dish to save your diet. a sweet. Another tip is to try frozen bananas dipped in chopped walnuts instead of popsicles and frozen grapes instead of sorbet.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #5: Accept That You're Human, And That Cravings Happen:
Playing mind games isn't the only way to fight the war on cravings and win. If you simply acknowledge your craving, accept it, and choose not to act on it, you have weakened its power over you.
When you're struck by the hunger for that huge plate of fettuccini alfredo, practice cognitive dissemination. Instead of trying to ignore the craving, admit to yourself that you want that big plate of cheesy pasta.
It works on the same principle as getting the hots for a co-worker when you're in a great relationship: recognizing that you'll always be attracted to cute guys or girls (or yummy food) prevents you from acting on the feeling every time it comes up.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #6: Use A Visual Cue:
Set yourself up for success by always keeping positive visual cues up and around you. I urge all of my weight loss clients to keep their momentum, even on their bad days, by having their skinny jeans hanging up in their closet in plain site. You can also use a bikini you want to wear, a mid-drif top, or any other visual cue.
I use this story often to illustrate the point that even the masters needed to be visually stimulated to take action. Arnold Schwarzenegger would often walk around with a short cut off shirt on to allow him to always see his stomach and ab area. He knew what he was doing, as it served as a constant reminder to always be on his A-game and to workout and eat right. Use this same technique that works for you to keep your eye on your prize.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #7: Create A Support Team:
Create an inner circle of your closest friends, your personal coach, or a family member you can turn to. Tell them of your weight loss goal and how you will look towards them to help you fight your cravings. One tool I coach my clients on is to have a "Craving Jar."
Every time you let a craving get the best of you, you will be held accountable by them when you fail on your program. You can set the dollar amount, but make this payment amount high enough so its painful to break.
When I started on my weight loss program, I made my husband make me pay $10 into a jar every time I went over my "cheat treat" quotient. This technique made me open my eyes to my eating habits, and also was extremely helpful in retraining my pregnant eating habits after I had my sons. I needed to make drastic changes, and this really helped! I was forced to give my craving money away, and this taught my taste buds fast.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #8: Work It Out!
YES! I said a workout. Try this: The next time a huge craving sets in, go for a walk. Get your blood going and your mind off this treat that is haunting you. Get up and get moving! Pretty soon momentum will set in and your craving will be a thought of the past!
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #9: Physically Remove Yourself From The Temptation:
Not to get "biblical" here, but even the Good Book states that when temptation is so bad and so strong, that sometimes the only choice we have is to physically remove ourselves from the temptation.
I use this technique when I am at my sons friends' birthday parties. I love cake, so I make it a point to be at the other side of the room engaged in a friendly conversation especially if I am dieting down for a competition.
JNL's Natural Appetite Suppressant #10: The Power Of Visualization:
See yourself in your dream body, in your dream outfit, saying no thank you to the food that you are craving. Imagine that a server brings it to you on a plate, and you confidently with out a flinch, turn this meal down. The more you visualize saying no and winning in this scenario, the stronger your willpower and determination to stick to your weight loss goals will become!
I sure hope that my Top 10 Craving Killers will help you achieve your fitness goals, help you to retrain your behavior and also recondition the way you look at food! Achieving your weight loss accomplishments is not about perfectionism, but persistence.
Please also remember that as the saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day." So go slow and enjoy the process and journey of living a super fit and fun lifestyle.
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