Hi HLG Blog Readers!
It’s Beth and Heather, Registered Dietitians from Vtrim Online, and we’re here with answers to your insightful questions from HLG’s birthday blog post. Thanks HLG!
We were excited to see so many great questions that indicated you do not take your health for granted. At Vtrim, we also value credible, scientific information – no gimmicks! So with that in mind, we narrowed your questions down and merged a few into one response to get more of your questions answered.
Cynthia asked, “I can't get past those nighttime with the TV cravings. What can I munch on that won't add on the pounds?”
Another reader said, “I have such a hard time dealing with stress eating! I crave junk, junk, and more junk. Is there anything I can do to rid myself of these cravings once and for all?”
SpunkySuzi asked, “I seem to really crave simple carbs. Is there any way to help deal with this??”
Cravings…that yearning for a specific food or type of food, independent of whether you are physically hungry. It seems you can’t get the food off your mind unless you deal with it by giving in. Most everyone experiences cravings. And most women tend to crave sugary foods and foods high in fat while men tend to crave salty foods or savory foods high in protein.
There’s an unanswered debate about whether cravings are biological or psychological. Emerging research shows an association between your body’s chemicals and hormones with hunger levels. But, research is also strong to support the influence of our physical environment and emotional or psychological experiences on the urge to eat. Regardless of which source is contributing to your craving, cravings CAN be managed and potentially eliminated.
One of the most important steps to managing a craving is to pay attention to what precedes it. This awareness is critical to making a change. Most cravings are triggered by activities you have historically paired with food. For example, routinely having a snack in front of the TV can lead to craving food every time you sit down at the TV. Same goes for emotional eating—whether it is stress, anger, or boredom. Many have trained themselves to fill an emotional void with food. Consequently, when the emotions kick in so does overeating.
If all else fails and you still want to eat something, be prepared by having smart choices at your finger tips. Pay attention to your environment. You will eat the foods you choose to keep in your house. And the foods most readily available in our toxic food environment tend to be simple carbs, sweets, and fatty foods. Limiting your exposure to these foods and having healthy alternatives readily available will help tremendously when hard-wired cravings kick in. Be sure to keep satisfying alternatives close by. What is satisfying is a personal preference but some suggestions might be lite microwave popcorn, whole grain cereal, sugar-free hot chocolate, an energy bar. This will help you to stay in control of your food environment.
Many thanks to Beth and Heather for this great information and answering our first set of questions. Feel free to ask follow-up questions in comments! : ) More Vtrim Online answers on the blog next week...