Sweet, spicy or salty, there’s nothing you can do. The need for that certain something has taken over your body and your mind is fixated on digging your teeth into a chocolate treat, crunchy chip or spicy wing.
Cravings. They get the best of us. No matter how much you try to eat a clean diet, nothing sounds good or satisfies your taste buds until you bite into the one perfect snack. It’s like a massive beast has taken over your body.
Researchers have learned that food cravings stem from an emotion or memory; when women menstruate once a month they might crave chocolate or something sweet, for example. Or maybe when you were sick your mom made you a special soup, and you crave that whenever you’re feeling lousy as an adult.
The brain triggers these emotions and connects it to visuals from other memories. Another emotion—stress or boredom—cues hunger, and people want something to soothe their emotion. That’s when comfort food may come into play (Hello, mac and cheese!).
No matter how stressed, sad, happy, over-worked or bored, there is a way to keep your curb your food cravings. Dr. Alan Christianson, a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) who specializes in natural endocrinology and a New York Times best-selling author of Healing Hashimoto’s, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease, and The Adrenal Reset Diet, is well-versed in all things thyroid, adrenal, weight loss and fatigue. He fights these things best using the most natural and holistic methods possible.
Eat Your Protein
Protein isn’t just to maintain your weight or repair muscles. It’s also to help you feel full and avoid munching on poor foods. Try to eat 25 to 35 grams of complete protein within an hour of waking. You can make a protein shake using protein powder, or eat some fish, poultry or meat. This will keep you full throughout the day.
Soak Up Some Rays
Moving in the morning not only kick starts your metabolism and boosts your endorphins, but it also helps keep your food urges to a minimum. Get 30 minutes of sunlight within an hour of waking. Have your high-protein breakfast outside or next to a sun-simulating light that makes 10,000 LUX of light intensity.
Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Sorry coffee lovers, but you should try to only have one 8 oz. cup o’ Joe in the morning. The caffeine you drink raises your blood sugar, which leads it to drop off and leaves you wanting sweets.
Eat Your Carbs—But The Good Ones
There are good carbs and bad ones—stick to the good ones to keep your cravings at a minimum while also eating good-for-you nutrients. Try making one of these as a side dish for your dinner: black beans, buckwheat or purple potatoes.
Drink Plenty of Water
You may have heard this fact: Thirst can feel just like hunger. When you start to feel like you’re hungry, and you know it’s only been an hour since you ate, chances are you could be thirsty. Before you hunt down something to snack on, sip on 16 ounces of cold water and see if you’re still hungry 20 minutes later.
Eat a Solid Meal
Make sure your breakfast, lunch and dinner are well balanced and big enough to fulfill your hunger. If you don’t eat enough, you’ll feel hungry shortly after your meal and want to eat more food—many times not the healthiest either. Load up on produce with plenty of protein to keep your belly full.
Cycle Your Carbs
Have 1/4 cup of carbs for breakfast, 1/2 cup for lunch and 3/4 cup for dinner. This will lower your cortisol and reduce your cravings.