By Mary-Ann Shearer
Tired of feeling like food has an uncontrollable hold on your life? Wondering whether you really could live without chocolate, cheese, sugar, or meat? Here’s a list of tips to help you free yourself from unhealthy food cravings:
Start with a good breakfast. Cutting hunger is the first step in cutting cravings.
Choose foods that steady your blood sugar. Beans, green vegetables, fruit, and whole grains help prevent blood sugar dips that can lead to cravings.
Eat at least 10 calories each day per pound of your ideal body weight. This tip is directed at calorie-cutting dieters who do not realize that, if they eat too little, their bodies stop making an appetite-controlling hormone called leptin. A person whose ideal weight is 150 pounds needs at least 1,500 calories per day, and probably much more.
Break out of craving cycles, which can occur daily, monthly (with a woman’s cycle), or yearly (with the change in seasons). Monthly chocolate cravings, for example, can be reduced with a low-fat, vegetarian diet, which tends to reduce the hormone swings that lead to cravings.
Exercise and rest are keys to restoring your physical resilience.
Use social support. Enlisting the help of friends and family makes changing habits much easier.
Take advantage of other motivators. New parents, for example, may decide to eat healthy foods not just for themselves, but for the sake of their children.
Most importantly, try the “Three-Week Break.” Research shows that if you have managed to set aside an addicting food, such as chocolate, for three weeks, you crave it much less than if you had just had it yesterday.
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