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Women tend to have more food cravings than men. We also skip meals more often as a strategy of reducing calories consumed when we want to lose weight.
I think it’s fair to say that no good decisions are made on an empty stomach.
When you don’t eat regularly, deprivation leads to all kinds of junk food cravings, hunger and anxiety. And by satisfying these urges when your stomach is grumbling, an urge for chocolate quickly escalates into a binge that ends in a food coma.
Skipping a meal here or there won’t cause harm. However, when it becomes a habit and causes mindless overeating or food binges, it can result in harmful metabolic changes in the body. So how do you manage on a day to day basis without blowing your diet or living in a constant state of denial?
Start with the basics. Don’t leave huge gaps between meals. Regular, healthy meals will sustain feel-good levels of your neurotransmitter, dopamine and maintain productive energy levels.
Make time for breakfast. A nutritionally balanced start to your day not only plays a significant role in reducing food cravings but has been shown to lower daily calorie consumption too.
Prepare fresh, healthy snacks and meals. It won’t happen immediately, but over time, healthy foods will begin to release the same feel-good response you used to get from junk food.
If you’re not hungry but you feel like picking, firstly check your mood. Are you anxious, stressed or bored? Choose an action like going for a walk. Brisk walking (or any exercise, really) appears to provide alternative stimulation that interferes with thoughts about food. You’ll notice that regular walks, especially outdoors, will improve mood and reduce stress as well.
If you’re hungry, make more informed choices when choosing snacks and foods to eat. Be very careful of caving to processed foods. Most commercial junk foods deliberately appeal to your dopamine receptors so you eat more of them, more regularly. It’s not your lack of willpower that has you licking the crumbs from the bottom of the packets!
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