Enjoying a slice of cake on your birthday or piece of pie on Thanksgiving is nothing for most people to spend any time feeling bad about. However, consuming an entire cake or pie on a regular basis might mean that you need some help curbing food cravings. Again, this is nothing to feel bad about either, but it might be something to recognize in order to get some help.
Of course, people with serious eating disorders might need assistance from a doctor or nutritionist. The can actually be serious health issues that cause certain food cravings. However, most of us tend to overeat because we are actually thirsty, tired, or stressed. Remember that “dessert” is “stressed” spelled backwards!
If you find yourself hitting the fridge at midnight or the donut shop at ten in the morning, these are some things to consider before you pile your plate high with sugary or fatty food.
- Are you really tired and not hungry?
- Are you thirsty?
- Could you satisfy your craving with a healthier snack?
- Are you actually stressed, anxious, or lonely?
Seriously, many of us eat when we’re overtired. Our hormones begin to get messed up and send the wrong signals to our brains. In fact, people who sleep more actually weigh less than those who don’t allow themselves to get enough sleep. Thirst can actually get mistaken for hunger too. It might be time for a nap or a cool drink of water before you run to the nearest fast food outlet to supersize your fries.
Another good strategy is to simply replace the poor food choice with a better one. A combination of protein and healthy fat can usually reduce food cravings and feel satisfying. For example, you might dip celery into peanut butter, munch on a frozen banana, or have a couple of whole grain crackers with a slice or two of cheese to see if that reduces your cravings for worse choices.
One key for many former bingers is to keep healthy snacks on hand, so they don’t have to think about what to make for a snack. Also, most fast food places offer salads, yogurt, and other healthy choices these days. If you just have to order a burger with fries, consider the children’s size. That is really enough calories for most adults.
If stress or loneliness are the real root of your anxiety, you might consider attacking the root of the problem. An exercise or craft class, a new volunteer activity, or even calling a friend might help.
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