It may feel impossible to stop eating cheese and chocolate after a month of indulging but all good things must come to an end, maybe not forever but at least put the brakes on for a while to give your body a break. Whatever you need for motivation, a dry January or a Veganuary it is a good idea to eat less and move more at the very least.
We get cravings for all kinds of reasons and here are some tips you might need to power through from Zana Morris, founder of The Clock gym, The Library gym & Strong Nutrients
- Due to: drop in iron due to periods
- Solved by: ensure adequate iron levels before the period hits – i.e. increase dark leafy greens or intake of good quality red meat.
Craving: mid afternoon snack/chocolate/cake
- Due to: sugar hit over lunch (from bread in a sandwich or pasta in a salad) and the subsequent insulin surge which causes the release of Ghrelin, another hormone that results in cravings
- Solved by: switching to a protein and fat as opposed to a carbohydrate based lunch – i.e. always ensure a small amount of fish/chicken/meat/quinoa with some nuts/avocado or extra olive oil. You will feel fuller for longer and avoid a sudden insulin rise.
- Due to: emotional binging – a low fat, high carbohydrate way of eating. Fat helps stabilises insulin levels and is essential for hormone production. Long term low fat plans can cause both an increase in insulin in the body as well as effect hormonal production. This in turn can lead to emotional eating that could have been avoided!
- Solved by: moving towards paleo – i.e. ensure adequate protein with each meal, and a some fat, such as nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, or even a little butter, or cheese with a meal.
Craving: crisps or savoury
- Due to: low sodium – essential for the utilisation of calcium.
- Solved by: although we normally get plenty of sodium through salt found in much of our modern diets, if you are on a low salt diet, and avoiding popular cereals, breads, cheeses and smoked/processed foods (where the much of our daily salt intake comes from) it may be helpful to add a small amount of sea salt to your diet.
Craving: ice cream & milk chocolate
- Due to: emotional stress or low calcium. Both ice-cream and milk chocolate are naturally high in calcium, however, especially vanilla, is also considered the food closest to our mother’s milk! Unconsciously we are comforted by it.
- Solved by: if due to low calcium, ensure enough calcium intake in your diet – great sources include almonds, mozzarella, cottage or swiss cheese, leafy greens such as Pak Choi (Chinese cabbage) or broccoli, canned fish such as sardines.
- if emotional – this is where exercise can be a great way to blitz the stress, clear your head and ensure the release of those endorphins that you may have been using the chocolate or ice-cream to access! High Intensity training is my favourite – its fast, you can be done in 10 minutes, and impossible to think if you are doing it correctly, so fabulous for clearing your head. And unlike the ice cream or chocolate, you are obviously getting into as opposed to out of shape in the process!
- Due to: sometimes cravings and binging are psychological and simply due to being on a diet where the focus in on restriction and not eating certain foods. This creates an environment whereby the only thing you can think of are the foods you can’t have, and like focusing on a hole in the road when cycling, if you keep watching it, you inevitably end up hitting it.
- Solved by: visualisation techniques can be invaluable to help ensure your mind is working for you and not against you. Your focus is on the shape you are getting into, or the health and energy you are about to enjoy! When done correctly, you find you are drawn to the foods that work for you, and it becomes easier to steer clear of those that will out a halt to any progress. One of the simplest tools to help you visualise is to get a photo of yourself or indeed someone else, in the shape, health etc that you would like to be, and place it somewhere you can see it regularly
For more tips of healthy eating and getting fit visit http://www.theclock.com/ to find out about their bespoke packages on how to express your way to losing weight and gaining good habits for life.