Have you ever rummaged through your cabinet only to find that the last trace of sweets left in your midst is a stale package of Oreos, but you eat the whole thing anyways because you’re suddenly desperate for all the sugar in the world? And you thought you threw those awfully delicious treats out with the rest of the junk you swore you would never touch again. Must have known that the cravings would strike eventually!
There’s no single solution that can apply to everyone’s individual body systems, and it’s best to listen to what your body needs – but sometimes your body thinks it wants one thing and actually needs another. Sometimes that thing it needs is the complete opposite of what you thought it wanted! Don’t worry, we’re going to help you figure out what it all means.
Your body might be missing nitrogen, which is found in high-protein foods. Consuming the right amount of protein will keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day, so you will be less likely to result to quick-fix, carb-rich solutions for a mid day brain boost.
Poor gut function can also trigger carbohydrate cravings. Inadequate nutrient absorption caused by digestive issues leads to vitamin deficiencies (like B vitamins and magnesium), though consuming probiotics and prebiotic foods can help prevent you from chowing down on the carbs. Are you sensitive to dairy products and/or gluten? You’ll want to stay away from products that contain these ingredients, as they’re going to exacerbate any gut-related digestive issues.
What to eat: onions, asparagus, bananas, beans, fish, meat, nuts, some unprocessed carbs!
What to avoid: milk/cheese products, processed foods, food allergens
A moderate amount of fat is necessary for overcoming other kinds of food cravings, like sugar and carbs. Fat is essential for healthy brain function and blood sugar stability, so you should not be eliminating it from your diet completely! It’s about learning to love the right kinds of fats rather than fiending for a bag of fries whenever the mood strikes.
You may be craving fats because of low energy, which can be re-invigorated by consuming essential fatty acids and proper nutrition consisting of foods rich in vitamins A, E, D, and K. Fat cravings can also be an indication of an endorphin or dopamine deficiency: since fat stimulates these hormones, you may be unconsciously drawn to junk foods for positive brain stimulation.*
What to eat: meat (or other sources of protein), olives, avocados
What to avoid: margarine, shortening, soybean/safflower oil
You might be craving certain foods because you’re trying to cut them out of your diet completely rather than practicing moderation or reducing intake gradually.
Unplanned snack-fest sessions will make you feel a lot worse than a few pieces of chocolate or a handful of potato chips now and then, so sometimes it’s best to give yourself a little dose of whatever it is you’re wanting! However, if you’re really committed to a strict program, then you may not be making any allowances for dietary vices. Eating nutrient-rich foods can help stop cravings at the source, while eating junk only puts a temporary bandaid on the larger problem at hand (or in stomach).
Water, sleep, schedule, repeat!
Sleep! Research has shown that chronically tired people feel hungrier throughout the day, make poorer food choices, and eat more in general compared to people who get a healthy amount of snooze time. Also, your body stays in fat-storage mode when sleep deprived due to decreased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.* It also is extremely helpful to drink plenty of water and establish a regular eating schedule!
A nutritious diet requires thought and planning.
Eating regular, healthy meals and light snacks throughout the day will give your body the steady supply of nutrients it needs to stay active (and keep you on track with the 30-day calendar program)!
If you're struggling to lose weight despite working out frequently, it's because something is off - that something is probably your diet! Making conscious food choices takes practice, but once you realize how good it feels to provide the body with the right kind of nutrition, you'll understand why I always emphasize that food is essential for fitness! My Nutrition Plan gives you the tools you need to make a habit out of healthy choices!
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